Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In The News : Breastfeeding Boosts Smarts as Babies Grow, Study Finds

"The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests exclusive breastfeeding for six months after birth before adding food, and that mothers continue to nurse until their child is at least 1 year old." Easier said that done, but so worth it in the end. I breastfed my Lina until she was 15 months. I would like to think that she is better off because of this. However, this was a personal preference and in no way a slight towards those parents that chose not to breastfeed. 

Breastfed kids are smarter, according to a Harvard University study that found the longer babies are nursed, the greater their intelligence.

The research, which followed more than 1,000 women and their babies, found that each additional month a child was breastfed resulted in better language skills at 3 years old and intelligence at age 7, compared with babies not breastfed. The findings are published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests exclusive breastfeeding for six months after birth before adding food, and that mothers continue to nurse until their child is at least 1 year old. Photographer: Ebby May/Getty Images
The study is one of the largest to look at the role of breastfeeding on a child’s intelligence, the authors said. It also underscores the need to support mothers in the workplace and in public to enable them to breastfeed their babies during the first year of life, said Dimitri Christakis, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal.
“With this we can close the book and decide there is a link between child breastfeeding and intelligence,” said Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, a pediatric medical research center, in a July 26 telephone interview. “The fact that breastfeeding really promotes cognition in our children is something we should all care about. It takes a village to breastfeed a child. We should take the actions necessary not to just initiate breastfeeding but to sustain it.”
Still, breastfeeding is not the only contributing factor to intelligence, said Mandy Belfort, the lead study author and a neonatologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
“It’s important to point out that breastfeeding is just one factor that influences a child’s intelligence,” Belfort said in a July 26 interview. “Our results shouldn’t make parents feel bad for the choice they have made.”
Doctor Recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests exclusive breastfeeding for six months after birth before adding food, and that mothers continue to nurse until their child is at least 1 year old.
In the U.S., about 77 percent of women whose babies were born in 2009 started breastfeeding when their child was born, that number dropped to 47 percent at 6 months of age and 26 percent at 12 months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s not known how breast milk benefits intelligence, Belfort said. It may be nutrients in the milk help the developing brain or the way mom and baby interact during breastfeeding, she said. More studies are needed to better understand the relationship.
‘Scientific Basis’
“I hope our findings provide a scientific basis for women to make choices about not only whether to breastfeed or not, but for how long to continue breastfeeding,” she said.
Belfort said parents also should speak to their babies, including newborns, and expose them to a lot of language to help promote language development.
Researchers in the study followed more than 1,000 pregnant women and their babies until the children were age 7. After controlling for maternal intelligence, they found that IQ scores for 7 year olds increased by about one-third of a point for every month of breastfeeding. That means a 7-year-old child who was breastfed as a baby for 12 months would score four points higher on intelligence tests than a child who was never breastfed, Belfort said.
There was no association between breastfeeding and visual motor skills or visual memory, the authors said.
The findings also hinted that children’s intelligence benefited when their moms ate more fish while breastfeeding then those who ate less fish, but the results weren’t statistically significant, Belfort said.
“Individual women should use this as one further incentive to breastfeed their children,” Christakis said.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Ostrow in New York at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Playing Catch-up on the Blog

To my little Lina<3...

It has been a  very long time since Mommy wrote to you on your blog. I apologize for that, we had so much things going on in the last two months or so. Although I have not written anything, you are continuing to enjoy everything, each day has to offer. So let's play catch-up. 

Mommy has been back to since April, and you spend three days with PorPor (grandmother in Cantonese) and sometimes with GongGong (grandfather in Cantonese) when he is not working. The past two months, you love going to park and playing, getting comfortable in PorPor's neighborhood, you have learned many things, and you are being potty trained. 

You are learning Chinese due to increase conversations with your grandparents, and Mommy speaking to you in Chinese as often as possible to you. Your first Cantonese word was "gaau gaau" on May 10, 2013 which means to sleep. You repeated after me, during dinner, after I said "if you are finishing eating, it is time to 'fan gaau gaau' (to fall asleep in Cantonese)." it was so cute, you just said so clearly which surprised Mommy. Now you have learned more Cantonese, you know how to say ‘maa maa and baa baa’  (mother and father in Cantonese), ‘mat mat’ (meaning socks and you loves to point to your feet or put your foot up when you says it or hear that word), ‘maat’ (meaning to wipe/ to rub, and actually does the wiping motion when you hear the word), ‘ji ji’ (meaning sister), ‘go go’ (meaning brother), “gaai gaai’  (meaning to go outside), ‘bo bo’ ball, ‘aap aap’ (meaning duck), PorPor and GongGong (meaning grandmother and grandfather), ‘naai naai’ (meaning milk), ‘baak sik’ (meaning white), ‘ce ce’ (meaning car), ‘maau maau’ (meaning cat), ‘waa’ (meaning wow), and ‘du du’ (Mandarin pinyin meaning beep beep). That is all Mommy can remember for now :)  You know most of your body parts in Chinese, such as head, eyes, mouth, ear, hair, nose, hands, buttocks, and feet. Whenever Mommy or your grandparents names the body parts for you in Chinese, you point to each body part. You understand a lot more than you are able to verbalize.  I love watching as you learn.

You are also learning a lot in English;  saying more words, even putting two words together. Each day is a learning experience and you are saying more words; such as mama, dada, no, duck, ball, go go, up, doll, box, bear, dog, a word that sounds like mouth, nose, book, block, black, bad, buh bye, more, shh, boo boo (bruises), egg, hat, uh oh, and car. Your favorite words are buh bye, no more, up, mama, baba, bad, and ball. There is a awareness of what each word is, like you would wave your hand when you say buh bye, or when you say shh, you would hold your finger to your mouth. Mommy knows the word bad may not be a good word to teach you,but I guess I say it often enough that you just picked it up. Whenever you fall down because you were running too fast, you would say “waa waaa'” (as if you were in pain or had hurt yourself) and Mommy always comes to you, and make sure you are okay, hug and kisses, and say to floor where you fell down, bad, and it would make you feel better. This morning, you said "no more" it was so cute when I had said that there was no more cereal, you just repeated "no more".  This happened in the car on the way to PorPor’s house. Body parts, you know in English, and points to each one as it is being named. The body parts that you know  are head, hair, eyes, nose, ear, mouth, neck, shoulder ( just started that a few days ago), nippy (for breasts, lol), belly, back, buttocks, vagina, legs, arms, hands, feet, legs, toes/piggies.  Mommy is showing you where your ankles, knees, and heart are but you have not grasp those body parts yet. 

Learning through play is my motto. My little Lina<3 knows how to sort shapes, even some times with great frustration when you are unable to sort it properly or takes too long.  You are also learning how to match colors together with puzzle from Mellissa and Doug Fish Colors Mix and Match Peg Puzzle, the numbers with Melissa and Doug See Inside Numbers Wooden Peg Puzzle, and the alphabets with Melissa and Doug See Inside Alphabet Puzzle. At times you like to color, you have develop so much with the coloring. In the beginning of December 2012, you would just hold the jumbo crayon on the tip on your fingers and make little marks on the paper, or coloring books. Now you are actually coloring, holding the jumbo crayon better (pictures to come…). The lullabies that you like are “twinkle, twinkle little stars”, “hush a bye baby”, and “ you are my sunshine”. Mommy usually sing to you at sleepy time.

We will discuss food and more playtime at the next time. As you have developed a lot in those two areas!  Mommy is so proud of my little Lina<3. 
Mommy also has a big announcement …shhh…


P.S. All the Cantonese Jyutping comes from this website :
It was extemely helpful to me.