One Way of Learning

Adjusting to a new baby and beginning breastfeeding is different for everyone. Each person has his or her way of handling change and of learning.

When I meet a mother for the first time, I need to figure out what works so that she is comfortable. It’s really helpful when someone tells me  “I do better with lists” or “I need visual aids.” I also do my best to clearly explain my answers.

There are many things that make a consult more effective and helpful. Here is one story.

I used to do lactation consultations for an Early Intervention (E.I) program. Through this organization I was able to meet families whom I would not have easily met otherwise. I was glad to contribute to the team of midwives, social workers and interpreters.

One afternoon I went to do a consultation for an E.I client, a new mother with a three-month-old baby. She knew three languages: Hindi, English and another. I am fluent only in English. Therefore, an interpreter came with me.

As I answered the mother’s questions and the interpreter explained them, it seemed to be working. However, I could tell the interpreter wasn’t familiar with breastfeeding. I wanted to make sure my breastfeeding advice was clear and totally understood.

Thankfully, with the benefit of our phones and the Internet, I could show them an entirely appropriate video, in Hindi, from Global Health Media Project.

You could almost hear the gears click in the two women’s minds. They loved the video. “Oh, that makes so much sense!” the interpreter told me. It was a happy moment. So happy that we got to ‘talking’ and sharing Bangra dance moves. (The interpreter is also a Bangra dance teacher.) Our time was almost up yet the mother wanted us to stay for her special tea.

Multilingual videos like that are invaluable resources. The explanation of the breastfeeding question was clearer to the mom and the interpreter. It was a productive visit for all and we wrapped it up with a song and a dance.

(You can donate to Global Health Media. Their videos cover many health topics in almost fifty languages.)

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