Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, there is no food most natural in the world and proven safest for human babies than breastmilk, and no choice most natural and proven safest than breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the perfect, irreplaceable gift a mother can give to her baby. It is the best start a baby can have in life.
On behalf of the Committee on Health and Demography, I present for our collective deliberation and approval, Senate Bill No. 2490 under Committee Report No. 149. The bill, originally authored by our colleague, Senator Juan Flavier, is called the “Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2006.”
The bill, among other further measures, proposes the establishment of lactation stations in workplaces and public places where nursing female employees and otherwise mobile lactating mothers can breastfeed or express their breastmilk.
The objective of SBN 2490 is plain and simple: to reestablish the culture of breastfeeding as the normal, natural and preferred method of feeding infants and young children and to provide the specific measures to enable working mothers to continue breastfeeding.
By providing nursing female employees private areas in the workplace, we, who are tasked to legislate are doing our job to institutionalize support for the practice of breastfeeding, and to protect the right of women to breastfeed and to gainful employment. Likewise, by providing lactation stations in public places, mobile nursing mothers will be able to continue breastfeeding outside the home while attending to their other duties. In the end, we are able to secure the right of every child to a healthy life.
Mr. President, I am a breastfeeding advocate, not simply because I have read about the benefits of breastfeeding but because I breastfed all my three children, my two girls for a year each, even while I was working full time. I also breastfed my son Gabriel, who had a cleft lip and palate and could not suck for other reasons, such that I had to express my milk, bring it to the hospital where he was staying, to have it fed to him through a tube in his mouth that led to his stomach.
Working mother’s experience
Mr. President, like other working mothers, I also had to go back to work sixty days after giving birth. I was able to successfully breastfeed my two girls for a year because I was given the opportunity to express my milk at work. In the office, I expressed milk every two to three hours and stored it so I could give my milk to my baby when I got home.
I know that both the private and public sectors will understandably worry about the financial costs of providing support to breastfeeding women in the workplace. But the benefits in the short and long term far outweigh the costs.
What are these benefits? Mr. President, allow me to cite some actual cases in the United States, where over one-third of the states in the last four years have enacted breastfeeding legislation, including mandating lactation stations in the workplace.
In sum, providing lactation stations that allow mothers to choose to breastfeed is a low-cost way to get a high reward. It is an option that’s not only healthier for mother and child, but more economical too for any enterprise.
Senate Bill 2490 is a step towards the right path. By creating a supportive culture and work environment, it fosters one of the cheapest yet most valuable forms of health care available. The bill brings together working mothers and employers, the public and private sectors, to work hand in hand in order to make breastfeeding in the workplace and public places a reality.
Mr. President, Senate Bill 2490 deserves our support. Breastfeeding is best for baby, best for mom, best for our country, best for our future. Thank you.
To read the complete sponsorship speech, please access