Even though breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, it is still not completely and totally accepted by society. Some women experience insecurities and difficulties in the workplace and other public areas. Good thing the government has made it a lot easier for breastfeeding moms. So, in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we wanted to highlight the rights, as mandated by law, of every Filipina breastfeeding mom.
If you’re just about to give birth, then this is something very relevant for you. To help initiate breastfeeding, all mothers (with the exception of those who are seriously ill) have the right to request that their child stay in the same room with them from the moment your child is delivered up until you are discharged from the hospital. While you don’t necessarily have to room-in, this also facilitates mother and child bonding.
After you’ve given birth, it can be tough to adjust to breastfeeding. Luckily, hospitals and health institutions have facilities to help make things easier for you. You can be guaranteed, by law, to have access to the necessary equipment or space that can help you with your breast milk collection and storage. And even after you’ve given birth, say when you pay a visit to the doctor, you can still benefit from the facilities.
This is especially beneficial for the working breastfeeding mom. Whether you work for the government or in the private sector, you should have access to a lactation station. The lactation station should include a lavatory (for hand-washing), a refrigerator or similar cooling facility (to store expressed breast milk), electrical outlets (for breast pumps and other similar gadgets), a table, and comfortable seats. Take note though, that lactation stations should not be located in the bathroom. You deserve more than that!
A lactation period is basically the time you have, besides your lunch break, to express and store your breast milk. All working breastfeeding moms deserve at least 40 minutes for every eight hours of work. If you’re worrying about whether you will be compensated for your lactation periods, you need not worry. It is mandated by law that you will still receive your normal pay.
Ideally, before you are hired, you should be given a brief breakdown of the laws regarding breastfeeding by your employer. If you aren’t married or newly married, it is understandable if your employer gives you just a brief overview. However, once you are pregnant, you should be fully aware of all the benefits that you deserve. So, if you’re expecting and still aren’t aware of what you deserve, we recommend you talking to your employer about it.
Besides being made aware of all the laws, your employer should also be able to administer support in the form of orientations, as well as by providing you with information on how to manage breastfeeding and work (once you come back from your maternity leave). Your employer should also encourage you to attend breastfeeding programs–take note that the programs do not necessarily have to be hosted by your employer.
Philippines. Congress. Republic Act 7600. Metro Manila: Congress of the Philippines, 1992.
Philippines. Congress. Republic Act No. 10028. Metro Manila: Congress of the Philippines, 2010.
Philippines. Department of Health. The Implementing Rules and Regulation of Republic Act No. 10028. Metro Manila: DOH, 2011.
Ong, Jenny. “Legal Rights of Breastfeeding Mothers.” Chronicles of a Nursing Mom. Last updated November 14, 2011.