Thoughts on Breastfeeding Requirement Law – Guest Post

I told you I had more guest posts coming! Jane is a good friend of mine, we met in a Facebook group that several mommas from the November 2012 Birth Club created while we were pregnant with our November babies! Jane’s daughter is just a few days younger than Bubby and she is ADORABLE! I’ve really enjoyed learning about her life in Japan and have learned much from her breastfeeding struggles and journey early in her daughter’s life. Read on! 

Hello Sarah’s family, friends, and fans! My name is Jane and I am an American married to a Japanese man living in Japan.  I used to be quite the blogger but since becoming a mom that has fallen a bit to the wayside.  However I am hoping this will help me get back into it.

When volunteering to do a guest blog I knew that I wanted to talk about raising a child in a foreign country, but also knew that what I wanted to write would take up a whole book.  There are so many things that are so different here, so many things that are so much better here, and so many things that are so much weirder here when it comes to raising a child.  I can definitely relate to the author of Bringing Up Bebe.

However, the night before I was going to send this to Sarah an article appeared on my Baby Center Birth Board and I totally switched gears.  There is a good chance that by the time this gets blogged that you, the readers, will have already read about this and might be tired of it, but I can’t help but weigh in on the subject.  It is a subject that strikes quite a nerve for me as it is something I struggled with immensely.  The subject is breastfeeding and the article is about the new law in The United Arab Emirates that makes it a requirement for woman to breastfeed for two years.  HERE is the article. It basically states that women will be required to breastfeed and that those who cannot will be provided with wet nurses.  Husbands will be allowed to sue their own wives for failure to breastfeed.

Now on one hand, I get it.  I think that there needs to be a bigger push for breastfeeding.  I myself ended up a FF mom to my baby but not for lack of support from the Japanese government.  In Japan health care is socialized and you are pretty much fully covered for the birth of your child.  Not only are you covered for delivery, but it is also a rule that women stay in the hospital for a week after the baby is born.  During that week you are constantly aided by nurses in BABY 101.  For second time mothers, the time is seen as a week of relaxation before returning to homes and other children.  Every time I attempted nursing a nurse or LC was with me, helping me to latch, showing me how to self-express my milk, and basically informing me of things to look for.  After I returned home I had house visits from city hall by nurses who were basically there to offer with whatever assistance I needed as a new mother.  The push and support for breastfeeding was quite strong.

Unfortunately for me, my daughter would not latch.  I now believe it is due to a strong lip-tie but at the time we assumed it was due to flat nipples ( I had visited an LC while 7 months pregnant and she had made a big issue of it- something I had never noticed before).  In the hospital they finally were able to get her to latch with a certain nipple shield but unfortunately this particular nipple shield could not adequately “pump” my breasts.  The result was a SLOW release of milk which created nursing sessions of about three hours (you could see the milk pooling in the shield so LO was not comfort nursing, she was nursing).  It also meant that my supply came in but then slowly started dwindling.  Despite all of the help I personally gave up.  When we would get the home visits I would lie about my nursing progress and then would go back to formula when the nurse was gone.  As with so many things in life, you can’t cheat at breastfeeding and expect it to work.  My supply dwindled, baby preferred the faster flow of the bottles, and despite feeling an immense guilt, I was relieved to be able to feed her in a shorter time frame.  We both became happier and in the end it turned out to be the best thing for us.

Despite not succeeding in the end, I am extremely thankful for the “push” Japan gave me and I wish that American mothers could have the same.  That is where I can relate to the article and see some of the logic behind it.  In America hospital stays are extremely short.  While I know a lot of moms enjoy being able to go home and recover in a familiar environment, I feel that the support I got by being at a Japanese hospital was helpful and could be extremely beneficial to new mothers.  So often moms are sent home the day after birth with little to no support on taking care of a baby in general, let alone breastfeeding.  Also in America we have a ridiculous system in place for maternity leave.  A lot of parents just can’t afford life on one income, so mothers that are champion nursers are sent back to work where they must pump or wean.

However, where I find myself at complete odds with the idea of making breastfeeding “the law” is that it 100% takes away the choice of the mother.  In my situation, I already f

Now I have talked enough.  I would love to have everyone read the article and post their thoughts.  And please feel free to challenge my view/dispute my opinions.  Who knows, maybe if this law had been in place my daughter would still be bf?  And if you are curious about parenting in Japan (and other random thoughts) my blog is .


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