THE DEPARTMENT of Health is encouraging mothers to breast-feed their babies until they are 2 years old.
DOH spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag on Saturday said the recommendation supported the infant’s first 1,000 days, when malnutrition is likely to set in.
“Studies have shown that malnutrition will start in the first 1,000 days of life. It’s going to be very difficult,” Tayag said.
Tayag gamely danced with laughing mothers at the Hakab Na! 2016, a simultaneous breast-feeding event on Saturday in Pasig City.
The event, now on its fourth year, is a gathering of breast-feeding advocates and families to celebrate August as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
Over 616 mothers and 656 children took part in the one-minute simultaneous breast-feeding on Saturday morning, with 37 mothers breast-feeding two babies at once.
Tayag said that in the first 1,000 days, the risk of malnutrition may cause stunted growth, childhood diseases and other health risks that may subsequently affect their performance in school.
He said the DOH wanted to increase the percentage of mothers practicing exclusive breast-feeding for six months to 80 percent.
Tayag gave a list of breast-feeding benefits using the acronym Pearl: P stands for protein found in breast milk; E, easily digestible; A, antibodies found in colostrum; R, reduced asthma and allergy risk; and L, lower risk of diarrhea and ear or respiratory infections.