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Sunday, June 13, 2010

What I hope to see in breastfeeding/lactation rooms

Did you know that the Australian Breastfeeding Association gives out Baby Care Room Awards to places which provides facilities allowing moms to feed and change their babies and toddlers? You can check out the minimum requirements and the list of places with 3-5 stars in various Australian states here.
What I liked about the list is the specific requirement that the baby care room have no advertising of artificial formula or toddler follow-on formula. Here, what is being strictly implemented is the non-marketing of infant formula. However, as what I've posted before, there is no regulation against toddler formula marketing.
Meanwhile, the US doesn't give out "awards" but instead has a kit called Business Case For Breastfeeding which has been most useful to us when we started with our lactation program at work. In this kit, there is a comparison of workplace breastfeeding options from basic, advanced to state of the art! Interestingly, basic options already include (1) a private lactation room (not just a conference or storage room or a toilet!!) with an electrical outlet, chair, disinfectant wipes, lock and table; (2) breastfeeding education (e.g. pamphlets, books) and (3) milk expression time (although limited to breaktimes and lunch breaks). The other options go even further with lactation rooms having telephones and computer terminals allowing employees to work while expressing milk under the state of the art option!
Closer to home, in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, the Family Health Service of their Department of Health likewise lists down the basic essentials for a lactation room which already includes a clean private room with a sink, chair, electrical outlet and a refrigerator for storing milk! Like Australia, Hong Kong also had Babycare Room Awards given out in 2008 to
"commend organizations in the private and public sectors that provided desirable babycare facilities so as to encourage mothers to choose and maintain breastfeeding." My last trip to Hong Kong was in 2008, when Naima was a 9-month old nursling. During this time, one essential staple in my bag was a print-out of places where you can breastfeed or change a baby in various areas in Hong Kong. It was certainly useful especially since Naima usually demanded to be fed in the midst of a shopping or sightseeing excursion.
In my post about SM Mall of Asia's breastfeeding station, several moms chimed in and shared their experiences and tips about other malls in Metro Manila with similar breastfeeding or private rooms where moms can feed or change their babies. We still don't have a comprehensive list of available babycare rooms and we don't even have minimum standards of what should be available in babycare rooms. I do hope that with the passage of the Expanded Breastfeeding Act, the Department of Health will come up with minimum standards for a lactation room with at least a chair, table, lock, sink and refrigerator for storing milk -- and is NOT in a toilet.


Unknown said...

my husband, baby Diwa and i was in SM and checked out their breastfeeding room. No one was there, such a lonely site to see only walls, a sink, and a couple of cushioned single sofas.

What i hope to see in breastfeeding rooms are people!

Mommies and babies breastfeeding because that's why the room exists in the first place.

oh BTW, we were told that Daddies are not allowed inside... but arent Daddies a huge part of breastfeeding? What are they supposed to do? Wait outside? tsk tsk tsk, not good.

Jenny said...

you know jowan, you're right! the only time there was someone with me in the nursing room was once when naima was about 3 months old. since then, whenever i use the room, i'm all alone. maybe dads are not allowed for the benefit of the other nursings. i do think though that the prohibition should apply only if there's another nursing mom inside. otherwise, dads should be welcome too

Cheeeryl said...

Here in Cebu, there's only one SM mall. And it's the only mall here with a breastfeeding station. My baby is now 10 months old and I have only met one breastfeeding mom in that station. I find that there's always another mom with me inside, but they're not nursing. They're bottle-feeding their babies inside a breastfeeding station.

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