MINERVA BC NEWMAN
LAZI, Siquijor – The National Nutrition Council (NNC7)-Central Visayas revived the Breastfeeding Support Group (BFSG) program in the Central Visayas as it organized a Breastfeeding Support Group (BFSG) in Barangay Nagerong, Lazi, Siquijor in June this year as advocates for health talks, importance of breast feeding and other health-related topics in the community.
The Nagerong Breastfeeding Support Group is composed of 13 women/mothers with successful breastfeeding practices and is one of the active BFSGs in Siquijor and in the region. The group received refresher courses on health particularly the power of First 1000 days of life, countless benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and the risks in giving breastmilk substitutes to the babies, complementary feeding, and proper nutrition.
The group was happy to be given an important role in the community in reaching out to other mothers to promote the importance of breastfeeding and proper nutrition for their babies through their own motherhood experiences.
NNC-7 regional coordinator Parolita Mission, in one of her messages said that as the country shifts in living into a new normal, Support Groups must be equipped with knowledge and skills in advocating the importance of breastfeeding and care for the infant and young children and to help/guide breastfeeding moms in their journey towards successful breastfeeding practices.
Anchoring on the support groups varied experiences, the support group members shared their own milestones in breastfeeding their babies for 6 months and beyond. They firmly believed that investing in nutrition is essential to children’s physical and cognitive development in ways we can produce healthy and productive adults.
According to NNC-7, the goal of every BFSG is to sustain the advocacy to mothers into having a successful breastfeeding experience and to ensure an effective response in providing emotional support, information, and counselling to breastfeeding mothers who are experiencing anxiety and challenges in their breastfeeding journey.
NNC-7 said there are some challenges that BFSGs may encounter—some mothers are not aware about the benefits of breastmilk while others believe that commercially prepared formula milk has been enhanced in recent years and has equivalent health benefits to breastmilk enticing them stop nursing their infants early on or unable to breastfeed their babies exclusively.
Working mothers need to report back to work and non-compliance of some companies of RA 10028 or the Expanded Exclusive Breastfeeding in the Workplace Law.
The BFSGs can fill in the gaps these challenges and strengthen the mother-to-mother support. They can organize mothers to work hand in hand with them especially the first-time moms or those reluctant mothers to encourage them to exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first 6 months and to provide appropriate complementary foods after 6 months while continuing breastfeeding up to 2 years and beyond.
The BFSGs are crucial points in community advocacy on the issues of infant/child health care, exclusive breastfeeding and the power of the first 1000 days of the child’s development.