Government calls for intensified breastfeeding promotion among pregnant women
Tacloban City (November 30) -- Breastfeeding promotion focused on nutrition, health and economic benefits should be intensified among pregnant women to encourage the practice immediately after childbirth.
FNRI-DOST staff Mr. Salvador Serrano stressed this, during the Nutricomnet Media Briefing, held at the Harampang Ha PIA on November 16.
Mr. Serrano said that the results of the 7th National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology in 2008 showed that the participation of pregnant women in the promotion of the breastfeeding program is low.
Results of the survey on government program participation showed that only 24 in every 100 pregnant women participated in breastfeeding promotion program.
This figure among the pregnant women is in contrast with the participation level of lactating women reported at 100 percent.
Thus, more attention should be given to pregnant women in preparation for lactation, Mr. Serrano said.
Breast milk is by far the best food for a newborn baby, and encouraging soon-to-be mothers to breastfeed is an important undertaking.
Mr. Serrano enumerated several benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding protects against common infections, especially diarrhea and respiratory diseases as well as urinary tract and ear infections, in addition to psychological and emotional benefits like mother-baby bonding, he said.
He said that during pregnancy, a woman's body is already preparing for breastfeeding, as milk duct and milk producing cells are developing and more blood goes to the breasts than before.
Nutrition and health advocates recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and then continue for as long and as often as possible.
Exclusive breastfeeding means giving the baby only breast milk for six months, no other fluids, including water, tea or sugar, Mr. Serrano informed.
Today, with growing concern on food safety and security and the threats of natural calamities like strong typhoons and prolonged droughts, breastfeeding ensures that newborn infants get enough nourishment to grow normally and become productive citizens in the future. (PIA 8) [top]