Having a baby? Breast is best

Just an FYI for those working on/planning babies:

Baby Formula Makers’ Actions (in N. America) Slammed

Recently there was a 5 day old baby in Belgium who died because of contaminated formula, and in April 2002, a study in the US showed that 14% of tins of formula were contaminated.

Has anyone ever noticed how many different kinds of formula are available in Taiwan? And how aggressive these formula companies are? I don’t know how they got my contact information but it had to have been provided to them by the hospital or someone who works there.

This is just an FYI. I don’t have anything against formula feeding moms but if I can influence someone’s choice then I’ll take every opportunity to do so.

My Taipei Baby

Yep, the hospital gave the pharma company your info, as it does for every woman who gives birth at their hospital. The hospitals get very handsome bribes – oops, of course I mean “money from the companies’ promotional budgets” to provide this kind of info.

Same goes for anyone going to a hospital (and many private doctors too, of course) for HRT, osteoporosis, the list goes on but you get the picture.

Its standard pharmaceutical company practice all over the world, but its not as bad as it has been in the recent past, especially in Taiwan, when the midwives, acting under the instructions of the pharma companies, would take the newborn away from the mother and feed it with formula.

Upon bringing the kid back to the mother, they’d tell her the kid had already been started on formula so she couldn’t change over to breast milk.

Neat trick that must have raked in a cool few million bucks over the years till it was stopped.

Thanks for sharing that Sandman. You’re right, it is done all over the world, but IMO the government should not even allow formula companies to advertise, and they certainly shouldn’t allow hospitals or doctors to profit by selling mailing lists. There are so many long term benefits of breastfeeding, too many to list here, but hopefully the government will see that encouraging breastfeeding will translate to healthier citizens with fewer diseases, which means savings in healthcare costs and increased productivity. There’s also research that shows that bfeeding results in slightly higher IQs, and we all know important achievement is here.

My Taipei Baby

At hospital the where my children were born, reps from the formula companies were stationed in the OB/GYN waiting rooms and accosted women waiting for their prenatal check-ups. Then again, that same hospital STRONGLY encouraged breast feeding.

… and dont forget the wonderful Nestle’s actions in the third world.


I do remember sitting in the waiting room and seeing people approaching others. I figured they were trying to sell something but didn’t know it was formula.

As for the telemarketers, my husband and I would say “no thank you, we’re going to breastfeed for at least 18 months”.

My Taipei Baby

18 months? Wow, their teeth get pretty sharp by then! Is there an advantage to going beyond a year?

It kinda feel like the formula comapanies and tobacco companies have somehting in common:

both smoking and formula was heavily endorsed in the US…smoking as “healthy” (30’s-40’s?) and formula as healthier than breast milk (more vitamins!). Then people realized that smoking causes cancer…formula lacks antibodies. Now we are encouraged NOT to smoke and to breast feed…cigerette and formula sales go down

So where do these companies go? overseas…pushing their products to the unaware…

formula does have it’s place…some women don’t produce milk.

Originally posted by Jennifer: As for the telemarketers, my husband and I would say "no thank you, [b]we're[/b] going to breastfeed for at least 18 months".

Jennifer, please, please can I come and watch the next time its your husband’s turn to breast feed, and can I bring my camera? The scientific world needs to see this!

Jennifer, i agree that breast fed is best, but not all women have that luxury as some cannot produce enough or in some cases none at all, therefore the option of formula is the only one left.
Also what about those women who have to return to work and cannot afford to be taking 18 months away, even if they still had a job to go back to?

In the US at least, it’s common for working mothers with infants to pump themselves during the day and store the milk for later breast-feeding.

Does anyone remember that hilarious MTV commercial with Madonna and Ben Stiller a few years back?

Jeff, beyond a year, there are mostly emotional benefits. But there are experts who say that as long as a child nurses, he still gets antibodies from mother’s milk. Nursing past a year is also great for bonding (especially if mother works full time–BTDT); when they’re ill and can’t keep food or other fluids down; when new teeth come in (it’s uncomfortable for them). Other reasons to continue past 1 year, but too much to mention here.

Sandman, you know what I meant when I said “we”. :slight_smile:

Geng, it really is very rare (based on what I’ve learned) for a woman to not produce enough milk. Sometimes it has to do with following a schedule instead of feeding on demand, other times it’s due to the stress. Other factors too, but I’ve never had a problem making milk. Nursed the second child for 3+ years; my third is nursing (yes, along with solids) at 15 months.

Traveller, a lot of women are told by their doctors (or nurses) that there’s no milk. Some women don’t know enough about bfeeding to know that it takes a few days for milk to come in (until then baby gets valuable colostrum). For some, it may even take as long as five days. You’d be surprised at how many medical professionals don’t know very much about bfeeding but still give mothers bad advice. As for going back to work, I personally know at least a dozen women who returned to work and pumped milk daily for as long as 18 months. One lady I know can pump 14 ounces in six minutes (that’s more than a can of Coke). A friend who lives here and works full time as an attorney pumps for her 8 month old. And it’s not just us foreigners nursing past the minimum six month recommendation… I have some local Chinese friends who nursed past 2 years and also met some Chinese families online from Singapore who’ve nursed for that long. Lots of success stories here and that’s where My Taipei Baby comes in, where we can share information and also support eachother.

Mulan, never did see that ad you mention but the naughty smurf at www.bestsmileys.com reminds me of my now 5-yo when he was a nursling, with that dreamy look on his face. He’s definitely going to be a breast man, like his dad (except his dad was never bfed–can’t figure that one out).

Wow, never would have thought we’d be having an intelligent discussion on bfeeding here.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share.

My Taipei Baby

Any mothers here (or did your spouse/partner) do the confinement after a child?

I put together a short article on confinement customs for My Taipei Baby but wanted to add information on ordering the food, or the places where you can stay for a month and have staff take care of you.

Any info appreciated!

My Taipei Baby

My wife did the one month confinement “yue4 zi3” after our son was born. We were in a nice apartment/hospital setup on the corner of Chung Shan North Road Sec. 2, and Min Chuan West Road, in Taipei, but I believe it has since closed.

You don’t have to worry about the food, they prepare a suitable menu and provide it for four or more meals a day. Hot chicken soup available 24 hours!


I used to live right by that corner. How long ago was that and would you mind sharing approx how much it cost? Friends told me that a couple of years ago it was 30,000 - 40,000 for the month. Is that about right?

Three babies later, I wish I’d taken better care of myself after each one.


My Taipei Baby


My wife did it at home using only rice wine to cook the meals and herbs. There was a place in Tamshui asking something like 55000 but their beds were rock hard.

I could have really used Jennifer’s site in 95 when I had my first baby in Chang Geng hospital in Kaohsiung. They would not let me sleep with the baby or have it in a bassinet in my room as I had for my second baby born in the US. I needed a lot of help with breast-feeding- the baby kept crying and I thought I was doing something wrong. I pumped for about 3 weeks and then gave up. With my second baby in the US I had a ‘lactation consultant’ help me throughout. For anyone who has Chinese or half-Chinese babies- many are lactose intolerant. If your baby cries a lot from gas or whatever, you as the mom should try drinking the non-lactose milk (they sell ‘lactaid’ drops/tablets and milk in the US, but I don’t know if they sell it in Taiwan_). The lactose in the milk the mom drinks can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Chinese traditionally never drank a lot of cow’s milk. Also, I would stay away from any traditional foods made for the pregnant or nursing mother that contain alcohol (and many such foods do). Also, Chinese women wrap up their midsections after birth to get back to their original shape faster- I didn’t do that, but my mom who was a nurse for 30+ years thinks it might be a good idea and in the US that is used for women who have C-sections. Lastly, the Chinese custom of getting lots of help with the baby the first month (zuo yue zi) is a good custom in that it lets your body have time to heal at a critical time. I wouldn’t lay around as much as the custom requires, but I certainly would have others help me with carrying around the baby, changing the diapers, cooking me nutritious foods, etc. Also, there is something to be said for not going out for a month-at least to crowded, enclosed places like movie theaters and malls where you could catch something in your weakened state. Oh, one more thing, if you can afford it, have a private room in the hospital and then post guards at the door to keep out al the salespeople who will go right up to your bedside when you are trying to sleep and sell you baby-related stuff. This drove me absolutely CRAZY- but the other Chinese moms in the room with me didn’t have the same reaction I did.

V, thanks for the informative post! I’ve been hesitant to load my confinement article on the My Taipei Baby site because I keep thinking there’s more I could add (that, and I’ve never been a very good writer).

Panda, I think if I’d planned ahead of time I could have prepared some of the meals myself. Found some recipes online that I’ll be posting online “soon” (for me, that could be this week or this year, lol).

My Taipei Baby

Jennifer, this is the number of one of the more famous “zou yeh zi” centers/delivery service: 080-008-6222. I think it’s called “Huang Ho” with the zou yeh zi guru Zhung Lao Shr. They’re everywhere. I didn’t do it because the diet was very strict: no water whatsoever, only rice wine. i had such a strict healthy diet when i was pregnant, i decided on comfort foods after the birth. It’s been a year and, like you, i’m wondering if this was such a good decision!

I’d also like to add some more to the original topic.

Jennifer is right when she says that women who don’t produce enough milk are rare. I’d also like to add that hospital staff and doctors most likely have never received any professional training on breastfeeding or even nutrition. It’s up to most new mom’s to do their own research on breastfeeding and to figure out things for themselves. I was told several times by relatives that my milk wasn’t going to be enough, or that babies prefer formula (not true!). In the hospital after my baby was born, I was never asked by the nurses “Will you breastfeed?” but was told twice: “You haven’t prepared the formula for us, what brand do you want us to use?”

Traveller mentioned the problem of women needing to work and breastfeed at the same time. I work and have been pumping for year now, but i’m lucky. I was able to get a good mandela pump sent over from the states which makes pumping sessions only 10-15 minutes. I have a clean room to pump in. I’m in a management position so didn’t need to ask permission to take the time out three times a day and don’t need to listen to subordinates that i’m wasting company time. I also have an office job which allows these kinds of breaks. I’d say that most of my co-workers have no idea i pump three times a day, even when i excuse my self from meetings that have run over because “i have a very important deadline to meet.”

A lot of new mom’s are not so lucky. They may have come back from maternity leave and co-workers and bosses may resent the fact that they want “extra privileges”. The argument that breastfeed babies rarely get sick and therefore moms take less sick days doesn’t fly in Taiwan because there is usually another caregiver at home to do the hospital runs. As a rule, the workplace in taiwan is NOT supportive of mom’s who want to breastfeed and many women give up.

Ok i’m starting to vent and ramble now so let me finish this up with: I think what Jennifer is doing with her website it great! Breastfeeding mom’s need all the support they can get.

Dorothy, thanks for that information and for the encouraging words too. Congratulations on nursing this long while working. I know I’ve had it easy not needing to pump–I really don’t like cleaning those pump parts and don’t have anyone to do it for me.

I have loaded some info on confinement at http://mytaipeibaby.tripod.com/confinement.htm but I this was based on information I got off the net. I’m sure that there are different customs depending on whether you’re from HK, Taiwan, China, Singapore, etc. Everyone, feel free to correct me or send me more information.

V mentioned how Chinese women wrap their midsection and I wanted to add that maybe this is something that can prevent prolapse. We could learn a lot from our Asian sisters.

Finally, I wanted to make a little confession. I didn’t breastfeed my first child, now 10. Like most women (I think), I thought I would just put him to the breast and he would nurse. I had no idea that there was anything to “learn” and so all through my pregnancy, I read nothing on bfeeding and when I did have him and our first nursing sessions didn’t work out, my mother (who did bfeed us all) didn’t know how to explain what I was doing wrong.

Don’t want to turn this into an epistle but just wanted the moms to know that I’ve had my struggles with bfeeding too.

Also, at My Taipei Baby, I want to take a stand and promote breastfeeding, natural childbirth and aware/positive parenting as much as possible, but we do also plan to offer information on topics like ‘how to choose the best formula’ (a friend offered to do this for me), epidurals, and information on c-sections. The main objective is to get women informed.

And don’t forget, we could use birth stories, short stories, articles on living/parenting in Taiwan, bi-cultural families, long distance parenting, cheap family fun.

My Taipei Baby