- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 2, 2000

Research has proved time and again that breast-fed babies have an advantage. Taking sustenance from mom gives little ones numerous benefits, ranging from a stronger immune system and fewer ear infections to possibly a higher IQ and less chance of obesity.

Considering that about 50 percent of mothers are choosing to feed their children exclusively this way, a cyber-stop has arrived to give mom an incredible amount of help.

Breastfeeding.com

Site address: www.breastfeeding.com

Creator:

Joan and Victor Babbitt live in Superior, Colo., with their two young daughters. The couple combined their breast-feeding experience and business expertise to start Breastfeeding.com in 1998.

Creator quotable:

"When I first started nursing my second daughter, I searched the Internet for breast-feeding information and found few Web sites that catered to nursing moms," says Mrs. Babbitt, president of Breastfeeding.com. "We set out to create a site that not only provides information, but offers nursing moms a cyberspace meeting place where they can support, encourage and learn from one another."

Word from the Webwise:

Of all the instincts a new parent has, the desire to adequately feed a child is one of the strongest. For first-time parents, trying to breast-feed successfully can be one of the most difficult aspects of life with baby.

The site gives lactating moms and confused dads the answers they need for breast-feeding confidence through a series of news articles, helpful topics and fun features that include video clips, question areas and a nationwide directory of lactation consultants.

Breast-feeding is an emotional issue for many, and new parents need facts and information. While my son may be getting the proper nutrition he needs now, in the beginning, we were encouraged by a variety of people from nurses in the hospital to family members to "at least supplement" my son's diet with formula. We had no idea whether this was the right course to follow.

Had I known about this relatively new site, my wife and I would have been armed with knowledge from the great insights found in "The Right Start" section of the Web site. This section, broken into three segments what to do before birth, at the birth and after the birth comes filled with the numerous things mom can do to promote successful breast-feeding.

For example, once my wife came home with the new member of our family, a simple homeopathic breast-milk production aid, fenugreek, came to the rescue. Available in tea form, this medicinal herb was used by the early Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, and it was one of the main ingredients in the popular 19th-century female cure-all, Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound.

Visitors will learn about this herbal wonder in a news article about fenugreek. After reading about the herb, check out the listing of related articles and enjoy Lisa Leider's article about her breast-feeding experience in "I am Woman, Hear Me Moo."

Another issue we dealt with in my family was the baffling answers my wife got with every question she asked the experts. We did not know whom to trust.

Breastfeeding.com relies on a medical advisory board that contributes to the content and focus of the pages. The board's members are among the leading experts on the topics presented. They come from a wide range of professions, including obstetrics, pediatrics, nutrition, nursing and public health.

Just look at the feature "Higher IQ," which discusses whether breast-milk-fed babies become smarter individuals. It is supported by two articles, one from Reuters News Agency and the other from the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as a listing of study references. The section offers a well-researched look at the subject.

Creating a community for breast-feeding moms, other sections of the site offer shopping, message boards and chat rooms. For visitors who want to express themselves creatively, the site accepts articles and anecdotes as well as photos of families.

Though the site presents numerous areas to explore, a final stop should be the "Advocacy" section. This area highlights news from around the world about breast-feeding moms who have been harassed and sometimes injured. Additionally, look for on-line advice for women who want to work while breast-feeding and get support through reading about other mothers' experiences and their often quick-witted responses to the witless.

One complaint about the site is the lack of content devoted to women who want to breast-feed but, for whatever reason, can't. It would be nice to see suggestions on how mothers can still develop that "special bond" with baby or inspirational stories on how women found breast-feeding success with second children or even healthy alternatives such as organic, soy-based products to grocery-store formulas.

Ease of use: The site claims the average visitor spends at least one hour visiting Breastfeeding.com, and I believe it. Colorful icons with an extremely clean design and related article listings make it easy to continue reading.

Don't miss:

I was captivated by the abundance of diagrams and videos demonstrating how the glands produce and deliver breast milk to my son. My wife, on the other hand, would have benefited greatly from the video archives filled with clips on subjects ranging from latching on to how to hold the baby while feeding.

Information grade: A-

Have a cool site about science or health for the family? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail (joseph@twtmail.com).

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