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June 9, 1999
American Mothers To Solve Breast Feeding Problems With Some Help From India
Alysha Sideman in Philadelphia
For thousands of mothers in America who are worried that their babies find it difficult to drink milk off their breasts, a study and workshop conducted at a hospital here could provide an alternative -- and relief.
Many mothers have watched with agony as the little ones find it difficult to make lips at their breasts. For mothers who believe in breast feeding, this indeed causes a big problem -- and for the baby, frustration and loss of natural protein-rich milk from its mother.
But now many mothers are lifting a stainless cup -- called paladai in southern India -- to the lips of the child. The cup is filled with their own breast milk, freshly pumped.
The mothers are taught by a coach to use the cup gently -- and be very, very patient with the babies who will have to learn to get used to the cup.
Over 300 newborns in the Philadelphia area enrolled in the a clinical trial which was in the works for over six months. The experiment, which also involves four other hospitals in Philadelphia, is being overseen by Dr Vinod Bhutani, a pediatrician at Pennsylvania Hospital and professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
"We would like to prove that we can move babies faster to the breast with the paladai than with the bottle," said Bhutani in an interview.
The study will also track how long it takes the babies to breast-feed, how much weight they gain at one month and any negative experiences.
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