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Breastfeeding in Asia: Why Asian Women Breastfeed

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Breast feeding in Asia
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Breastfeeding a baby is a natural and healthy choice for moms. There are many benefits to breastfeeding, including protection from certain types of cancer, increased intelligence, and even better health outcomes for the child. For women in Asia, breastfeeding has an added benefit: it can help moms heal faster. Many Asian cultures prioritize breastfeeding because it’s seen as the best way to bond with your baby and increase milk supply. Here, are some reasons why breastfeeding is important for mothers in Asia.

The Importance of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding in Asia is sometimes compared to waterboarding (waterbirth?) in North America. Many women in the US stop breastfeeding within one month, or are discouraged by health professionals. In contrast, many Asian women continue to nurse their babies until the child is 12 to 13 months old.In Asia, baby formula is the main form of nutrition for infants. However, breast milk is much better than formula, because it has a much higher iron content and vitamins. Therefore, in many Asian countries, babies who are exclusively breastfed will have an advantage in learning to speak and read early, since they are growing up with an increased knowledge of the environment and better nutrition.In some Asian countries, like China, Vietnam and Korea, breastfeeding rates are higher than the US.

Why Asian Mothers Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding provides mothers with the nourishment their babies need. As well as a healthier baby, moms can also avoid painful mastitis, a painful infection, and stomach upsets. Many Asian mothers are breastfed, in countries where there is a strong culture of breastfeeding and supportive governments, which enables mothers to stay home with their children rather than leaving them in child care centers.Asian women often lactate early and find it difficult to get enough milk from expressing. In many countries, local women would breastfeed their children, but they wouldn’t keep up the milk supply. This was not acceptable, as it would take away opportunities to earn income, which they couldn’t afford. In response, a large community effort was made to support breastfeeding.

What Are the Benefits for Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding protects against breast cancer.This may be the number one reason Asian women breastfeed. A new study found that mothers who breastfeed have lower rates of breast cancer later in life, compared to those who don’t. Breastfeeding also helps reduce risks of other cancers and puts the immune system into high gear, all while providing an easy way for a mom to bond with her baby.

Increases milk supply

As a new mom, you may need to express milk several times throughout the day to ensure you can feed your baby and keep up your milk supply. Breastfeeding can help increase your milk supply because it releases hormones called prolactin and estrogen. Prolactin stimulates the liver to produce more milk.Breastfeeding also helps women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome.

Health Benefits for Mothers and Babies

If you plan to breastfeed, the benefits don’t stop at baby health. Mother’s mental and physical health are also often enhanced after the introduction of breastfeeding. These benefits include:• Improved ability to manage stress• Increased ability to handle blood sugar• Less chance of developing hypertension• Greater concentration in the mother• Less chance of developing certain kinds of cancer• Greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care• Greater likelihood of meeting other basic needs, such as housing and transportationYour baby’s health is important to everyone, but particularly important for Asian moms, because breast milk offers mothers the most powerful alternative to provide their babies’ first source of nutrition.

The Bond Between Mother and Baby

Breastfeeding can strengthen the bond between mother and baby and allow the mother to regain more energy after birth. Here are just a few reasons why a mom may want to breastfeed her baby for up to 6 months:It provides some needed relief for the mother from the pain of delivery,It’s easier for a baby to eat and digest,It protects your baby from infection,Breastfeeding helps to maintain a baby’s weight, andBreastfeeding can increase breast milk production in the mother,It can help the mother to deal with thrush,It can give mom a chance to build a positive relationship with her baby,It can help prevent ovarian cancer, andIt reduces infant mortality.


There is a lot that Asian women experience as they breastfeed in their cultures. Understanding why this choice is important to the moms and their babies will help everyone be more supportive.Do you think Asian moms should be allowed to nurse in public in America? Would you be uncomfortable if your child was hungry and there were other babies in a public place? What would you say if an Asian woman breastfed in front of you?Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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