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Natural Feeding Rate Up 10% Since ‘01

Posted June. 24, 2006 08:18,   


Mrs. Eom, 28, went to a health center in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon with her 10-day old son on June 19. When her baby fed naturally after she postured herself on the advice of Hong Sun-mi, a breast feeding expert, she expressed great glee.

After she read writings which recommend breast feeding at an online expecting mothers club, she tried to breast-feed her baby, but he didn’t suck at her breast. Moreover, she felt severe pain from cracked nipples.

On that day, Eom visited the health center with three other expecting mothers and seven breast-feeding mothers. Bupyeong-gu Health Center holds one-on-one breast-feeding education for pregnant women who are at least 16 weeks pregnant and breast-feeding mothers every Monday.

The education deals with the importance of breast feeding, breast-feeding posture and breast and nipple pain care. In addition to the Bupyeong-gu Health Center, 249 nation-wide health centers are providing breast-feeding education.

Mrs. Won, 30, has a five-month old son and said, “When I complained about the difficulties of breast-feeding to my friends who gave birth at similar times, they envied my breast-feeding. I will keep breast-feeding my baby until it turns one year old.”

As the perception that breast-feeding is good for both a baby and its mother has spread, breast-feeding is all the rage. In fact, according to the National Health and Nutrition Survey published on June 1, 37.4 percent of women who recently had a baby breast-fed their baby of six months, the figure which significantly jumped from 9.8 percent in 2001.

Even though the figure is lower than that of Sweden, the world’s most frequent breast-feeding country that has a 46 percent breast-feeding rate at the time of six months after a baby’s birth, it is higher than the rates of the U.S. (14.1 percent) and Australia (32 percent).

The “breast-feeding fad” has also prompting the increased sales of breast-feeding products. The estimated yearly sales of breast pumps are 100,000 units.

Various kinds of breast-feeding products are emerging to suit the tastes of today’s picky expecting mothers. Happy Milk launched automatic breast pumps using a vacuum pump two years ago and greatly appealed to customers, and Medela is scheduled to release portable automatic breast pumps this fall. Products shielding breasts and helping sanitary lactation such as nipple shields, niplettes, breast-feeding pads and breast shells are being launched one after another.

The U.S. government has set a target plan that promote 50 percent of mothers to breast-feed their baby at six months after birth by the year 2010, and Korea also has included an increase in the breast-feeding rate in their 2005 National Health Promotion Plan.

Jang Young-ae, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Health & Social Affairs said, “Breast-feeding is effective for strengthening a baby’s immune system, orthodontia, and child obesity prevention and has been shown to be helpful in the mother’s convalescence after giving birth and her weight control. The government should establish policies to continue the increasing trend of breast-feeding.”

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