On Red Cross and Bottlefeeding:
what message do you think this poster sends?
I first read about Red Cross' poster over at Blacktating. When I saw this poster - the first thing that came into my mind is - how the heck are they going to clean that bottle?! I am again reminded of previous experiences on emergencies in Haiti and in the Philippines, during Ondoy.
As Tanya over at Motherwear blog shares, in times of emergencies, it is more important to feed the nursing moms so they in turn can feed their babies -- rather than providing them with boxes and cans of milk and bottles.
Two years ago (2009), World Breastfeeding Week's theme was Breastfeeding, a crucial priority for child survival in emergencies. Since then, the world has faced several more emergencies - Haiti, Ondoy, Indonesian earthquake, New Zealand earthquake, conflicts in the Middle East and now the tsunami and earthwake plus potential nuclear disaster in Japan! Even locally, there are tornadoes in Lanao del Norte and floods in the Visayas.
Despite several issues on sanitation, water supply, it seems that the message being sent out by donation agencies is still "send us milk"! According to this report, breastfeeding rates in Japan are lower than the US. I wonder how the rates will be after this emergency?
*On 21 March 2011, UNICEF released a Joint Statement with the Nutrition Cluster which you can access here. Although the statement is focused on emergencies in Northern Africa, the same points are applicable in the Japan situation. Emphasis on the critical protection from infection conferred by breastfeeding in environments without safe water supply and sanitation. Further, IT IS NOT TRUE that during emergencies, mothers can no longer breastfeed adequately because of stress or inadequate nutrition.
Juday and Lactum
I was even more disappointed to see this paid advertorial entitled "Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, now a 100% panatag mom".
A friend told me that while she was pregnant with Lucho, she had already signed a contract with Mead Johnson and among the terms of the contract was that she will not promote breastfeeding. But I know for a fact that she DID breastfeed Lucho and she requested a breastfeeding class to help her successfully breastfeed.
I posted this on my FB page and got varied reactions. Several pointed out that the milk being promoted is for her 6-year old daughter and not her baby son. My position is that she could have chosen to promote breastfeeding to her legions of fans and by choosing to endorse a formula company - even if it is a kid formula, she has effectively shut the door on her being called on and be considered as a breastfeeding advocate.
Then again, if Mead Johnson paid P2M to partner with a nutritional organization, it makes me wonder how much they paid Judy Ann for this endorsement. You can just imagine how much Mead Johnson pays for their advertising and marketing - aside from Judy Ann, they have other panatag moms - Carmina Villaroel, Jodi Sta. Maria and Claudine Barreto. Milk formula is a huge $$$ business!
*Update: Here's a link to the column of Ricky Lo. At 5 months, Juday is mix feeding Lucho with breastmilk and formula.