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If you want smart kids, breastfeed them |

Health And Family

If you want smart kids, breastfeed them

MOMMY TALK - MOMMY TALK By Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan -
Nowadays, when we’re bombarded by a variety of options regarding what’s good for our children, I have observed that mothers have become more insecure than ever. Seldom do I see mothers who are certain about what’s right for their children simply from gut feel. I remember growing up with a mother who, almost always, listens to her instincts as a mother first before considering other people’s advice. God designed all of us to be equipped with all that is necessary to nurture our children. In the case of mothers, we come fully prepared with milk, caring skills that are instinctically wired, and a heart that is sensitive to the needs of our children.

In the recently concluded 56th Annual Convention of the Philippine Association of Nutrition, Inc., I was asked to react on the topic "Infant and Young Child Feeding," as presented by Dr. Paulyn B. Rosell-Ubial. I would like to share with you the many valuable insights I learned on the latest findings regarding feeding our children.
Bringing Up Healthy Kids
• Exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months. If you want to have smart kids, give them your milk. Cow’s milk cannot ever be comparable to breast milk in terms of brain development because it is the fatty acids in human breastmilk that stimulate brain growth. The ingredients in cow’s milk stimulate long bone growth. Breastmilk substitutes not only entail additional economic costs, they also lack the quality and balance of the nutrients and protective factors found in breastmilk.

• Complimentary feeding and continued breastfeeding six months onwards.
Complimentary foods that are nutritionally adequate should be given at the right time. Deficiencies of micronutrients, like iodine and iron, can lead to loss of IQ points. The complimentary foods should be hygienically prepared and fed. For infants who are weaned from the breast, it is safer and cleaner to feed them through a cup rather than the bottle. Feeding bottles must be sterilized, etc. Cup-feeding may be used from birth.

• Early childhood care
is not only required for survival, it also assures optimal growth and development for the child. The influence of proper or faulty nutrition and care during the early years of the child are reflected throughout the child’s future health and development. Caring for the child begins early upon birth. It also means proper attention must be given to caregivers, most especially mothers. When support systems are strong for those caring for the child, they will positively affect the child’s growth. Mothers may be encouraged to breastfeed starting with the hospital’s full implementation of the Milk Code, and their mother/baby-friendly hospital policy. Finding a support group would be most helpful as well...

Hope that encourages all of us to be more active in ensuring the total growth and development of our children, starting with what and how we feed them. I’d like to stress the need for mothers to take care of themselves so that they radiate a positive spirit while caring for their child. There is also a need to give value in getting support from the husband. The mother should be super sensitive to the needs of the husband when a new addition to the family arrives. This will make it easier for the husband to give his support to his wife. Also, government should look into increasing the number of maternity leave credits and be open to the possibility of giving paternity leave if it is serious about ensuring the strong bond among members of the family, which is the basic unit of society.
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E-mail me at: mommytalk@

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