Online support group sets nationwide breastfeeding event

MANILA Hundreds of mothers nursed their babies during the celebration of National Breastfeeding Awareness month on Sunday at the sixth installment of Hakab Na!, a simultaneous and countrywide breastfeeding event.

Around 2,000 breastfeeding mothers gathered at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City for the event organized by the group Breastfeeding Pinays in partnership with the Department of Health. In Davao, about 200 hundred mothers nursed their children all at the same time.

The event encouraged breastfeeding mothers to gather and hold their own Hakab Na! events at home, at schools, in their communities and in their workplaces to create a "breastfeeding nation".

Some of the mothers who attended the event are from nearby provinces while others are from abroad. Most of the participants came to the event with inspiring slogans and costumes which mostly depict that of a superhero or a wonder woman.

"Isa itong masayang event ng mga nanay para makapag-bonding. Bilang isang breastfeeding advocate and breastfeeding counselor, may kakaibang saya na nakikita mo bawat taon na dumadami ang mga breastfeeding mothers (This is a joyous event for mothers to bond. As a breastfeeding advocate and breastfeeding counselor, there is a different kind of joy to see that there is an increase in the number of breastfeeding mothers)," participant Junaiza Villanueva told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

Even if it is already her fourth year to attend the event, Villanueva said she still learns something new every year.

"Hindi ka lang pumunta doon dahil sa sabayang pag-hakab kundi para matuto sa mga talks. Kahit hindi ka breastfeeding mom, madami ka matututunan na pwede mong ibahagi against myths and misconceptions on breastfeeding (You just don't go there for the simultaneous breastfeeding but also to learn from their talks. Even though you're not a breastfeeding mom, you can learn many things which you can share to counter myths and misconceptions on breastfeeding)," she said.

Lactation experts, peer counselors, and breastfeeding advocacy supporters also attended the event to boost awareness and educate the attendees on the many health and economic benefits of breastfeeding.

In 2017, around 4,775 mother-and-baby pairs joined the Hakab Na! event in Araneta Coliseum. There are a few places nationwide which held the event a day or two days earlier than the scheduled event Sunday. These include Tagaytay and Iloilo where the number of participants has increased by more than two hundred from last year's 169 recorded participants. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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