Breastfeeding is one of the best practices to achieve better nutrition especially on the first 6 months of the child’s life. During this COVID-19 pandemic, some breastfeeding mothers especially those who are infected or with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are worried that the virus may hinder them from breastfeeding their children. Thus, the Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appeal to the public that even during this pandemic, breastfeeding of infants should be protected, promoted and supported by all mothers. Mothers who are infected with the virus can still continue to breastfeed their child provided that they have to follow the standard health protocols such as proper wearing of face mask when breastfeeding, frequent handwashing before and after contact with the child and use of hand sanitizers.
The month of August is Breastfeeding month and celebrated in the Philippines by virtue of Republic Act No. 10028. This year’s theme “I-bida ang pagpapasuso tungo sa wais at malusog na pamayanan!” aims to strengthen the importance of breastfeeding especially in the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic that has challenged every mother to infant feeding. Along with this celebration are efforts of various organizations and the government from the national to the local level to ensure that breastfeeding continues amidst this pandemic.
In support with the advocacy of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding campaign, local government units (LGUs) of region 9 conducted various activities not only during breastfeeding month but throughout the year to complement the efforts of the government to alleviate all forms of malnutrition especially stunting among children. Here are the breastfeeding initiatives and activities of the LGUs that have been considered as their regular activities:
- Conduct of breastfeeding counselling and sessions with Barangay Nutrition Scholars, lactating mothers and would be mothers.
- Conduct of breastfeeding mothers’ forum and Buntis Congress.
- Conduct mothers’ classes during immunization and pre-natal visits.
- Conduct orientation on breastfeeding and complementary feeding for infants.
- Distribution of hygiene kits and grocery items to lactating teen mothers.
- Compliance to E.O 51 or the Milk Code.
Everyone should remember that breastfeeding practices should never be discontinued even in times of calamities and pandemic since breastmilk possesses all the needed nutrients of 0-6 months old infants for growth and development. Discontinuing breastfeeding will result negatively to their health and nutritional status and later will lead to malnutrition problems.
NO I Angelica O. Pajulas