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Lately we have encountered a number of clients who have experienced problems while breastfeeding their children. You may be tempted to think that it was due to some physiological problem on the part of the mother or the child but you would be wrong. The greatest obstacle standing in the way of women successfully breastfeeding their children is not physiological but sociological. Most women with the desire and conviction to breastfeed their children in China will face opposition and if they are not adequately prepared, will almost certainly give up.

Proper Preparation

If you plan on breastfeeding your child, it is important that you prepare ahead of time. The day of birth should be one of the most happy days of your life. However, women are frequently not prepared for what awaits them once the glorious event occurs. After the birth of a child, mom’s hormones will be fluctuating, everyone’s emotions will be running high, husbands are usually outside of their comfort zones, and mom just wants to relax and hold her baby after successfully giving birth.

The obstacles to successfully breastfeeding your baby in China are significant and can be overwhelming because they come from places you least expect. People usually expect that hospital staff are there to help and to serve the patient. One would think that family members would be supportive of mommy’s wishes. It seems reasonable to expect your closest friends to support and encourage you in this very personal choice. The sad reality is that these expectations are quite frequently unmet. The greatest obstacle facing women who desire to breastfeed their child is based on the lack of proper knowledge, the absence of a firm conviction to act according to that knowledge in the face of extreme social opposition, and inadequate moral support from family members and friends.

Tools for Success

Prepare ahead of time and you will be much more likely to succeed. There is copious amounts of information available on the web for women who want to learn more about breastfeeding. The La Leche League is dedicated to helping women successfully breastfeed their children. We also offer personalized lactation help (contact us to learn more). Take advantage of this and read, take notes, do what ever you can to make sure you have a proper understanding of what to expect and how to breastfeed. Include your expectations for breastfeeding in your birth plan and discuss your wishes with your doctor. Be sure to talk about your desire to breastfeed with your husband and other family members well in advance of the delivery day. Inform your closest friends as well. Purchase a good quality breast pump that will be comfortable and become familiar with it ahead of time. Then, as long as there are no physiological issues impairing your ability to breastfeed, steel yourself with the conviction that you are going to breastfeed your baby and you will have the tools necessary to succeed at breastfeeding your baby.

Lisa Newsham BSRN, Doula
David Newsham BSME, Consultant