Issue of September 12, 2021
Mt. Province

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Advocate attests breast milk has anti-viral properties
by CAR-Menu release

An advocate of exclusive breastfeeding reiterated that mothers should continue to breastfeed their babies and not fear that their child could be infected of the Covid-19.

In a webinar arranged by the National Nutrition Council and the Cordillera Media Educators and Nutrition, Arugaan Executive Director Maria Ines Fernandez said the Covid-19 pandemic should not deter mothers from continuing to breastfeed for breastmilk has anti-viral properties that can help protect an infant from getting infected.

Established in 1980, Arugaan is a breastfeeding advocacy group working in the communities.

For mothers who just gave birth, Fernandez said it is essential that her baby be breastfeed at once so they will be able to have the colostrum, a nutrient-rich fluid produced by female mammals immediately after giving birth.

The height of colostrum production is 15 days after birth.

Fernandez said colostrum contain antibodies which helps develop a newborn’s immune system.

She said using formula milk increases a newborn’s risk of developing asthma, allergies, ear infections, hypertension and heart disease, respiratory infection, lower IQ and cognitive development, obesity iron deficiency anemia, sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, digestive problems, childhood cancer, exposure to environmental contaminants, sleep apnea, dental problems and malocclusions later in life.

For the mother, Fernandez said choosing not to breastfeed increases the risk of obesity; diabetes; overweight; breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers; hypertension and cardiovascular diseases; and reduced child spacing, among others.

Arugaan is campaigning for mothers to feed their babies using a cup, instead of plastic bottles with rubber nipples.

Fernandez said using rubber nipples causes nipple confusion and expressing milk using a breast pump is uncomfortable to the mother as this damages the breast tissue and will eventually decrease the amount of milk produced.

To maximize the benefits that can be derived from breastfeeding, Fernandez also reminded parents to continue breastfeeding even beyond the prescribed age of two. By the time infants can be given solid food, she said parents or caregivers should prepare indigenous foods mixed with breastmilk such as rice porridge, boiled sweet potato, pureed leafy vegetables, carrots, and soft vegetables.

The webinar on breastfeeding is part of the institutionalized projects of the NNC-Cordillera led by OIC Regional Nutrition Coordinator Belle Basalong and CAR-MENU president Rose Malekchan held every Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

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