Exclusive breastfeeding benefits both mother and baby

Breastfeeding is the best and the healthiest way for a mother to feed her newborn baby, this was stressed by the Unit Head of Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Pediatric Newborn Care during the celebration of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month last month in Baguio City.

Dr. Eleonor Eleonor Cuarte explained that breastfeeding is the best and the healthiest way for a mother to feed her newborn baby in addition to its low cost intervention until he/she is two years old.

She stressed that the longer the mother breastfeed her newborn baby, the better since short and long term health benefits are known to exist for both of them.

Cuarte said breastfeeding prevents morbidity and mortality among children as it is a protection from illnesses including respiratory diseases, urinary tract infection, leukemia and other sickness and  even diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea which are the very common cause of deaths among infants.

Cuarte said that breastfeeding can be also a form of family planning method since mothers will not ovulate at least in the first four months if she is exclusively breast-feeding.

Breastfeeding also prevents ovarian cancer and breast cancer, she said.

The doctor lamented the fact that breastfeeding rate in Baguio City and the entire country is very low especially the exclusive breastfeeding of babies for six months.

According to Cuarte, exclusive breastfeeding is reported to be 51% only among mothers in the Philippines.

Cuarte also cited a report that new mothers breastfeed their baby for only several days after delivery.

“To some, it is only a month or two as they would go back to work,” she said.

All mothers and the public should breastfeed their baby, Cuarte said. (From a report of Redjie Cawis and Julianne Detran, PIA-CAR)