Friday, 1 September 2017

Car Seat Laws for Kids in Korea

Legally speaking, in Korea a child must be in a car seat or a booster seat until they're six years old (Western age). The fine is 60,000. However, it's very unlikely that you will be pulled over and fined. I've seen infants on the driver's lap, kids bouncing around, and even kids popping up through sunroofs.

With that being said, you should put your child in a car seat and you should spend money on a new car seat. Please don't buy a used one. If it's been in any crash or slightly damaged in any way, it could be compromised. It's not worth saving money when your child's life is on the line. Since it's a big ticket item, consider putting it on your baby registry

Remember to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It doesn't matter if they're a year old, you don't have to turn them around: keep them facing backwards.

It's not easy to install a car seat. You can check online for more info. Unlike some countries, fire departments and police stations cannot check your car seat to make sure it's properly installed. In addition, hospitals and birthing centers aren't going to check if you have a car seat installed before you take your baby home. You could go home in a taxi with them in the front seat and they're not going to stop you. Here are some good sites.
Also, never ever put your child in a car seat while they're wearing coats. The car seat lady and this crash test will show you why it can be deadly.

Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Sharing Breast Milk in Korea: Donating and Receiving

From what I understand, there are only two milk banks in Korea. They seem to not be used that much by expats. I'm not actually sure how much Koreans use them. From what I've been told it's expensive and there's not enough.

Keep in mind that you're getting the milk "straight from the source". Here's a very thorough article from Eats on Feets about things to keep in mind if you're going to be donating or getting donated breast milk. In milk banks, the milk goes through a pasteurization process. You need to be able to trust the mom you get the milk from. Sometimes the baby doesn't like the taste of donated breast milk. In that case you could try scalding the breast milk. There's an article by KellyMom which explains that babies aged 1-6 months need about 19-30 oz (570-900 ml) a day of breast milk.

Some women get milk from one other women, while others get milk from many. Some women who get donate breast milk help the other mom by buying them breast milk storage bags, or doing something nice like baking some homemade cookies or bread. It's not necessary, but it's a nice gesture since they're using their time and energy to donate milk to your baby.

When women are looking to donate milk or get donated milk they usually turn to Facebook. It helps if you can find a women with a baby who's close to your baby's age.There are two main groups that can help you.

Donating or Getting Breast Milk in Korea
Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) - South Korea 
You can message this group and they will post on your behalf whether it be an offer or a request. It's not that active, but when people post, they usually get responses.

MMKorea Nursing Support 
This is not a milk sharing group, but a breastfeeding support group. With that being said, it's Korea-wide and women are usually able to able.

Other options 
Post in local parenting or mom groups. Someone often knows someone. Some women have been known to pump specifically for another baby.

Check military groups. Often moms who PCS have to get rid of loads of milk. If you know someone who's military, ask them if they can post on your behalf.

Eats on Feets currently does not have a chapter in Korea, but you could start one!

Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Big Latch On Korea 2017

No automatic alt text available.August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and all over the world people will be participating in events to celebrate.
The latter two you can do on your own, but the Global Big Latch On takes place with other people.

What is The Global Big Latch On?
Their website states that "Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world, where women gather together to breastfeed and offer peer support to each other. Their friends, family and community join this celebration to promote and support breastfeeding. Volunteers from within the community host each location, hosting a Global Big Latch On event creates a lasting support network for the community."

 It started in New Zealand in 2005. There are many reasons behind this event, according to their site.
"Global Big Latch On events aim to protect, promote & support breastfeeding families by:
  • Provide support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally. 
  • Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places. 
  • Make breastfeeding as normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increase support for women who breastfeed – women are supported by their partners, family and their communities.
  • Ensure communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services."
Who Can Participate?
Breastfeeding moms, their partners, and their supporters are welcome to join. They will count three different things: the number of latches, the number of breastfeeding women, and the total number of people. They recognise that breastfeeding journets are different. As such, in order to be counted as a latch, you can have
  • A direct latch
  • A supplemental nursing system or nipple shield
  • Express milk using your hands or pump
  • Feed your child breast milk using an alternative method
In Korea there will be 2 events, one in Yongsan, Seoul and one in Songtan, Pyeongtaek. Be sure to check out Big Latch On Korea on Facebook as well.

Want to Donate or Help Out?
If you're a small or local business, consider donating a prize for the raffle. If you'd like to donate money, please do so on The Big Latch On website. If you'd like to donate your time, please contact Sheila (Seoul) or Sharon (Pyeongtaek) to find out how you can help out.

Yongsan, Seoul: Friday, August 4th from 10-11:30am
The location is TBA. You can register on the Facebook page or on the Big Latch On website. The location code for this event is 1324. Victor will be there to take photos. There will be a raffle and the following businesses will be providing prizes.

Songtan, Pyeongtaek: Saturday, August 5th from 10-11am
The event will be held at Cornerstone, which is a coffee shop near Posco. You can find a map on the Facebook event. Since they are letting us use the location they have asked that people buy one drink. You can register on the Facebook page or on the Big Latch On website. The location code for this event is 1326.
Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Where to Buy a New Breast Pump in Korea

I previously wrote about where to buy a used breast pump in Korea. Below you can find some information about buying a new breast pump in Korea. Pumps can be expensive but you can also put them on your baby registry. When planning on what to get for your baby, you need to consider how you will raise your child. Different people will spend money on different things.

Closed vs. Open Breast Pumps
A closed pump keeps the milk from entering the tubing. The Pumping Mommy and Kelly Mom also have some great info about why you should buy a closed breast pump, especially if you're buying a used one. Closed pumps are WHO compliant. Open pumps are not.

Closed Breast Pumps
Here are some closed breast pumps. There are hospital-grade, double electric pumps, single electric pumps, and single manual pumps. Be sure to read the reviews to see which one would be best for you. I always read the negative reviews first.

Baby Fairs are a good place to check out different breast pumps. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy a pump at a baby fair than at a store. Stores dedicated to families, such as Moms Mom and Toys R Us
may have them. Bigger department stores such as Lotte and Shinsaegae may as well. In Lotte in Myeongdong, there is a place called BB on the 7th floor that has some pumps. Around women's hospitals there are often stores dedicated to families and some bigger hospitals may actually have a store inside. Mothercare is located inside Homeplus and they may have some pumps. Sunny Smart Shopping and Ask Ajumma are services that can help you locate a pump whether from a brick-and-mortar store or an online store. 

Online direct from companies
Online from people
Sometimes people buy a pump or are given a pump and never use it. You might find one listed on one of the sites below. 

    NB: I will be taking a break from blogging in July and August. I will be back in September. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on

    Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

    Monday, 1 May 2017

    Why the Words "Low" and "High" Should Not be Used by Your Doctor

    It typically happens like this. You go for a routine doctor's visit only to be told . . .
    • your heart rate . . .
    • your baby's heart rate . . .
    • the amniotic fluid . . .  
    • the baby's weight . . . 
    • your blood pressure . . .
    is too low / too high so we need to do . . .
    • an induction.
    • an (emergency) C-section.
    • more tests. 
    This is absolutely horrible and bullies parents into decisions when they have not received complete informed consent. More often than not it's accompanies by fear and guilt techniques such as if you don't do this your baby could have serious long-term problems or even death. When you're told this by your doctor (someone you trust), you blindly do what they tell you. Granted there are situations that do merit immediate care. However, more often than not, things are normal.

    Let's step away from doctors and get a different perspective. Imagine you want to find out the weather forecast for the next week and all that you can see is the date and "hot" or "cold". That's it. No temperatures. That's not very helpful, is it?

    That's precisely what doctors are doing when they tell you your numbers or your baby's numbers are "low" or "high". They're not giving you the complete picture, so how exactly can you make an informed decision when you're missing the vital information?

    Always, always, ask for numbers. "Low" and "high" are subjective. Numbers are concrete and objective. Let's look at two different situations. You need two numbers:
    • what the normal range is
    • what your number is.
    Only then, can you make an informed decision.

    Situation A
    You go in for a routine visit and are told your X is low. You ask for numbers and are told that the normal range is 100-120 and you are at 98. You're 2 numbers away from being within the normal range. You now know the complete picture and can decide what to do. That might be to follow the doctor's advice, ask for re-testing, check and see what can cause low numbers and try to fix it and then re-test. 2 numbers isn't that drastic and remember that there is room for error in all tests.

    Situation B
    You go in for a routine visit and are told your X is low. You ask for numbers and are told that the normal range is 100-120 and you are at 50. Now this situation is very different than Situation A. Here you are 50 numbers away from being within the normal range. Knowing this you will probably make a very different decision that what you would make in Situation A.

    Doctors do tend to have your best interests and the baby's best interest in mind. However, there are also many other things that come into play.
    • They're following hospital policies.
    • They actively manage births instead of using expectant management.
    • They want to go home because it's Friday / they have plans the next day.
    • They're afraid of being sued.
    The bottom line is that it's ultimately up to you to get the complete picture and make a decision based on concrete, objective numbers not abstract, subjective adjectives.

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