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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Images of Breastfeeding

Two weeks ago, I got into a discussion with a colleague about the Philippine Daily Inquirer headline below showing breastfeeding moms at Fabella hospital with the caption "Too Many Mouths to Feed".
She was quite bothered by how the images of breastfeeding in the Philippines was always linked with poverty. It was ironic how that banner photo was matched with a headline on the controversial RH bill. I typed "breastfeeding" and "philippines" in the image search of Google and check out the photos I got. Most were actually photos of mothers at Fabella Children's Memorial Hospital, such as the photo below of a nursing mom taken on 24 September 2008.
L.A.T.C.H. is currently working on a project to change the image of breastfeeding. Meanwhile, I came across this project by the United States Breastfeeding Committee. They have been contracted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "to create a library of images of how communities across the U.S. support breastfeeding mothers and babies." Once completed, I think this will be an excellent resource for images for breastfeeding promotion.
I've never thought about the images of breastfeeding in the Philippines. I have always encouraged my husband (who takes maternity/newborn/children's photographs) to always ask his breastfeeding clients if they'd like a breastfeeding shots. I feel that getting this shot is a excellent memento of each mom's breastfeeding relationship with her child. But most of these photos are private - although L.A.T.C.H. has used some photos in our projects (with permission of course).
How do you think breastfeeding has been portrayed in the Philippines? Would you or do you have a breastfeeding photo of you and your nursling?


Rone said...

I don't think it has to do with how breastfeeding is portrayed as it is how conservative we are when it comes to exposed breasts. Hahaha. Breastfeeding is huge with our generation so it definitely is a positive thing, I don't know anyone that would breastfeed in public though. When I did it at a restaurant once my friends shrieked and told me to cover up with a lampin.

I was fortunate to have lived in a country that accepts and encourages breastfeeding anywhere when I had my kids. So much more convenient! But then again it is also a country whose woman swim and sunbath topless at the beaches.

dinna said...

I have a breastfeeding photo of my then 3-day-old Rafael but my hubby took the shot na hindi halata na nagbreastfeed ako... and I was actually sooo deglamorized there because I had just given birth and was still groggy and disoriented. LOL.

Sadly, breastfeeding is generally portrayed in the Philippines as associated with poverty, that one cannot really afford to buy formula milk for her child, hence there is no choice but to breastfeed.

When I gave birth, I discovered in and through the internet that there are a lot of moms out there who make breastfeeding look glam and fab, or who breastfeed and still manage to look glam and fab. :) It's great that we have the accessories to equip us with nursing in public, so it's no longer as shameful as before, and they really make BFing as no longer a tag of poverty.

Jenny said...

surprisingly, my NIP experiences have not been that awful. i do breastfeeding in public although now, i'm more conscious about it with my toddler as compared to when she was still an infant.

Jenny said...

good for you! i think a lot of changes are being made and breastfeeding is NOT always associated with poverty - which was why I was surprised that my colleague and several other people felt there was such an association - maybe it's because i don't read the news that much :D

Martine said...

Sometimes when I go out with my family, such as when we go to Mass, I feel like I'm the only breastfeeding mom! I don't have to breastfeed so much in public now (and when I do, I wear the proper clothes and cover-ups), but when Vito was younger, I really felt like I was the only one without a bottle of formula!

In recent years, there has been a breastfeeding revamp, but unfortunately, not everyone is informed of its benefits. There's not a lot in the media about BF-ing; people are bombarded with formula commercials everywhere, not BF-ing info. In fact, most of the info is online, the blogosphere, etc, and a majority of Pinoys in the RP are not regular online users.

Culturally, I think most Pinoy moms resort to formula because they need to go back to work. This was the case of my mother-in-law, who back then only BFd my hubby as a baby for two months because she couldn't express milk at her workplace. In my mom's case, however, she quit her job to be a fulltime nursing mom because her job was highly field-based (interior design).

But sadly, lots of moms stop because they think they don't have enough milk. Just recently, two of my in-laws stopped breastfeeding after one month because they said they didn't have milk. It's sad, because with the proper information and guidance, ANYONE can BF.

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