Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Where to Buy a Used Breast Pump in Korea

Updated 8 May 2017

 Spectra 2 Hospital Grade Breast Pump
Spectra S2: Buy from Amazon
I know that breast pumps are expensive and many moms want to save money, however, used pumps can be unsafe. Some hospitals have pumps available, but rental pumps are different from used pumps. La Leche League explains more in their article. With that being said, some women buy new breast pumps and never use them. Sometimes they're still wrapped up in the original box. They often sell those pumps a little cheaper that what it would cost you to buy one online.

I honestly would not recommend buying a pump that has actually been used. I understand that some women do this, however, it would recommend against doing it. Save up and buy a new one or try to find someone who has bought a pump but never actually used it.
Closed vs. Open Breast Pumps
A closed breast 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.

Why to Find Breast Pumps in Korea
Check other buy and sell or flea market Facebook groups near you. Start looking early as they tend to sell quickly. Remember, you're looking for a pump that someone has bought, but never used.
More Links and Storage Guidelines
My post about Breastfeeding Awareness Month has many useful links to help with breastfeeding. Make sure you are storing your milk properly. Here's a quick guide
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Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Parental Leave aka Childcare Leave in Korea

 The Fifth Trimester
Buy from Amazon
I've written about maternity leave and paternity leave before. There is also optional leave that either parent can take. Here's what the laws say about employment insurance. Here's some information in English.

Additional Time Off: Parental Leave
If you go back to work and decide that you would like additional time off, the good news is that you might be able to take up to a year off as unpaid leave. Though here it says they get 40% of their base salary with a max of 1 mil won. This is known in Korea as childcare leave     "육 아휴직". You can legally take up to a year of unpaid leave while your child is under 6 western (72 months) providing you've been with the same employer for more than a year.

There is a grey area surrounding teachers who are on a one year contract that have been renewed. Your best bet would be to ask in LOFT or PALS about what people have done recently.


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


Thursday, 1 September 2016

How to Get Your Child into Modeling in Korea

Updated 5 October 2016

 The Professional's Guide to Modeling
Buy from Amazon
There are many modeling opportunities for children here in Korea. Please know what you are getting into. Just because you may want your child to be a model, doesn't mean they do. You might have to travel for hours and then spend even more hours doing a shoot. It's hard work. Don't believe me? Here's what professional models have to say about modelling. Below you can find information about the legalities as well as suggested agencies that people have worked with in the past.

Legalities
First off, for a foreigner to work in Korea you need a proper visa or "an activity outside of sojourn" added to your visa. Income must be declared and taxes may have to be paid on the income. If you don't have the proper visa or work without prior permission from immigration (which means you go to immigration and get an "activity outside of sojourn" added to your visa), then you will be working illegally. I know that some agencies will tell you that it's fine and that since it's cash-in-hand or just once in a while or not that much money that it's fine. They're lying.

Don't take my word for it. Call immigration on 1345 during normal business hours (they have a lunch break from 12-1pm) or if you're military you can call Legal. I called both and asked about E2, F3, and A3 visas. See below for other visas. I just asked about these three since they are common. Working on these visas without prior permission (which you get an "activity outside of sojourn" added to your visa) from immigration is illegal. Period.

If you are on your own visa (ex. an E2) and caught working illegally you can be fined and/or deported. If you are a dependent (such as those on A3 or F3 visas,) then both you (or the child, if they are working illegally) and your sponsor can get into trouble. If your sponsor is with the U.S. military and you can caught, this could reflect negatively on your sponsor's career.

What are the actual chances that you will be caught? They're slim. I'll be honest. However, people do get caught. If the agency fudges their numbers and gets caught, or someone turns you in, then you're going to have problems. Many people just get a fine and a slap on the wrist, but I have known people who were faced with deportation. As bad as it sounds, gender and race also play a part. I've known white women and black men who were caught working illegally. The former get off with a small fine and the latter often get larger fines and threatened with deportation.

Children are not the exception to the rule. Just because they are underage does not mean they can work illegally. They can also be fined. Since you are the adult, you also may face consequences.

Visas that Require Permission from Immigration to do Modeling
Here are some visas that need permission from immigration to do something, i.e., modeling, that is outside their visa status. Immigration calls it "an activity outside of your sojourn". This is not a complete list. As mentioned before, contact immigration on 1345 and ask. Do not trust the modeling agency. They are not experts in immigration issues, nor due they issue visas. Immigration is the only place in the entire country that is entirely responsible for visas. The military Legal office isn't a visa expert either. If you are caught working illegally, Legal is not going to be able to get you out of being punished.

In order to get permission for "activities outside your sojourn", you will need to go to immigration and fill out the appropriate paperwork. At the very minimum you will need your passport, alien card (if you have one, and everyone who lives here is legally entitled to an alien card (even SOFA visa holders)), fee, application form, business license from the modeling agency, and contract.
  • A3 SOFA: You are allowed to be a dependent here. That's it. Just because other people do it doesn't make it legal.
  • B2 tourist: for people who have to apply ahead of time, such as Chinese citizens.
  • C3 tourist: given as a VOA (visa on arrival).
  • D2 student: if you fulfill certain requirements you may not need permission from immigration. Contact immigration for more info. 
  • D10 looking for work: you're allowed to look for work, not actually work. Once you get a job you need to get the appropriate visa. This visa is given for a max of 6 months.
  • E1 professor: for those working at a uni that will actually go through the paperwork of getting an E1. Most unis give E2s.
  • E2 language teacher: for those at hagwons, public and private schools, and many unis.
  • F3 spouse of a foreigner: if your spouse is working in Korea you will get this visa. It's like the A3. You're allowed to live here, not work or study.
Visas that Don't Require Permission from Immigration
Here are some visas that don't require you to get permission from immigration to work or study. Keep in mind that you still legally need to declare your income and may have to pay taxes on it.
  • F2 resident: this was for foreigners married to Koreans, but now they get the F6. This is now for people who get enough points or fulfill the requirements to become residents on their own.
  • F4 gyopo: for those of Korean heritage, such as Korean adoptees or children of Korean citizens.
  • F5 permanent resident: for those who have held an F2 or F6 for the specific amount of time.
  • F6 marriage: for those married to Korean citizens.
What's Required to Become a Model
You will need to give certain information to the agency in order for them to keep you in mind for modeling jobs. They will usually ask for the following. . .
  • Name
  • Measurements (for a child this is just their height)
  • Weight
  • Age (remember Korean age is different than Western age. It's often easier to give them the date of birth rather than the age)
  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Visa type
  • Nationality
  • Clothing size
  • Shoe size (Korea uses millimeters. It's very easy. Just measure your child's shoe and round up to the nearest 5 mm.  
  • 3-5 good photos of the child. You might consider getting them taken professionally. Here's a list of photographers who specialise in photos of children. 
  • Contact info, such as email and cell phone
Modeling Agencies
Below are some modeling agencies that foreigners have worked with. You can send your child's information to all of them. There is no exclusively, unless you sign a contract and it states that you can only be with that agency. The more places that have your child's profile, the better the chance they have of getting booked. You can usually apply online through their websites. If that doesn't work, try contacting them on Facebook. Even if their Facebook page hasn't been updated in a while, don't worry. Koreans still haven't really jumped on the Facebook train. All of these places are listed because people have recently worked with them. If you would know of an agency that should be added to this list, please email me at sharonkcouzens@gmail.com

4B Film
  • 4Bfilm@gmail.com

About International Modeling Agency

Baby and Kids Model
  • A group on Facebook where models and agencies can post. 

Baby Asia

Diva Models
  • Tatiane Choi (casting manager), cell is 010-5146-2606 and kakao is choiane

DOBE Entertainment

JJang Entertainment

MOMA International Modeling Agency

Platinum Management

Sites in Seoul
  • This is not a modeling agency, but many times agents will post here about jobs. 

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


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

New Birthing Center in Seoul, Korea

http://www.gmcheil.co.kr/en.htmlNatural birthing has changed a lot in Korea in the past five years. Nowadays you will find natural birthing clinics (that usually have a C-section rate of 10% and below), women's clinics, and even major hospitals that offer things such as birthing tubs, rooming-in, and freedom of movement. Many places have doctors, midwives, nurses, and staff who speak English. Here's a list of some popular places to give birth in Korea. Doctors are starting to recognise the importance of doulas and allowing women to make choices about their birth.

In the spring of this year, another natural birthing center opened up in Gwangmyeong, which is in the western area of Seoul. GM Cheil Women's Clinic located right outside exit 3 of Gwangmyeong Sageori station at 896 Gwangmyeong-ro, Gwangmyeong, in Gyeonggi-do (phone is (02) 890-2555 and the fax is (02) 890-2554) have three floors dedicated to helping women get the birth they want, whether that be a hands-off birth or a C-section. They are very accommodating to women who want to use doulas.

While the doctors are not fluent in English, they have studied abroad and are able to understand. Julia, a midwife who used to work at Yeon and Nature, speaks English and has experience working with foreigners. They also have an IBCLC who can help with breastfeeding. Unfortunately, they do not attend home births now, but hopefully they will in the future. Here's a list of English speaking doctors and midwives who will do home births.

In June I got the chance to visit GM Cheil and was given a tour by Julia. When I walked in on the 7th floor I was struck by how peaceful it was. The area is bright and open. The check-in area, doctors' offices, and the IBCLC's office are all here.

The 8th floor is where the delivery rooms are located. GM Cheil only has private rooms and are equipped with birthing tubs, toilets, birthing balls, a birthing stool, a queen sized bed, a table and chair, a bassinet, necessary toiletries and for mom and baby. They also have peanut balls that are available upon request. All rooms have floor to ceiling windows with thick drapes, the ability to dim the lights, and control the temperature. While they don't have a NICU, they do have one incubator available so if there are minor issues you don't have to worry about being transferred to a hospital. The education center, where yoga and birthing classes take place, is also located on this floor.

After delivery, many women choose to move to the 9th floor for recovery. Rooms on this floor are also private and each room has two twin beds: one for the mom and one for her partner. These rooms are also equipped with toilets and showers, a small table and padded stool, a foot stool for breastfeeding, a breastfeeding pillow, and necessary toiletries for mom and baby. They provide a small gift bag for moms afterwards which consists of a baby outfit and a placenta print. There is also a small shampoo room here. GM Cheil is always thinking about how important the little things are, such as having a place to wash your hair after giving birth. They have a small room with a salon chair. After giving birth it allows the mom a chance to feel pampered as her partner washes her hair.

I took photos but they don't do justice to how amazing GM Cheil. You can check out their website or visit and ask for a tour. Prices vary according to what type of insurance you have, but you can expect to pay about what you would pay at Mamas' Birth Center or half of what Medi Flower and Yeon and Nature charge.

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


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Divorce and Child Support in Korea

It's never easy to get a divorce. Getting divorced is hard. It's even harder when you're in a foreign country. There is some information online about how to get divorced in Korea. It seems that most of it is written by lawyers who want you as their clients.

Getting Divorced in Korea
In May 2016, a secret Facebook group was created called, Getting Divorced in Korea. Three admin run the group: Daemon, Lara, and Sharon. All three have gotten divorced in Korea. None of them are lawyers, so they don't have any hidden agendas for creating the group. There are some lawyers as well as people in the group who work at law firms in the group. Don't expect tons of free advice from them though. Their time is month.

If you want to join the group, please message one of the admin. The easiest way for them to add you is for them to add you as a Facebook friend, add you to the group, and then delete you as a Facebook friend. The group is composed of foreigners who have gotten divorced, are going through a divorce, or are looking for information about getting divorced.
  • Some people have divorced Koreans; other people have divorced foreigners. 
  • Some had kids; some didn't.
  • Some had good outcomes; others had bad outcomes.
Child Support
The amount paid takes both parents' income into account. You can find information about how much should be paid as well as what people have paid in the files of the group. 

Two Other Groups
There are also two other secret groups that focus on emotional support. One for foreign men who have divorced / are divorcing Korean women. The other is for foreign women who have divorced / are divorcing Korean men. If you join the regular Getting Divorced in Korea group, someone should be able to point you in the right direction so you can join one of the other groups as well.

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


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2016 Baby Fairs in Korea

Below you can find information about baby fairs in 2016. This post contains information about baby fairs for other years.

Baby Fairs are great since you can see and try many things you might want to buy for your baby. Some fairs have an entrance fee, though usually if you pre-register, it's waived. Prices range widely for the items. My suggestion would be to try the items out and then buy them at home or have friends or family ship or bring them to you. You should also definitely consider a baby registry. You can then have people ship you the items, go get them when you visit, or have family bring them when they visit.

Even if you don't buy anything from the fair, it's still nice to be able to see the item ahead of time and sometimes you can get samples. Some booths even give out generous gifts. Many people order online or have friends or family members bring things when they come to visit since it's usually cheaper that way.

Below you can find info for baby fairs in 2016. For more information check out their websites or call them. All of them are held in big malls and should have English speakers. If they don't, call 120 and they will do a three-way call and translate for you. Or you could try Ask Ajumma.

Baby Fairs by Location
AT Center in Gangnam
  • Mar. 10-13
  • June 3-6
  • Sept. 30-Oct. 3
  • Nov. 10-13

Cheonan Baby Fair at Cheonan Stadium
  • Mar. 17-20

COEX in Gangnam
  • Feb. 18-21
  • Aug. 11-14
  • Nov. 24-27

Mom and Baby Expo and Korea Baby and Education Fair at KINTEX in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do
  • Jan 28-31
  • Mar. 24-27
  • June 16-19
  • Aug. 12-15

Seoul Baby Fair at SETEC in Gangnam
  • Jan 21-24
  • Apr. 7-10
  • Sept. 22-25

Seoul International Mom and Baby Fair at SIBC in Yongsan
  • Apr. 16

Yongsan Babyexpo at the War Memorial
  • Mar. 18-20 
Baby Fairs by Dates

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