(PIA) – “The first 1000 days of a baby’s child is very crucial,” said National Nutrition Council 8 Regional Coordinator Dr. Catalino Dotollo, Jr..

Dotollo met the Municipal Nutrition Action Officers in Samar at Lucas Wharf, Catbalogan City for nutrition updates and the celebration of Nutrition Month this July 2016.

“First 1000 days ni baby, pahalagahan para sa malusog na kinabukasan,” is the theme this year.

The theme emphasizes the first 1000 days of life, starting from the day of conception until the 2nd birthday of the child-globally considered as the “golden window of opportunity’ for interventions that aim to achieve the maximum potential of a child’s growth and development, said Dotollo.

Dotollo urged the nutrition action officers present to encourage mothers, would be mothers and even the teen-agers to make sure that they know the significance of good maternal nutrition, proper infant and young child feeding practices.

“The first 1000 days is the period of rapid growth where nutrient deficiencies can have long term effects,” he said.

“Good nutrition during this period can help maximize the child’s ability to grow, learn and develop that will have profound effect in his health, well being and success in his adulthood,” he added.

During pregnancy, the baby is solely dependent on the mother for nourishment, so that mothers are advised to get a balanced diet and vitamins and minerals (iron or ferrous sulfate, folate or folic acid, and iodine) for the baby in her womb.

Mothers should also give birth in a birthing facility to ensure the safety of both mother and child and for the trained health professionals to counsel the mother on essential newborn protocol: immediate and thorough drying of the newborn for 30-60 seconds to warm the newborn and stimulate breathing; early skin to skin contact between mother and child, delayed washing for at least six hours to prevent infection, hypothermia and hypoglycemia.

Also it is needed to observe proper cord clamping and cutting to prevent anemia among newborns and early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and non separation of the newborn from the mother to defend the newborn against infection, according to Rina Ladrera of the NNC.

Mothers need to breastfeed the newborn until six months of age; after which mothers can feed the baby with complementary foods but in smaller portions and babies should be fed slowly and patiently, and at the same time continue to breastfeed, until two years and even beyond.

As the infant grows, complementary foods can change from semi-solid to solid food and be more varied, recommended are grains, roots and tubers, legumes and nuts, fish meat, poultry, liver organs, meats, eggs, Vitamin A rich veggies and fruits.

By eight months the baby can eat finger foods and by 12 months the child can eat almost the same food that the family eats.

As to health care, mothers should submit their babies to complete immunization and micronutrient supplementation given free in rural health centers.

Families should also practice proper hygiene and sanitation using safe drinking water, frequent handwashing with soap and water, safe waste disposal and prepare clean and safe food.

Proper growth and health monitoring should also be done.

The government through the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) focuses on pregnant women and children below two years old.

PPAN particularly recommends the implementation of Executive Order 51 or the Milk Code which regulates marketing of breastmilk substitutes and other related products.

It also promotes Republic Act 10028 or Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act to urge establishment of milk banks, establishment of breastfeeding stations in public places, lactation breaks and other ways and means to support breastfeeding in the workplace.

Another health program Garantisadong Pambata held twice a year gives a package of health services to children.

NNC urged the public to ensure the good nutrition of pregnant women, infants and children below two years old when the crucial 1000 days are in. (nbq/PIA8-Samar)

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