Re-posting this from Danwei- a postcard from Chengdu about a group of local mothers who are empowering themselves and their families to support breast feeding in the community. A challenging undertaking given the amount of inaccurate, superstitious, and outdated information that exists in China about breastfeeding. Bravo to The Breastfeeding Mothers Union in Chengdu for questioning the media and the medical establishment to bring fact-based information to the families of Chengdu...
Chengdu, China — A peaceful parental counter-movement is growing that is beginning to question the popular reliance in China on medically assisted births and infant formula, as well as the Tiger Mom ethos that puts children through the educational grinder.
They meet during chats online before slowly moving from the virtual world — often maintaining their online monikers — to form groups of friends who struggle against a tide of traditional thought, institutional stagnation and downright ignorance of how the female body works.
The power of these online groups was evident last month when the Wuhan Evening News published a story on February 9 under the title, “Young mother nurses 6-month baby into cerebral palsy” ([小心]一味追求母乳 妈妈把宝宝喂成“脑瘫”). Groups of mothers and breastfeeding advocates from Chengdu to Shanghai to Beijing took to the web to protest the article and to demand a retraction.
After two days of furious action on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo and other forums, including posts from officials within the National Ministry of Health, the newspaper redacted the story and published another one with interviews from breastfeeding advocates.
“Their new story wasn’t much better than the old one,” said Xiaowazi, in an interview at her home. The informal leader of a Chengdu mothers group, The Breastfeeding Mothers Union, Xiaowazi helped lead the protest. “Turns out the journalist had heard a rumor about a mother who had nursed a baby into cerebral palsy and then sent a few questions to a doctor. You really can’t trust the media at all.”
Chinese mothers have learned not to trust anything anymore, even themselves in many ways. Groups like these educate women about motherhood, facilitate purchases of foreign baby care products and above all provide a support network in a society that still favors caesarean sections and formula above natural birth and breast milk.
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