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Baby’s first 1000 days crucial to child dev’t – DOH

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines– The first 1000 days of a child’s life are the most important to their physical growth, cognitive development and immune maturation, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) here said.

Dr. Anabelle Paguirigan, medical officer III, said the right nutrition during the first 1000 days of a child’s life has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive.

“Starting from a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday, the first 1000 days are considered golden window of opportunity for intervention so that children will grow healthy and reach their maximum potentials when they grow older,” Paguirigan said.

She said the lack of adequate nutrients during this period of rapid brain development has long-term effects on the baby’s cognition which are not recovered even with improvements in nutrition after 2 years of age.

To avoid the risk of getting infections and malnutrition during pregancy, Paguirigan advised pregnant mothers to have a regular prenatal check-ups to prevent complications and to be informed on the important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy.

“Mothers with history of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other serious diseases should see a doctor more often and must give birth in a hospital or accredited birthing facility so that they will be attended by trained and licensed health professionals,” the medical officer said.

Paguirigan also recommended exclusive breastfeeding during the baby’s first 6 months of life and to continue breastfeeding until 2 years of age or above.

She said exclusive breastfeeding is a cornerstone of child’s survival and health because it provides essential, irreplaceable nutrition for a child’s growth and development.

“Exclusive breastfeeding serves as a child’s first immunization as it provides protection from infections, diseases, and other potentially life-threatening illnesses,” she said, adding that babies who are fed nothing but breastmilk from birth through their first six months get the best start to life.

Paguirigan also urged mothers to continue to provide breast milk to their baby after they you go back to work by storing a supply of expressed milk in the freezer for the baby. Gene Baquiran/PIA/ Northernforum.net

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