IN LINE WITH the national breastfeeding month, employees and alumni of Silliman University (SU) together with mothers and advocates gathered for “Dumaguete, Hakab Na!,” a breastfeeding campaign last Aug. 6 at the student lounge of Oriental Hall (OH).
The event was organized by four mothers: Hera de Guia, Clarisse Sy, Manelli Jarambe-Maribao, and Gladice Divina Alcantara.
“Dumaguete, Hakab Na!” is a non-profit campaign that aims to raise awareness and encourage breastfeeding. “As of now, it is non-profit, but we tried to tie-up with the local government,” de Guia, the event organizer and also the guidance counselor of SU College of Business Administration said.
De Guia also said that they are still trying to get the local government involved so that the next campaign would be bigger.
“Hakab” is a Tagalog word for the act of latching on, or babies feeding from their mothers. “Hakab Na!” is in line with the international campaign “The Big Latch On”, and it aims to bring mothers from all over the country to simultaneously latch their babies at exactly 10:30 to 10:31 a.m. The organizers recorded the number of babies who latched during that minute and added it to the nationwide count.
There were 12 recorded latches during the full one-minute latch-on at OH. These will be added to the nationwide count, and then the international count.
The mothers at the event were also sharing their stories and tips on how to breastfeed their children.
For Mary Paz Merecido, breastfeeding is a must. “My toddler is exclusively breast-fed. Akong gisulyan ug formula milk, pero she will throw it up,” she said.
“I think that breastfeeding is natural, something that could be encouraged. It’s healthy for the baby and for the mother. Breastfeeding in public should not be scandalized or i-bastos,” Oyen Alcantara, a faculty member of SU Psychology Department said.
“Mas na-encourage ko na mag breastfeed. Because of this campaign, I learned that babies should be breastfed,” Ericka Amores, a would-be mother said. “I wanted to bottle-feed my baby at first, but now this campaign convinced me to breastfeed.”
Dumaguete, Hakab Na! first joined the campaign last 2015. As of this year, Hakab Na! has spanned to different locations in the country, such as Baguio, Leyte, Metro Manila, Bacolod, and other places.