Breastfeeding, a Skill Mom and Baby 'Learn From Each Other'
This is the VOA Special English Health Report, from voaspecialenglish.com | facebook.com/voalearningenglish World Breastfeeding Week was celebrated the first week of August. The celebration is now in its nineteenth year. It grew out of a meeting organized by UNICEF to find ways to support breastfeeding. Jill Hall supports breastfeeding. In fact, she could be feeding her son right now. She gave birth to Thomas -- or Tiggy, as his parents call him -- at a hospital in Washington six weeks ago. They live in nearby McLean, Virginia. Mother's milk is all that Tiggy will eat for the first six months. His mother plans to follow the advice of the World Health Organization. Six-week-old babies generally breastfeed seven to nine times in a twenty-four-hour period. Jill Hall has two stepdaughters, but Thomas is her first experience with breastfeeding. And, in her words, "It's going great."She said: "It's pretty natural. You kind of learn from each other, mom and baby, how it's all going to work. And that can take a little bit of trial and error." Josie Tullo knows all about that. She works for a lactation consulting group in Fairfax, Virginia. She has more than twenty years of experience advising mothers. But she says babies themselves are great guides to nursing.She said when babies are born they have a need to breastfeed. So if we were to place a baby on the mother's abdomen, the baby would crawl up the mother's chest and choose which breast it would like to latch on to. The baby will open its mouth twice and lean in to grasp the breast. That is the mother's cue to hug the baby to the breast.Doctor Bernadette Daelmans is an expert on newborn and child health development for the World Health Organization. She offers estimates from the WHO and UNICEF about how many young lives could be saved through breastfeeding. She said: "We could save one point five million children under five years of age out of the eight point eight million that we estimate to die every year." This is if children were only breastfed for six months and continued to breastfeed for up to two years, with additional food after six months. Breastfeeding reduces the chances of infections in the first few hours of life. Later, it reduces the chances of stomach and intestinal infections. Researchers say babies who are breastfed often grow up to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol as adults. They are also less likely to be overweight and have type two diabetes. And that's the VOA Special English Health Report. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 04Aug2010)