From a biological perspective, breastfeeding appears to look the same everywhere as rooting and sucking are the natural phenomena.
You may think that women are born with breasts, so their maternal instincts will guide them to flawless breastfeeding, right? Well, no! It isn't so in reality. Breastfeeding is not effortless, and its experience varies not only from woman to woman but also from culture to culture. From cultural traditions to laws, there are practices for healthy breastfeeding that is followed. And here's how we will explore the differences that shape the way in which woman feed their children around the globe.
Mentioned below is a brief glimpse into the lives of breastfeeding women around the world. While the breastfeeding norms and values below are listed under a particular country, it's important to keep in mind that breastfeeding practices vary considerably, even within the same geographical area.
Islamic law has particular views on the practice of wet-nursing. As Islam recognizes the importance of breastfeeding for the physical and emotional health of a child, women other than the child's mother may breastfeed a child. With the distribution of free infant formula through Iraq's food rations, many infants receive formula. There are high rates of bottle feeding in Iraq due to lack of general knowledge surrounding the benefits of breastfeeding.
The biggest breastfeeding success story from Brazil is the creation of their maternal milk banks. The Brazilian Network of Human Milk Banks is the largest in the world. Of the 292 human milk banks in the world, Brazil has 220 of them.
Rather than feeding their babies colostrum, many indigenous Guatemalan women give their newborns coffee, sugar water, soda, and corn flour in water while waiting for their milk to come in.
Culturally, British women are not encouraged to continue breastfeeding. Another recent study revealed that moms in the UK lack peer support for breastfeeding. As a general rule, women in Britain are advised to get their babies on a sleeping schedule, to return to work, and to get back to their pre-baby lives as quickly as possible.
Women in Mongolia routinely express their milk in public. The Mongolian culture embraces the nutritional value of breast milk. Further, most Mongolians enjoy the taste of it as well. It is not uncommon for women to leave a cup of breast milk for their partners. Breast milk is shared freely, even beyond the nuclear family.
The ancient Himba tribe of northwest Namibia has a population of about 30,000 and 50,000. With no hospital within reach, the semi-nomadic women give birth at home, and every mom breastfeeds.
In Japan, there is a prevalent culture of mimics. So basically, the breastfeeding mothers make the funny or comical cartoons on their breasts to amuse their kids and feed them.
As part of their desire to show love for all living beings, lactating women in the Bishnoi tribe in India have been known to breastfeed deer. Orphaned and injured fawns are often taken in by breastfeeding moms and nursed back to health.
Kenyan women, particularly those of the Luo and Luhya ethnic tribes, believe that quarrels with neighbors or family members while breastfeeding causes their milk to become unsafe.
If a disagreement occurs, a woman is required to undergo a cultural cleansing ritual with herbs, 'manyasi,' before resuming breastfeeding. If this cleansing does not occur, women discontinue breastfeeding.
With a total population of approximately 20,000 people, this tribe embraces gender equality more than any other culture. As the mothers breastfeed their kids, the fathers are obviously unable to lactate so they willingly soothe their infants through the use of their nipple.
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