350 pregnant women join ‘Buntis Congress’ in Nueva Ecija

TALAVERA, Nueva Ecija — Some mothers give their six-month old babies commercial baby food because they are apprehensive about giving them sweet potato as supplemental food for fear it would cause gas pain.
While many mothers are aware of the importance of using iodized salt for their and their babies’ health, some have little understanding of this.
These were among the issues tackled during the Buntis Congress spearheaded by the National Nutrition Council (NCC), Department of Health (DOH), and the local government unit (LGU) led by Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez here Tuesday.
At least 350 pregnant women participated in the discussions that were also supported by the Municipal Nutrition Council (MNC) and Talavera General Hospital.
“Natatakot kayo na baka kabagan ang inyong baby? Hindi naman hilaw (Are you afraid that your baby might suffer from gas pain? It is not raw),” said Leonila Pineda, district nutrition program coordinator of Nueva Ecija, when the mothers said they did not want to give their children sweet potato or “kamote”.
She said in jest that mothers who give their children commercial food were “yayamanin” (rich).
Pineda, however, said solid food should be given to children six months and older in moderation.
“Unti-unti. Dahan-dahan. Nagsimula sa isang kutsara, o dalawang kutsara (Gradually, slowly. Start with one or two tablespoons),” she said.

Iluminada de Guzman, also a nutrition program coordinator, underscored the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and child.
“It also brings economic advantage to the family, considering the skyrocketing prices of milk formula,” she said.
Nutrition officer Rose Anne Cuyco, on the other hand, discussed matters concerning the child’s first 1,000 days of life.
Meanwhile, Martinez encouraged pregnant women to avail of government programs that are readily available to ensure mother and child safety.
“Libreng manganak, libreng vitamins, mga gamot na kailangan, libreng check-up at kapag nanganak na sila ay mayroong feeding at hanggang sa sila (child) ay lumaki maabot yung 1,000 days ay makuha yung mga sustansyang kailangan ng katawan (Free childbirth, free vitamins and other essential medicines, free check-ups and when they gave birth, there is a feeding program until the child grows up and reaches 1,000 days to get the nutrients their bodies need),” she said.
Ana Maria Rosaldo, nutrition program coordinator of Central Luzon, lauded this town’s program that has significantly reduced malnutrition.
“The municipality has been a grand slam green banner awardee and a national awardee in nutrition this year,” she said.
At the end of the discussions, the LGU distributed among the participants “Buntis kits” that contained supplies they would need as they give birth. (PNA)

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