Infant Health Beliefs and Practices of Mothers in Taysan Resettlement Site in Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines
Esther S. Valladolid
Keywords:Colostrum, Infant, Feeding, Hygiene, Healing
This study is in response to the nation’s continued commitment to improve the health outcomes of Filipino children. It is an attempt to contribute to the sustainable development goal on good health and well-being (SDG 3) aimed at reducing the neonatal mortality rate in the country. This study determined the profile of mothers in the resettlement site of barangay Taysan in Legazpi City as well as their infant health beliefs and practices. It utilized the descriptive survey method and questionnaire-checklist as data-gathering instruments administered to 84 respondents who are mothers with children between the ages zero and one year old residing at Taysan resettlement site. Majority of the respondents were young housewives with meager income, with three children, and having had their first pregnancy when they were 22 years old. Based on ranking, their most common infant health beliefs on infant feeding, hygiene, and care of the sick include the following concepts: breastfeeding promotes mother-baby bonding and breast milk is better than infant formula in contents, bathing the infant any day except Tuesdays and Fridays to prevent illnesses caused by evil spirits, and applying chewed leaves or betel juice (mama) on the baby’s abdomen that can treat bloated belly and wounds. Their popular practices include breastfeeding regularly and breastfeeding infant on the well breast, applying 70% alcohol on the umbilical cord three times a day to prevent infection and promote wound healing, and giving doctor-prescribed medications only after consultation. Cultural beliefs and traditional practices still exist, which are associated with health risks and adverse health outcomes. Hence, there is a need to enhance the implementation of the essential newborn care (ENC) protocol while recognizing and appreciating indigenous health beliefs and practices.