A record-breaking effort to promote breast-feeding - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A record-breaking effort to promote breast-feeding

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Two dozen women and their children gathered on the front lawn of Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh Friday. But they weren't there for a picnic; they were there to help set a world record.

The Big Latch On is a worldwide effort to promote breast-feeding and to show communitywide support for nursing moms and babies.

"I don't think enough people take it seriously," said Ana Belair of Plattsburgh. "They don't have the right idea about it."

The World Health Organization recommends mothers exclusively breast-feed for the first six months of their child's life, and then gradually introduce them to other foods. According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just under 50 percent of mothers in the United States breast-feed their children. It's estimated only one-quarter breast-feeds at 12 months.

"I think it's important to show it's normal. It happens," said Nani Sheats of New Burn, N.C.

Studies have shown people who were breast-fed have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and have lower rates of obesity.

"Breast-feeding babies come in much less often for colds, ear infections, viral infections, ear infections, gastroenteritis," said Dr. Anthony Ching of CVPH.

The percentage of mothers who breast-feed is much higher in some other countries. Organizers of Friday's worldwide event say part of the reason for the low percentage in the U.S. is because breast-feeding in public is sometimes frowned upon.

"I think we have our own little stigmas about baring breasts," said Maria Hayes, the director of the Women and Children Service Line at CVPH.

Mothers participating in Friday's event hope to gain support not just for breast-feeding, but feeding their children in public as well.

"Better health for the baby," Belair said. "It saves a big expense as well."

An idea that these mothers hope our country will latch on to.

Last year, more than 5,600 women in five countries participated in the Big Latch On.

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