Press Release
August 5, 2016

Pushes Breastfeeding, "First 1,000 Days"

Senator Grace Poe today urged the government to adopt a program that will provide nourishment for poor, pregnant and lactating mothers while advocating breastfeeding and its unparalleled benefits to Filipino infants and children.

"Breastfeeding gives children the best start in life," stressed Poe who earlier filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 161 or the proposed "First 1,000 Days" Act which seeks to provide children full protection and support, especially from day one in the womb until they reach the age of two.

Low rate of breastfeeding

Poe lamented the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the country, noting a report by the United Nation International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) titled State of the World's Children 2016 which showed that in the Philippines, only 34% of infants under six months are fed with just breast milk. Only 41% continue breast milk intake until two years old. The same report also found that only one in two babies born were immediately put to the breast within an hour of birth.

The World Health Organization is recommending "exclusive breastfeeding up to six months, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond." Breast milk has antibodies and essential nutrients that protect babies from diseases and death.

"Breastfeeding protects babies from deadly infections," Poe stressed, "But it is not just about milk; a child needs to feel the warmth of his mother and the security of her presence to grow strong and healthy. There is no substitute to it."

Challenges to breastfeeding

The senator also called attention to the lack of societal support to Filipino women in breastfeeding their children. Among the challenges faced by nursing mothers are lack of nutrition, community support, absence of breastfeeding stations, non-compliance to lactation breaks, and inadequate information.

First 1,000 Days Act

This advocacy is in support of her SB 161 that seeks to protect children from malnutrition beginning conception up to two years old by establishing the "First 1,000 Days" maternal and child health care program in every barangay, which includes nutrition and family counselling, breastfeeding of children, nutritional support for pregnant and nursing mothers, treatment of malnourished children, and other timely interventions.

Citing studies by the UNICEF, Poe said chronic malnutrition in the first two years will impair a child for life and leave him with lower chances of finishing school and becoming productive.

"We need a strong, whole-of-society support, and institutionalized mechanisms to ensure our children are protected," the senator said.

Earlier, Poe has also filed SB No. 160 or the proposed Libreng Pananghalian sa Pampublikong Paaralan Act of 2106 which seeks to institutionalize a free nutri-meals program for children enrolled in the K-12 public schools in a bid to improve their health, attendance and academic performance.

News Latest News Feed