First 1000 Days Law: How New Parents Can Make The Most Of It

There’s a law that helps new parents protect their babies and kids for the first 1000 days! Here’s what we know!

When we first become parents, it’s sometimes so overwhelming with all the requirements. From giving birth and filling up legal documents, to addressing our babies’ physiological needs. Our hormones also are either soaring or settling down which makes everything feel so exhausting. But that’s what RA 11146 (or the First 1000 Days Law) pushes to achieve. All of us new parents are entitled to some form of help in completing our new babies’ and our needs.

First 1000 Days Law: How New Parents Can Make The Most Of It

What is the First 1000 Days Law?

Also known as RA 11146, this 5-year-old law was created to address what pediatricians and doctors call “the golden window of opportunity” for newborn babies. Signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018, the First 1000 Days Law pushes medical institutions to develop “sustainable nutritional interventions” for families. Most especially new parents and their babies. This would include creating schedules for vaccinations, home visits from medical practitioners, and even counseling for parents who are still trying to navigate through their new life.

The Law Helps Make New Parenthood Not So Overwhelming

Unfortunately, life doesn’t wait for parents to settle down. The moment the baby comes, they’re already exposed to various microbes and germs. Although they already have a basic level of defense against them through their mother’s breastmilk, it’s still a “priority,” as Immunization Committee Chair of the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) Dr. Fatima Gimenez insists, to have kids vaccinated.

“Vaccinating kids during the first 1000 days of their lives prevents a lot of things,” she explains, recalling two cases she once witnessed with children dying of pertussis. “Vaccines prevent them from suffering the worst of the diseases. In which, a lot of these diseases that have a vaccine can often result in death.”

Tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, Hepatitis B. We and our kids no longer need to fear dying from these diseases so long as they receive the vaccine. There’ll be little to no heartbreaking and exhausting trips to the hospital because of these diseases which means they’ll have more time to enjoy growing up and exploring the world. And while the jumping and sinking of our hormonal levels may make us feel that only we alone can protect our kids, the First 1000 Days Law makes sure that many of these services such as vaccination and consultation are free to support our desire to protect our kids.

The Tools are There, It’s Getting Them That’s the Problem

While the law provides the systems and the protocols, some of us may find it difficult to access them. Especially in high risk areas, a lot of new moms often share their harrowing experiences of finding transportation, witnessing an overwhelmed system, and many others. But these healthcare centers are not the only ones who have them. The First 1000 Days Law has the local government units (LGUs) and the regional health offices (RHOs) working together to assure that each family within their jurisdiction completes all their medical needs.

Sadly, the stress of obtaining these benefits can also impact the mother whose breastmilk contains the much-needed antibodies and nutrients for her baby. But Dr. Fatima, a pediatrician herself, advises that the consultation for that is also available with the vaccines providing a base until the mom starts producing breastmilk. “It’s why we always encourage moms to ask us questions. We share the same goal: we want the kids to be healthy and happy.”

First 1000 Days Law: How New Parents Can Make The Most Of It

The Struggle On Both Fronts

But it’s not just the new parents who are overwhelmed but also the many public and private healthworkers. With the constant flux of patients, they suffer from compassion burnout. Because they’re constantly devoting themselves to people’s welfare, they forget about themselves. And as the parents of the patient or the patient ourselves, there are ways we can slow down the compassion burnout. This is according to former dean and professor Dr. Belizario.

“It always helps to do a bit of research and feel free to ask questions,” Dr. Belizario advises. “There’s so much information. And that’s why the DOH and we have a board to always review the information that comes out so that we can make a healthier and more sustainable healthcare system for the Philippines.”

These First 1000 Days Can Predict Our Kids’ Overall Health After

Although we new parents want to enjoy our babies’ first 1000 days of life at a comfortable pace, we know there are things we can’t put off. Protecting their health is one of them because one of the long-term effects if we don’t maintain their health is stunted growth. When babies get sick, their bodies devote the energy they use for growing to fight off the infection. But this isn’t a battle that no new parent has to do alone. It’s like what Dr. Belizario says, “Let’s DOH it together.”

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