10 September 2012

No To The Monster Milk Bill

I've been reading up on the proposed amendments of the Milk Code on Chronicles of a Nursing Mom and am surprised that the bill has been signed by 161 members of congress as of July 24. Maybe these co-authors of the bill were blinded by the fact that it calls itself a Promotion of breastfeeding when it is the exact opposite.  The bill is complicated and if you are like me and would rather read Dr. Seuss over the law I suggest you read Jenny's posts Decoding the Monster Milk Bill Part I and Part II.  Jenny is not just a breastfeeding advocate, she is also a lawyer and the best person to explain this Monster Milk Bill to you.

From what I understand the the amendments will allow infant formula milk companies to advertise, conduct promotion and education on breastfeeding, make donations and give gifts. In essence the the infant formula companies will be allowed to say they are just as good as breast milk when we all know that they are not. Do you think they will seriously promote breast milk, their largest and only competitor that is absolutely FREE for all women, over their products? I highly dount it.  The thing is the target of these milk companies is not women who know better and can make educated decisions about what to feed their children. No, they target the women who cannot understand the English labels and can be convinced by movie stars and empty promises to think that infant formula is something to strive for and something that their babies need to be healthy.  

I'm tired of these stupid milk ads that say our children will be bigger, taller, smarter, more alert, more active and will win a Nobel prize if they drink this powdered thing they call milk.  They call it milk but last I checked milk come from the mammary glands of a female mammal, not a tin can.  I'm tired of of these multinational companies that give popular celebrities big bucks to say their children only eat hotdogs and need powdered milk to be healthy.  Ms. Santos, don't you think that perhaps if you didn't feed your child hotdogs all day everyday she would be healthier?

The Milk Code follows the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes of the WHO.  Take a look at the women our generation, we proudly breastfeed our children.  Much more than the generation of our parents who were led to believe that infant formula made their babies healthier.  Passing this monster milk bill and it's amendments to the Milk Code will revert us back to formula feeding society we were decades ago.

Let us not take steps backwards in this direction but be more progressive and honest about what is best for our babies. Now what exactly can you do?  You can write members of Congress and urge them to put a stop to this bill.

Here is a list of the members of Congress who are co-authors of the the bill.


If you aren't quite sure how to start, here is a draft letter that you can use.  You can copy and paste or personalize it.  The important thing is to write them.  The more we write them, the more noise we will make and the greater the chances Congress killing the bill.

Dear Representative xxx,

As your constituent, I urge you to vote against the passage of consolidated House Bill entitled "An Act Promoting a comprehensive program on Breastfeeding practices and Regulating the Trade, Marketing and Promotions of certain foods for Infants and Children or Breastfeeding and Milk Regulation Act.  This is a consolidation of House Bill Nos. 3525, 3527, 3396 and 3537 and has been modified and corrupted to water down the Milk Code - which goes against the essence of the original bill which was to strengthen the Milk Code.

The original House Bill No. 3396 seeks to limit marketing of formula milk to children up to three years of age.  The consolidated bill reduces this period and limits the marketing of formula milk to children up to 6 months only.  The Department of Health advocates breastfeeding for two years and beyond. 

In a study published in 2011, the World Health Organization found that Filipino mothers are greatly influenced by advertisements or their doctors such that those who have been exposed to these influences are 2-4 times more likely to feed their babies with infant formula products.  Further, these mothers are 6.4 times more likely to stop breastfeeding their babies within 1 year of age.

Another World Health Organization study on the economic burden of infant formula on families with young children in the Philippines established that the cost of infant formula (purchase and out of pocket medical expenditure) exceed $400 million in 2003.  This excludes costs from absenteeism and the risk of childhood death and illness, which caused an unnecessary burden on Filipino families.

Clearly, the consolidated House Bill will only exacerbate the problems faced by Filipino families.  Again, I urge you to vote against the consolidated House Bill entitled "Breastfeeding and Milk Regulation Act. 

Thank you for your attention and looking forward to your favorable action on this matter.


Your Constituent