Nursing mothers advised to breastfeed their babies in evacuation centers

SAN FERNANDO CITY – Nursing mothers were advised by nutrition experts to continue breastfeeding babies even in evacuation areas during disasters.

National Nutrition Council Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Ma. Eileen B. Blanco said nursing mothers should continue to breast-feeding their babies despite harsh conditions in evacuation centers as infant formula milk is not allowed in temporary shelters.

Blanco said infant formula in these areas are not allowed in compliance to Executive Order 51 or the Milk Code although in reality, evacuation centers are flooded with milk donations during disasters.

It has been noted that malnutrition incidence increases in evacuation centers due to scarcity of food.

Blanco said that when nursing mothers are under stress, their milk production decreases.

β€œLife in evacuation areas is not normal but parents, particularly mothers, should understand that this is just temporary. Sooner or later, everything will go back to normal, ” Blanco said.

As part of the Nutrition Month celebration, the council partnered with Ajinomoto culinary expert to teach the Pantawid Pamilya (4Ps) beneficiaries, mothers, barangay officials, health workers, media, and line-agency representatives on how to cook a variety of recipes using sardines and noodles as the primary ingredients noting that these are the most common food items available in evacuation centers.

“(When taken frequently) sardines and noodles become unhealthy because of too much sodium content and preservatives,” the nutrition officer said.

The NNC also monitors the functionality of nutrition clusters in the barangays which play a big role to nutrition in the community.

They are the frontliners who have direct access to barangay folks and are more knowledgeable as to who should be given priority. They are tapped by NNC to identify the primary needs of the people in disaster areas and also monitor the con-tinuous practice of breast-feeding among lactating mothers.

Blanco also reminded other basic needs like hygienic products – towel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, blankets, clothes which should be included in the list of goods for distribution to evacuees during disaster. (From report of MCA/MPA/PIA1 La Union)