If this doesn't describe the Hong Kong mom scene...
- 04-17-2009, 03:29 PM #9Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
- Tsuen Wan
Very interesting discussion indeed. I read the first page of the article and then skimmed your post MLBW and I get the gist of it all (sorry short on time, must BF soon;))- but one thing that strikes me, and this can be said of anything. It`s subjective, everything is. The article is a personal commentary. the author went out of her way, and then some, to find the answers she was kind of hoping to find. For all research, there is counter research. Experiments are done, theories formed, then the next day another refutes it and sets out to prove it. So, you can easily find the other side to any story if you are willing to look. And considering the author was a slave to BF, it`s amazing she had the time to do all this investigating, hehe:)
For me, as you already know, I support BFing. Not bc it`s cool or hip or whatever. I wasn`t BF, 100% formula, and look how I turned out! But for my baby, I really wanted to do it. I admit it, the *free* argument really rings true with me. I don`t have to buy expensive cans of formula all the time, bottles, this nipple, that nipple bc baby rejects it. I have *free* time more than if I were bottle feeding - I don`t have to worry about washing and sterilising bottles all the time, heating them up, etc. And in the middle of the night? I don`t want to heat up a bottle. I just plop bubs on and that`s it. So my precious time is being preserved from the convenience of BFing.
Sure, it ties me down a bit. But in the end, it`s a small price to pay for me.
I have heard horror stories of people being told off in HK for BFing in public. I haven`t experienced that yet. I am almost waiting for that day, bc then they will have an eyeful of breastmilk.
Having said that, when I BF in public, I actually feel a bit ghetto, like I`m some poor mom who can`t afford to feed her baby. It`s funny how that perception came about. And it probably makes me a bit more defensive about it. Hence, the eyeful of BM.
I think it`s wonderful that all my baby needs for now comes right from my body. It wasn`t easy, it`s one of the hardest things to do for your baby after it`s born and you have to be really committed to be successful (unless your baby`s a natural like some boast). Until now there are still little problems with our feeding sometimes, but we get through it. And when it is no longer a viable option, or it`s time to move on, then I will do so.
I don`t have the experience of being in Canada with my baby (yet - next month I will), so I don`t know what people`s reactions will be to my public BFing. but I don`t see what the big deal is - just put a scarf over yourself, and you can`t see anything.
I think it`s a bit disappointing here though, to see how much formula feeding is pushed in the hospitals and by doctors. They GIVE you free formula when you leave the hospital. Many nurses and midwives are not so supportive or knowledgeable about it after your baby is born. And when the going gets tough, which it inevitably often does, then new mothers don`t feel confident and supported to continue. My own husband told me to give the baby formula on more than one occasion, despite my telling him how much BFing was important to me; my MIL rocked up with 3 packs of `superior` Japanese formula when she came to visit - they are still sitting in the cupboard, unopened.
Also, when I BF in public, I actually feel a bit ghetto, like I`m some poor mom who can`t afford to feed her baby. It`s funny how that perception came about.
Anyway, to sum up:
-any research is easily refutable with the means
-I like breastfeeding
Last edited by Shenzhennifer; 04-17-2009 at 03:33 PM.
- 04-17-2009, 05:14 PM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
- Hong Kong
I agree, it doesn't describe the HK expat scene at all. In my group, there is an equal number of BF and formula fed. No eyebrows raised. Good post, Shenzhennifer. Right now, I am struggling to introduce formula and I have as much support with that as I had when I was struggling with numerous problems with breast feeding. I wonder on some level you are seeking comfort for having been made to feel guilty, MLBW. Hope you are not putting pressure on yourself and if not then, forget those who made you feel so.
I find it amazing why this debate is even out there- only in rich countries I suppose. Once we swing one way(looking down upon BF) then the other (looking down upon formula). Atleast in India I found, BF is without fanfare and so was formula feeding and I was really glad for it.
- 04-18-2009, 01:40 PM #11Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
I only read part of the article but I have got the gist of it from the summary.
I have pondered over the BF topic when trying to decide what which way of feeding I would choose.
From reading threads on choosing hospital, I feel that most of expact mums opt for BFing and complaining about how some hospital in Hongkong not be supportive of it.
Subjectively, I thought I was make to feel I wasn't not considerate enough to think of BF issue when recommending the hospital I go without including how convenient is for mothers to BF there.
But like many of you said, I think Bfing is to do with mother's personal choice. Either way the mother chooses, it should not be regarded as less a mother.
My sister and I were all breastfed by my mother. My mother worked full time and my grandmother helped to take care of us. But my mother now is suggesting strongly that I would formula feed my baby who is due in June. She said she breastfed us because she had no other choice. And she felt quite unwell during the whole time of breast feeding. In the old days in Mainland China, there wasn't milk formula available. (Today's worried is that formula available here is not safe for babies) She thinks formula feeding first help the mother to nurse back her health sooner after delivery (can eat things that is good for health but no worried about affecting the milk and can have a good night sleep when there is a helper). Of course, mothers are not tied up to the child feeding formula.
I guess in the Guangdong in general, people are not biased against either way. But I rarely see mothers Bf in public. I figure it's not very acceptable to do so.
Most relatives in my family choose formula feed although many of the mothers do work full time. (making trips to get formulas in HongKong like many Mainlanders do).
Being a first time mum, naturally, I choose breastfeeding to see how it would work out for me. But I wouldn't fell guilty if I have to bring in formula later.
- 04-18-2009, 05:35 PM #12Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Let's Stop the Guilt!
I think that the writer of the article feels the need to vent because she wasn't big enough to stand up to people who made her feel bad about not wanting to breastfeed. If she really hated breastfeeding she should have just stopped it! That is a much better option than resenting her baby.
We mums are made to feel so guilty about the choices we make. It's about time that we learned to stand up for ourselves and stop feeling guilty. As long as we are happy that the decisions we have made are in the best interests of our family unit (i.e. the baby, the baby's siblings, mum and dad) then it shouldn't matter what other people think!
The guilt response comes into play in all sorts of circumstances - i.e. whether mum chooses to have a c-section, whether mum chooses pain relief at the birth, whether the baby is fed organic food, plastic or glass bottles etc etc.
At the moment I am 33 weeks pregnant and getting a lot of guilt trips from my work colleagues. i.e. they literally gasped in shock that I had a cup of Chinese tea at a lunch banquet (the caffeine!!!!), that I drink cold drinks, that I eat bananas (!!), and that I wear either high heels or flats (apparently I should only wear a certain specified heel height - no higher, no lower) and that I am working (3 days per week in a job that requires no physical labour!).
Any sensible person knows that if we followed every little comment made by the "guilt inducers" we would put ourselves on bed rest as soon as we got pregant, breastfeed our babies until they were three, never leave baby with our trusted helper so we can get a sleep in, never "force" our husbands to resettle them at night when we are tired, feed them only vegetables that we had organically grown ourselves and meat that we had personally watched being slaughtered, keep them away from playgroups to avoid colds, wash all of their clothes by hand in special washing power, never let them crawl except on a floor that we had personally disinfected, never let them watch TV (autism!!), never return to a career we might really enjoy...the list could go on and on. As MLBW says "reality begs to differ". I really think that this culture of "total parenting" that is so pervasive in the popular media is really wrong and, in part, contributes to post natal depression because mothers feel that, whatever they do, it isn't enough.
For the record, I chose to breastfeed my baby. I was heavily influenced by the World Health Organisation guidelines that recommend breastfeeding for at least 6 months. As one of the other posters said it is a great feeling to watch your baby grow and know that you are producing all that they need be healthy. Close friends of mine formula fed and their babies are just as happy and healthy as mine - it's a personal choice.
- 04-18-2009, 10:49 PM #13Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
- Pokfulam Hong Kong
...and sometimes it isn't a personal choice.
my triplets were born at 26w at queen mary hospital. i didn't hold them until they were one month old, and despite papaya fish soup, several types of lactation teas, massages, warm cloths, when just pumping my supply (never great, i also have pcos) dwindled away at around 6 weeks. probably the stress.
i would have loved to have breastfed them for longer.
many people were extremely kind, but even then, there were those who suggested or right out stated that the babies might have come home sooner if i had managed to "stick it out". or the classic comment, "and they need every iq point they can get, what with being so early and all!"
it wasn't a hong kong "thing" though. i got similar comments from north american and hk friends.
vent, sad memory and guilt...over.
- 04-19-2009, 02:27 AM #14MLBW Guest
Suv, I did note in an earlier response that the first paragraphs do describe the scene here (what I've been exposed to) to some extent as the comparisons that go on (toys and strollers etc.)--go back and take a look if you like.
I find it strange that there are numerous posts on this site proclaiming all the health benefits (which have not been proven and have inconclusive findings backing them up) of BFing and people will go on and on about how great it is (and for them it is--but that could just be placebo effect--something is good because you believe it is) but I post one lone article bringing up the contrary argument and it is a big "no no."
If you read the article it is only saying to examine the evidence and not believe the hype and don't feel so proud that you're breastfeeding as if it were the cure all for everything (or like you really missed out--as someone mentioned they felt they had because they couldn't breastfeed longer--because you bottle fed) because it's not--but there are many examples of people speaking as if it were--I could find hundreds on this site alone. It's just saying "What does the research REALLY say?" Not "How has the research been spun to fit a particular sets beliefs?"
Actually, this article was very vindicating for me because I really get tired of the breastfeeding culture that surrounds me (where I'm from) and how "into" it the ladies who do it are (it's kinda cultish in some cases)--they have a club that they go to that is totally based around breastfeeding. There aren't any clubs based around bottle feeding. It's just kinda this exalted practice that doesn't need to be that way--and with some people it approaches a religious fervor. I heard it referred to once as being "Lactivists."
So, naturally breastfeeding women throw out the concessionary "Don't feel guilty if you can't breastfeed" (note that they say "can't breastfeed" usually not "don't like breastfeeding" or "will not breastfeed" or "choose to formula feed" and the tone of that is "Anyone in their right mind would want to breastfeed if they could.") But all the other conversation that surrounds it is so absorbed and focused on breastfeeding that how can you NOT feel out of place and guilty when all the popularly published information on breastfeeding (not the full studies that tell you the real facts without spin) really does laud it as this overwhelmingly better alternative to bottle feeding. And the published material, as the article points out, by LLL etc. has gotten even more "in-your-face" over the years.
So, as I was saying, yes, this article was vindicating for me--for the stuff I've had to listen to and be surrounded by--both here and at home. I don't mind having a different opinion than other women ever and I don't need an article to post my opinion (I'm not afraid if you don't like me, actually--just another odd quirk about me--I'd rather be real and not liked than fake and liked, y'know?) and this article nicely supports my case--the only one I've ever read that does because well, popular media lauds breastfeeding right now.
And the reason why I posted it is because I'm guessing I'm not the only one on this site who would gain some information from it. I am officially done with any type of guilt trip or even caring that I bottle fed my baby because it's equal to breastfeeding him and not just in my eyes. This is very liberating.
- 04-19-2009, 02:39 AM #15MLBW Guest
Of course research is subjective--especially breastfeeding research for the reasons outlined in the article. And that is EXACTLY what the author was saying. The research concerning the benefits etc. of breastfeeding have sort of been "hijacked" by those who are bound and determined to promote it. This is the first article that gave the other side of the story that I have ever read--which makes it remarkable as I have read a to on breastfeeding before baby and then during "the time of breastfeedng tribulation" as I refer to it as.
The lady didn't use the research to say that breastfeeding is less superior than bottle feeding (as BFing advocates do concerning bottle feeding)--she simply stated the evidence--when viewed in an overall fashion is inconclusive and the points where it draws a clear conclusion the health benefits aren't as "staggering" as the LLL books (sorry, but they are the ones I'm familiar with) claim. I mean, one less tiny bout with diahrea (non-harmful--just a case of "the runs") in 1 child in 100 who is breastfed isn't exactly earth shattering. I've heard even LLL leaders talk like breastmilk is equivalent with the fountain of youth--it will cure the blind and raise the dead (not quite that extreme but they o do believe that it can cure eye infections--I'd say a bottle of saline solution would do your eye just as much good).
- 04-19-2009, 02:53 AM #16MLBW Guest
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