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Lactation Training Coming to China

In my last blog I wrote that there were hardly any IBCLC’s in China when I first returned as an IBCLC in 2013. A lot has changed since that time.

There are several courses in different Chinese cities to train Chinese lactation consultants! Women in the cities learned about breastfeeding through internet. Doctors in these cities were almost embarrassed that they knew less than their clients. They felt the need to increase their knowledge and several medical doctors did the course to become an IBCLC. Not only medical doctors, others who are passionate about breastfeeding have been trained as breastfeeding supporters and have gone on to become IBCLC’s. China nowadays knows many more IBCLC’s than when I first returned to China in 2013.

In 2017 I received an invitation from a lady in Zhuhai (Southern China): Could I come and provide lactation training? I went, provided six full mornings of teaching, whilst others did the afternoon sessions. Women from all over China came to be trained. Often, they themselves had encountered breastfeeding problems and found someone to help and support them. Realising that without this person’s help they wouldn’t have been able to reach their breastfeeding goals, they now have a passion to help other women too. I really love teaching such an enthusiastic and eager group of women. What an encouragement after what I had experienced so far as I worked within the Chinese Medical System (see blog “How to Impact Medical Professionals in China”). Some of them go on to become IBCLC’s themselves and several of them have not only started to help other moms, they started an organisation, like the lady in Zhuhai, to promote breastfeeding, teach others to become new “breastfeeding supporters”. And that against all odds, because it isn’t easy…

A couple of years ago, I finally found another recently qualified IBCLC in the city near us. With no experience, no medical background and hospitals that are not familiar with IBCLC’s yet (the IBCLC credential is still not recognized in China), it is very hard for her to establish herself as a lactation consultant.

There is progress, lots of things are happening, but there is still a long way to go and a huge need to develop more support structures for breastfeeding mothers…!

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