The proportion of infants receiving exclusive breastfeeding from birth to six months has decreased from 2003 to 2008, according to the 7th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).
The NNS showed that only 8.6 percent or only about 8 out of 100 of 0-23 month old children received exclusive breastfeeding, while 29.9 percent received breastfeeding and complementary food by current feeding practices.
Exclusive breastfeeding is not giving an infant any food or drink other than breast milk, nor other fluids including water, tea or sugar. Complementary feeding, meanwhile, is giving other foods to l year old infants until the baby becomes accustomed to family foods.
The decreasing rate of breastfeeding practice is alarming, considering the various physiological and socio-economic benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastmilk is the perfect food for infants because it provides all the nutrients that are needed for proper growth and development. lt also contains antibodies that help protect babies from common childhood illnesses like diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Moreover, breastmilk is readily safe, available and affordable, and it strengthens the bond between the mother and baby, and the whole family.
The Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF) recommends breastfeeding infants exclusively from birth to six months, and to give appropriate foods while continuing breastfeeding.
Promoting breastfeeding focusing on nutrition, health and economic benefits should be intensified among women, especially among would-be mothers, to prepare them to breastfeed immediately after childbirth. (Source, FNRI)