About breastfeeding

你們 好=Hello everyone!

Here I am sitting in my dormitory room and drinking bubble milk tea. Bubble milk tea is a typical Taiwanese tea drink that people here loves (usually served cold). What makes it special are the “bubbles” aka chewy (someone might say slimy) tapioka balls in the bottom of the drink that you can chew while drinking the delicious milk tea. I have came to conclusion that people here likes to chew jelly textured things in their foods, snacks and drinks. Another example of that is moachi that is a very chewy, almost like gum textured, snack made of rice flour. Interesting differences, but I guess these snacks for locals are like salmiakki for Finnish people. So good, but so weird for foreigners!

So for today’s topic I want to write about breastfeeding. In Finland I have learned that breastfeeding is the most important issue after world peace and global warming (just joking…). As a soon to be midwife I completely  understand the benefits of breastfeeding and support it totally since it’s the most natural thing to do.

As far as I know, in Taiwan nurses and doctors seems to encourage all mothers to breastfeeding just like in Finland. A major difference is that in Taiwan mothers have only one month of maternity vacation  after giving birth as a part of the Chinese tradition. The one month “vacation” after delivery includes e.g. rest, staying warm and eating some traditional Chinese foods. New mother should avoid all the housework and cooking during that time and usually grandmother and mother in law will prepare the traditional dishes for the new mother.

After one month, most mothers will go back to work. Therefore it is extremely important to teach all postpartum women how to express breast milk by hand and how to use a breast milk pump. Also preserving the breast milk in refrigerator and freezer is important information for parents. One day I saw another nurse at the hospital using breast milk pump by herself during a lunch brake. She told me that she has a two months old baby at home…  I feel privileged to live in a country that has the worlds longest maternity leave.

Public breastfeeding is still an issue for some people in Finland since they tend to forget the true purpose of woman breasts, feeding the infant. Still there are many women breastfeeding in public and I think that’s good. In Taiwan, public breastfeeding is still a taboo. Women here are extremely self-conscious about their bodies and breastfeeding is very private thing between mother and a child. Still I feel that the breastfeeding is supported everywhere in Taiwan. That is because in every public places like hospitals, MRT stations, shopping malls, train stations and even in post office there is usually a place called “breastfeeding room”. The room is for one or multiple woman (separated with curtains) and it offers a comfortable chair to sit and feed and a diaper changing station for baby.

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