Thursday, November 19, 2009

Breast Milk is Tops!

Bear Brand is undeniably the most affordable powdered milk in the Philippine supermarket; it even comes in a small pack or sachet. You can buy 1 sachet for around P10 ($.20 cents). It's a huge penny saver for most households. Today, this new packaging caught my eye. Oh the assaulting typeface. But it gets the message across.

Nestle is pulling out all the stops in issuing a health warning on all sides of Bear Brand Milk. It kinda looks like an All Caps tweet though.

I can only speculate why. But the reason is just way too obvious anyway. This is perhaps to hinder the makukulit (stubborn) na moms from giving their babies regular cow's milk instead of feeding them breastmilk or infant formula.

But can you blame such moms? When they simply are not informed of the risks that they are endangering their newborns. Or that they have no money to buy infant formula even the cheapest one like Bona becomes a luxury. That they turn to condensed milk and Bear Brand and yes, even to this day "Am" or sabaw ng bigas (water culled from rinsing rice or boiling rice).

Portions are crucial in milk preparations. When I was off breastfeeding and making the transition to formula, one thing my pediatrician made clear was to make sure I measure the exact scoop and that the water level was correct prior to mixing.

Too much water in the formula can cause a baby's sodium levels to drop, which could eventually cause swelling in the brain and trigger a seizure. Regularly diluting infant formula actually increases this risk, as a baby's sodium level will remain low. 

That's with the infant formula.

But in the case of feeding regular powdered cow's milk to a baby, there is more harm than good here. Babies are not yet capable of properly digesting or processing this kind of milk. It doesn't contain the appropriate nutrients for them. The parents though well-meaning are gambling with the baby's life.

This is one unfortunate social issue.

The DOH (Department of Health Manila) as of August 2009 is beefing up their breastfeeding campaigns. Well they should.

They should start airing more of that "Hindi Baka ang Anak Ko" (My Baby is not a Cow) which is so catchy and clear to the point!

Haay ang hirap ng buhay....