Interview 29

Age at interview: 34
Brief Outline: One son (mixed feeding) born in Thailand, one (exclusive breastfeeding) in Britain. Very different health systems and support. Positioning problems, crying babies. Learned by observing other women.
Background: At the time of interview, this 34 year old, Thai woman was breastfeeding her 14 month old son. She also had a 4 year old son whom she had breastfed. A PhD student/university lecturer, she was married to a doctor.

More about me...

This Thai woman came to Britain to complete her doctorate and with one son born in Thailand and another in Britain is in a good position to discuss the differences in perinatal care and cultural practices between the two countries. In Thailand, she had no antenatal instruction and a doctor to attend her elective caesarean birth. In Britain, she enjoyed her antenatal classes and found them informative but was 'scared' when she realised that she would have only a midwife to attend her at her natural birth. In Thailand, her parents looked after the baby while she went back to work. They fed him infant formula through a bottle. She found this very stressful and cried and cried. In Britain, she was able to care for her baby herself and watch his development. She brought her own nanny from Thailand to help with the children. She had breastfeeding positioning problems with both babies. With the first, she went to a breastfeeding clinic in Thailand and was taught to use a lactaid device to encourage her son to suck. With the second, besides calling the British emergency midwifery service and the Thai breastfeeding clinic, she observed the other mothers at her postnatal exercise class and learned by watching them. Another big difference between the two cultures is the attitude towards breastfeeding in public. She has done it in Britain without any problems but in Thailand her husband was embarrassed and other women disapproved.


Although she is westernised, she talked about Thai traditions and how they differed from...

Although she is westernised, she talked about Thai traditions and how they differed from...

I know about breastfeeding from my mother, I think. I think everything in Thailand may be in like tradition, in my country. Like learn from a relative or something like that, like that. Mother and may be I in my career, I am pharmacist in my country, I like as a health professional, so I think breastfeeding is very better than the other food for my children.

You talked about the hill-tribes?


And the women there not having very good food?


But they still breastfeed?

Yes in my country, traditional in my country, I think it different from British because British is like the high education, high in education, high income no breastfeeding, but in my country it is low income, low education go to breastfeed because in my country may be, may be, a lot like expensive like the powder of milk and like the, because, it is if expensive may be in low income have a problem to buy it, but in my country as well, and everything, like the advertisement in the television about the bottle of milk about the, like the a lot, if you go to my country you can see a lot of the, like the powder of milk for children, a lot.

You see it advertised a lot'

Yes a lot.

'on television.

And you have like a promotion if you health professional like me and like my husband. You can have like free of bottle milk and free of powder of milk to try, to try, two or three bottle.

Free samples.

Yes free sample, it's good, it's good for.

What do you think about that?

At first I didn't think, I don't think anything when I didn't have like pregnant but after that I pregnant and I try to like the breastfeeding, I didn't like to get it, collect it to my house, I think it's like the nature, it's easy way, it is not like the pay for or buy it, is a free, it's good, but I think it's have a like a struck in my opinion in my attention to breastfeeding, if I have a bottle in front of me, I think this is easy and everybody in my house, is very, this is easy, make my son grow like breastmilk right, I think it is a problem if I have, if I have it in my house.

When you said you tried to do what was normal, do you mean you tried to bring your baby up like a western person would, rather than traditional Thai methods?

Yes, because in my country if the baby just born you should to stay in the home, long, and one month and you should keep warm in your body and the baby like the, like you use to hold him with the blanket.

So you wrap him and keep him warm.

Yes, wrap him and keep him warm in here is like the freedom and take him in the sleeping suit or something like that, in my county no, you should to like hold him and wrap him with the blanket and something like that and you should to wear the hat and wear the glove, everything for him, to like the warm, keep warm all day, all night, or something like that and his mother as well, you should to like hold hat, with a sock or something like that.

So mother and baby are kept very warm?

Very warm.

And they stay at home for one month?

Yes, at least one month, it

She developed sore nipples from not having her baby correctly positioned. She learned by...

She developed sore nipples from not having her baby correctly positioned. She learned by...

So what do you think was going wrong?

I am not sure, at first I am, I try to like the, may be I try to hold him, may be I don't hold him properly and I have a problem and I try to like the position to him because at first I use his hand to, not like in the back of me, right, may be like a hug me, or something like that.

You think his hands were getting in the way?

Yes I think it is a problem, or something like that, I don't know, like the properly how to hold him, after that, I see, I have to go one and a half month I go to like the vaccination, about BCG vaccination at the hospital, I observe.

Just keep talking.

Yes, I observe to the, I observe to another pregnant woman and I see she hug and she hold the baby in her hand, how she hold or something like that, and I try to hold him like her and I think it is good for me and everything maybe is going on is better.

So when you saw the other women feeding and you copied them?


You found it easier?

Yes, I think it is easier to like that hold him and like the to suck and like everything I think is good for me to observe and copy, copy her and something like that and after that it is good if I go to the like exercise class after delivery, everybody in the class breastfeeding, like one in ten have a bottle and I see everything is normal like normal, like the breastfeeding I see and observe every time I go, and I try to breastfeed like her, I think is okay, yes.

So was your baby latching on to the breast, could you feel him getting the milk?

Yes I, because I try to like the, get on the milk but I think, it not comfortable for when he suck and sometime I think it very hurt.

You were sore?

Yes, I have a problem with the nipple sore and some people, some friends go to my house and she tell me about the, like the nipple shield, or something like that, but I didn't use it, but I think it like plastic, it not normal, I think it a problem if I use it.

So what did you do for your sore nipples?

I'm change another more than side of nipple is sore, right, but I try to going on in breastfeeding.

So you kept on feeding even though your nipples were sore?


Were they sore right through the feed or just at the beginning when your baby latched on?

In the beginning, in like the two or three weeks after the delivery may be in third week after delivery have a sore.

And when you got your positioning correct and when you were putting the baby in the, to the breast in the correct position did that soreness go away?

Yes of course because everything, going on is better, and I think sore is going away and my son can like the wider open the mouth wider and keep it because my breast have a problem because I have like the brown area like wider, if you compare with another person and I have a small nipple, short nipple, yes short nipple.

And you think that was what was causing the problems with your babies?

Yes, because I should to like the position because I know the proper way to suck
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