Breastfeed, DOH urges mothers-A A +A
Friday, August 16, 2013
DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) officials encourage mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding for six months to save lives.
Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center head of Pediatrics Care Unit Dr. Eleonor Cuarte said exclusive breastfeeding means the mother must breastfeed her baby within the first six months or even beyond two years old.
She revealed exclusive breastfeeding can save a life because it is one of the most natural and beneficial acts a mother can do for her child. She added there are several dramatic health benefits which have been proven to pass from mother to child through breast milk; from antibodies which protect an infant at birth to the exclusive nutrients in mother's milk shown to prevent a number of childhood diseases. She said the benefits are incalculable.
Cuarte said among the benefits of breastfeeding to the baby are: the baby receives the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies; protection against gastroenteritis, necrotizing entercolitis; reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets; reduced risk of childhood diabetes; protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, septicemia (blood poisoning); and protection against allergies, asthma, eczema, and severity of allergic disease.
On the other hand, she said breastfeeding is also beneficial to the mother in many ways. Breastfeeding can reduce risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers; reduces risk of anemia; protects mother against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life; reduces risk of mortality for women with rheumatoid arthritis; helps the mother's body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster because it promotes weight loss; helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies; and develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her child.
Cuarte further said breastfeeding also helps the family financially because the mother does not need to buy expensive milk formulas. With this setup, the family can save more money for the future of the baby.
Working mothers can practice express breastfeeding by storing her milk in refrigerators. Expressed milk when stored to refrigerators can last up to one month provided it will not be contaminated by other goods inside the refrigerator.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 17, 2013.