Category Archives: children

The culture of Breastfeeding in Pakistan

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When I was young I thought that exclusive breastfeeding was a norm in Pakistan. When I got pregnant with my little Nabiha I started reading up on breastfeeding and promptly decided that my daughter was going to be exclusively breastfed. I was content and at ease with my decision thinking that amongst all the uncertainties in life ahead, breastfeeding was going to be one task easily learned with the support of all the ladies who had breastfed their children.

But when Nabiha was born and I started popping thousands of questions, I came against walls. No body I knew (and I must have talked to around 20) had the faintest idea about breast feeding breast practices. In fact all of them (yes each and every one of them) recommended that I should do exactly the opposite. When my baby was only a week old and I complained that she keeps on drinking and drinking I was advised to give formula TWICE a day and was even advised to quit. Thank God I am very overconfident by nature so I didn’t waver from my plan to breastfeed her.

But I was shocked about what others thought about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is good but not enough and not as nutritious as formula! Yes they didn’t say it but that’s what they thought.

I kept on hearing you have to eat ALOT to be able to breastfeed. This one advise I did listen to (just in case). So I ate ALOT. I’m hoping some of it turned to nutritious breast milk material and got my baby’s system up and running.

I won’t say I didn’t ever waver from my plan to EBF. Nabiha’s weight’s was in the 90th percentile when she was born and her weight gain has kept slowing down so much so that she is in the 10th percentile now. So I did try to supplement her (to everyone’s relief ) but I reverted back after a lecture from the nice doctor Yaqoob.

I read an article online which stated that even though majority of mothers in Pakistan breastfeed, majority of mothers in Pakistan supplement breast milk with formula milk/cows milk and other liquids even in the first three months and even in the FIRST FEWS WEEKS:(

I read another article which said that the last campaign on importance of breastfeeding infants was conducted in 1988 and no new campaign has been launched since then probably because of the lovely manufactures of the “white powder”. Do you know (well, i didn’t) that limiting the marketing of FF in Pakistan was proposed in 2002 (after 55 years) and it took another 8 to actually get the bill passed that too by the efforts of an International organization save the children.

I’m not saying that mothers who are formula feeding are doing something wrong but I am saying I wish they had made this choice fully aware of what BFing is all about.