Why Is Breastfeeding So Accepted in China?

When you are getting ready to have your first child, there is a lot to learn about in a little bit of time. You have to learn about the health of your baby, what they will need, ready your home for your new arrival and more. One thing that you will need to consider is the idea of breastfeeding your baby. However, this natural process is frowned upon in many places. If you are in China, though, what can you expect? In this article, we will take a look at the semantics of breastfeeding when you are in China. Why Is Breastfeeding Important? Before we go any further, it is important to understand why you should care whether or not you can breastfeed your baby. After all, why deal with the controversy if there is an alternative like formula? First of all, your breast milk provides your baby with the

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Breastfeeding Infographic

I came across this excellent infographic from the wonderful people over at www.positivehealthwellness.com. Click on the graphic to visit their site and checkout the wonderful things they’re working on.

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Childbirth and Childcare in Qingdao

Last month I had the pleasure and opportunity to sit on a panel for the Qingdao International Business Association (QIBA). The topic of the panel was “Childbirth and Childcare in Qingdao: What are the options for expats?” Check out the “A-listers” I got to sit on the same stage with: Dr. HuYoung, Chair of Pediatrics for Qingdao United Family Hospital Dr. Sally Han, Director of the International Medical Affairs Department at Qingdao Municipal Hospital Dr. Hannah La, an Ob/Gyn at the Qingdao United Family Hospital. Ruth Greene, Doula services, cultural support, and Chinese-English translation for expats in the Qingdao area The panel discussion proved to be very excellent and I hope helpful to everyone in attendance. For more about the topics discussed, click here. For a few more pictures, click here. Video of the event to come soon.

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Four Tips for Obtaining Non-Chinese Citizenship for your Born-In-China Baby

Being married to a Chinese national, I’d assumed that our kids would have dual nationality until they were old enough to decide which one they wanted to keep. Growing up, I knew several military kids had two nationalities, and while it was naive to assume that every country had the same policies, it never crossed my mind to check this out. Until I was three months pregnant. I won’t lie; I felt sick to my stomach when I read on the American embassy’s website that China doesn’t recognize dual nationality. We’d have to pick one or the other for our little one. Luckily, we were in agreement that our future kids should go to the USA for high school and college, to be spared the all-day-and-well-into-the-night study sessions which are the norm for Chinese teens. So it was quite easily decided that we’d give them American nationality. Check Your Country’s Embassy Website Regularly I continued to read the then-current regulations about getting American citizenship for kids born abroad and it’s quite straightforward.

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How to Deal with Strangers Touching Your Baby in China

Most parents, whether they live in China or not, know the frustrations of having to deal with strangers wanting to touch their newborn. Living in China means facing these experiences, on a far greater scale, and in ways that will surely blow your mind. We have had complete strangers pick up our child, and walk away! Many lean in close to look at our son, and then touch his face. To be honest, this infuriated me in the beginning. Trusting that a complete stranger has clean hands, in any country, is a risky game. As your child gets older and their immune system has strengthened a little, these intrusive touches may begin to bother you less, but still many parents are highly aggravated by these actions. By the time that your little one can walk, they will be bombarded by one group after the next, all wanting a photo with this sweet foreign face. Here

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Teaching Kids to Embrace Cultural Diversity

As a couple who have become parents in an exclusively foreign environment, this has been a wonderful chance for us to introduce our child to racial and cultural diversity. We are blessed to be able to raise our son abroad, but since we are from different countries, no matter where we live, at least one of us will always be a foreigner. In our community, and while out and about traveling the world, we come across so many ethnicities. This gives our son plenty of wonderful opportunities to learn and appreciate how different cultures live. Understanding that people are not all the same will enable your children to embrace and value the things that make each person or group of people different. Children really do notice differences, so take the time to teach what is important to each culture and help strengthen acceptance and understanding. Even though we are currently

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The Ultimate Rule Guide for Pregnancy in China

Every culture has different rules for pregnant women. While we were traveling through Thailand earlier this year I was about 5 months pregnant, and on more than one occasion we were told that it was okay for me to drink a bit of alcohol, even though I was expecting. The same opinion holds for some European cultures, but that would never be accepted here in China where rules for pregnancy are extremely strict. Chinese women have a special set of rules to follow. This list in not exhaustive. It is simply the rules that I can remember hearing, or reading about, over the last 9 months of being pregnant in China. Food and Diet Pregnancy is considered a “hot” condition, so to balance the scale between “hot and cold” or “ying and yang”, so called “cold foods” must be consumed throughout the pregnancy. I was therefore told by another pregnant

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Battery Sizes in China

…and how to ask for Vodka, too The other day I went to the hardware store to get some batteries. I knew some of the battery names, but one that I didn’t know was how to say “9-volt battery”. So, I went in hoping that I would be able to communicate with the shop owners what kind of battery I was looking for. After a few attempts back and forth he finally brought out the one I was looking for and said, “jiǔ fútè” (九伏特), teaching me how to say the word “nine volt”. Immediately, I heard the similarity of the Chinese word for volt to the English equivalent, and I said, “vole-tuh”, trying to emphasize the sound to make it sound like the Chinese word. The shop owner said, “bu bu bu, fútè“. I laughed and tried to explain that the word must’ve come as an English transliteration. But

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Gift Ideas for Your Friend who Plans to Breastfeed in China

Preparing for breastfeeding in China requires us informing those around us about it. There is no shame in whether you breastfeed or formula-feed. It is, after all, a choice. However, letting your close ones know your choices would help be aware and be more supportive. In the spirit of these choices, I would like to talk about gift ideas for your friend who Plans to Breastfeed in China. The past couple of years brought in a baby boom among the locals and the expat community. Here in Zhuhai we don’t have a huge number of expats, but someone is having a baby every few months! Recently, the Chinese government has been very much in favour of breastfeeding. And that resulted in nurses constantly encouraging new moms to at least try and breastfeed. In reality, many of them don’t have much training in this area. And per few of my friends

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Big News!

Back in China! The big news is that we’re back in China! After a 4 year hiatus, we’re back in the Middle Kingdom! We are living in Tianjin and looking forward to updating havingababyinchina.com with even more great content! I’m sure most of you are thinking? “Oh, I didn’t realize you weren’t in China.” It’s true. We were back in our home country reconnecting with family. But we’re back now! And we’re super excited to be here! Another Project This in no way has anything to do with babies…or China for that matter, but I am working on a new project. It’s been a dream of mine to create a place for people to learn how to trade commodities without all the pressure of brokers and losing potentially large amounts of money. So, I have finally started working on that dream and am now proud to say that I have

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Medication and Breastfeeding in China

In one of my the previous articles I touched on the subject of medication and breastfeeding in China. I always stress that moms need to advocate for themselves and their babies. This applies to public, private and international hospitals in China (and all over the world, for that matter). Remember: Most of the medication IS compatible with breastfeeding and only a tiny fraction gets through to mother’s milk. When you are prescribed medication you need to ask these questions before you obediently proceed to buy them: Is this medicine compatible with breastfeeding? Will this medicine have any adverse reaction in my baby? And then, be prepared that the doctor might tell you that you need to either pump-and-dump (don’t ever do it!) or stop breastfeeding for a couple of days (he might as well ask you to wean your baby). What can you do when the medication is not compatible

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What to Do if You’re Bitten by a Dog in China

So, in my last post I told the story about how I was surrounded by an angry pack of dogs and ultimately bitten twice by a German Shepherd. If you haven’t read about that experience yet, be sure to click here. After I was bitten by the dog – and the initial shock of the situation – we found our way to a friend’s house and told them about what happened. The dog hadn’t done terrible damage to my leg. However, he did break the skin and my pant leg in the area around my knee and hip. This, of course, meant that I would have to get the dreaded rabies shot. If an animal breaks the skin when biting you, his saliva, which may contain the rabies virus, also gets in your blood stream. Basically, if he’s got rabies – so, now, do you. Now, my whole life, all

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The Time I Saved my Wife and Unborn Child’s Lives

…Or why I’m (irrationally) afraid of dogs Today, as I was bringing the trash outside, I had a moment where I audibly gasped as fear rippled through my body. I’m not exactly a fearful person, but the sight of an unexpected, large dog only 15 feet away from me and headed my direction will cause it every time. Truth is, I’m undeniably and irrationally afraid of dogs. In fact, one time I was literally standing on a 40 degree roof of a house and was seized with fear because I thought I heard a dog coming at me! I guess that’s the problem with irrational fear – it’s not rational. I haven’t always been afraid of dogs. Growing up I liked dogs. At my friends’ houses I wasn’t afraid to pet their dogs. And I certainly didn’t seize up with fear if I saw one. But we never had a

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Breastfeeding in China – Tongue-Tied, Lip-Tied and What to do About it

With my first daughter I went through breastfeeding “hell” in the first 6 months. Besides nurses latching her wrong, which resulted in 2 months of sharp pain, I had no clue what was wrong, why she was losing breast, why she never seemed satisfied with nursing, etc. It was 2008, just after the melamine scandal broke in China, and I was terrified of any formula (even though she had to be given formula in the first 24 hours at the hospital), so I bit my lip and suffered through pain and exhaustion in order to make breastfeeding work. And it did. I breastfed her for 2 years and she was weaned 2 weeks after her 2nd birthday. Only years later, when I had my 3rd child, did I realized that she was lip-tied (her tie broke when she fell down on her face at the age of 2 – I

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Tips to Attain Medical Care in China when you Don’t Speak Chinese

Living or traveling to a foreign country can be quite scary especially when you need medical aid and the people around don’t speak English. If you are traveling to China or planning on living in China, here are some helpful hints that will make navigate the Chinese health care system: Tip 1: Where to go in case of an emergency In case of a medical emergency, the main concern most people have is where is the closest hospital. In China, you can’t just ask where is the closest hospital to treat my emergency. Hospitals function slightly differently in China. Not all hospitals will accept all types of patients. Many times patients arrive at the hospital only to be diverted to another hospital. Hospitals have specialties and mostly, only children hospitals will accept children. So, it is a good idea to find out which hospital will treat your problem before setting

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Four Reasons Why Raising your Kids in China Is a Good Idea

Expatriates from Western nations who arrive in China for the first time to work and raise a family may feel overwhelmed by the differences in lifestyle and language. But the easy availability of international schools which use English as a medium of instruction removes all worry about education. The cultural barrier is the most difficult to surmount for adults as children are able to adjust much more easily as they come in closer contact with local culture among school friends. Discipline and Respect As an expatriate you know that Chinese culture is very different from yours and may worry that children will feel alienated when they go back home, but the rich cultural heritage of China can teach them valuable lessons in discipline that they will not learn elsewhere. As a parent you can help your children learn the positives of both cultures so they grow up to be more

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How to Find the Right Gynecologist When You Are in China

Woman’s body is a very fragile and a complex system. A woman needs to spend a lot of time for our regular checks and consultations to keep a check on our system and remain healthy. Choosing gynecologist can be slightly stressful for a woman as she needs to be prepared to share some intimate information with the doctor if necessary. On the whole, a gynecologist may play a significant role in a woman’s health. China is a country which relies on a lot on their traditional Chinese medicine along with the use of advanced technologies.   Gynecology in China – China is one of the most developed countries in terms of technology, but they give a lot of importance to their traditional methods of treatment. Chinese medicine handles the gynecology as complicated procedure in which they try to take a deep insight into the problem. Apart from directly treating a

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Tips While Traveling to China with your Children

Planning a vacation to China with the entire family is not so easy, especially if you’re traveling with kids. China is a wonderful place to visit with its many historical buildings, ethnic culture and local cuisine, not to mention the Great Wall; however your kid’s needs and requirements have to be taken into consideration too before you can plan your sightseeing itinerary. Here are a few child-friendly tips to keep in mind while traveling with your children to China: What to pack Apart from carrying any particular or specific brands of food or toiletries that your kids are used to, you can find almost everything in China’s local supermarkets so traveling light, especially with kids, would be preferable. If you are visiting China’s upscale cities like Beijing and Shanghai then you will have no problems finding western brands of goods that your kids are used to. But if you are

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10 Things I learned about VBAC in China

China is constantly changing and adapting to the rest of the world. However, it is important to have patience and understanding when it comes to certain medical procedures that are still new here. VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) is an example of one of these procedures. Here are few things you need to know if you’d like to attempt a VBAC in a Chinese hospital: Advocate for yourself and investigate which hospitals and doctors are pro-VBAC. The doctor will be the one to give the green light to the hospital, so they don’t suddenly push you towards the C-section. Be mentally ready that you won’t get much assistance during contractions. And be aware that they may not really monitor the baby during labor: in the 16 hours I was at the hospital, I only had the monitor hooked up once at the very beginning. They did mention they would monitor

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Facing Culture Shock in China

China’s growth as an economic superpower has opened up opportunities for several multinationals to set up operations here and bring their countrymen to run these branches. It is not surprising for local residents to now have expatriates working as colleagues in these multinationals instead of seeing them as just tourists. The centuries old culture of China that has remained unaffected continues to shock and intrigue expats as they try to assimilate themselves into the surroundings.   Greeting and acknowledging people in China – The usual practice of greeting people in China is putting a smile to those lips and bowing your head down in acknowledgement along with verbal greeting of “hi hao” and “nin hao”. Though shaking hands is not a common greeting among Chinese culture, they have started to practice it with their Western counterparts. To increase familiarity with each other, expats may get invited to their Chinese colleagues’

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Cost of Living as an Expat in China

Moving to China may seem like a daunting task if you have lived in Western nations but lucrative pay package and a luxurious lifestyle lures many to its shores. Though culturally and language wise there may be many challenges, there are several expats from all across the world living in these large cities and have assimilated themselves to local life. Before moving to China for a job assignment, expats should research cost of living in the country and make sure whether it suits there standards or not. Though the cost of living China is low when compared to Western nations, it is increasing rapidly in large and developing cities . For an expat, the salary can be low or high depending on the kind of life they try to lead in China and their attempts to recreate similar lifestyle practices that they are used to. Basic expenses in China –

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18 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding in China

When I had my first child in Zhuhai (Guangdong province), I was quite disappointed as there was absolutely no breastfeeding support from nurses or pediatricians at the hospital. The formula was being pushed, the baby latched so badly which resulted in 2 months of excruciating pain (which I found out few years later was also due to my baby being tongue and lip tied!); a pediatrician at a well-baby check tried to convince me my baby is allergic to my milk when she merely had a reaction to something I ate; I was told by so many people that breastfeeding is bad for me and the baby when they learned I was breastfeeding her past 6 months… I could go on and on! We did formula for a day in the hospital as I had a reaction to anesthesia and was in and out of consciousness. But my baby rejected

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Places to Visit when Traveling to China with your Children

Traveling is an adventure. Traveling with children is an art. Finding the balance between destinations that offer culture and excitement and destinations that are child friendly is the challenge. With a little bit of planning in advance, you can ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time. Traveling to China with children is surprisingly fun. Every major city from Beijing to Hong Kong has plenty of child friendly attractions that are also fun for adults.   Beijing Beijing is a bustling city but it also has many great child friendly attractions that the whole family can enjoy. Beijing World Park One place where children can really enjoy themselves is the Beijing World Part. This place is an extremely educational and entertaining attraction. This theme park has miniature monuments of world landmarks and many great cultural performances. Beijing Aquariums Beijing has two great aquariums – Beijing Ocean Park and Pacific Underwater World.

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Registering Your Baby in China

This article first appeared on Deltabridges.com and is published with permission from the author. If you just had or plan to have a baby born in China, here is some very useful information you should be aware of. When you decided to have a nice birthing experience in China, what you may not have known that there is a law according to which all babies born to foreign parents in China must be registered according to the following procedure within 1 month of birth. It is not about getting your baby a birth certificate, a passport or even a China visa, it is about BIRTH REGISTRATION. The following information should not be dismissed and we hope you carefully study it and follow the procedure precisely. This is how it is done: Get the birth certificate as soon as possible after birth. As exciting and busy your life is overseas with

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Giving Birth to Baby in China – What Expats Need to Know?

Many Expats in China who are expecting a baby prefer to have childbirth in an international hospital, as their staff are fluent in English. Besides the comfort of language, these hospitals also provide the latest emergency facilities and have experienced doctors who are trained in the West. Though these hospitals are more expensive then local ones, the expats are covered by international insurance which takes care of hospital charges. Expenses and facilities Expatriates fluent in Mandarin and Chinese couples can choose between government and private hospitals to have a baby in China, as both maintain a high level of hygiene and care for mothers and infants. Depending on the prenatal care and childbirth conditions, local China hospitals charge between RMB 8000 to RMB 50000 for delivery and stay. The vast difference between these charges is due to the type of ward selected and the type of delivery conducted depending on

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Does China’s One Child Policy Apply to Expats?

A question that is on the mind of many expatriates heading to China, especially when going with a young family is definitely, “Does China’s one child policy apply to Expats”? The simplest answer is ‘No’, but there are some situations where conditions do apply. Implementation of the one-child policy China’s government in the 1950’s encouraged its citizens to have as many children as possible to increase the work force of China. But in about thirty years the government realized the population growth rate was sky rocketing and would only take 24 years before the population doubled! The government took serious measures to implement the policy strictly starting officially from September, 1980. The policy gives exceptions to ethnic minorities, parents with handicapped first born children, and other issues, and have more recently relaxed the rules somewhat. Interested in learning more about the One-Child Policy? Check out these books: Just One Child:

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What Expats should know about Healthcare in China

The healthcare system of Shanghai is finer when compared to second, third tier cities or rural areas, as it is a first tier city. That being said, the healthcare system is still perceived as limited by many expatriates. China being a vast country, the accessibility, care and the cost vary between different places. Healthcare service China’s healthcare can be described in one word as inconsistent. Rural areas are lacking basic medical facilities as compared to urban areas. In cities, the accessibility for medical services is much easier. China’s healthcare system is deficient. This is not the case with every facility, but many factors like subsequent queues, language barrier and slow service discourage many Westerners to seek medical treatment facilities in China. The methods of treatment in China vary, but it can be said that it is in accordance with Western standards. Expats using public medical treatments in China should be

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Preparing your child for the transition

For families with small children, even moving to a different state within their own country can be stressful, let alone moving to a different country like China, which has a culture vastly different from Western countries. Besides the stress of learning a new language, children will also have to contend with leaving their friends from school and the neighborhood. In addition to reading the below tips, also be sure to check out this cool, visual book to help you talk about China with your child: All About China: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More for Kids. Preparing your child for your move to China is an important step to moving overseas – even for toddlers. More than likely, your child will be excited about the move, especially if you are also excited about it. But in order to minimize the effects of culture shock, they should be made aware of several

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Five Things You Should Know About Living in China

I still remember the time I realized that moving to China might actually be a possibility. I was excited, scared, and really had no idea what to expect. Being considered a “third world country”, I didn’t know how to prepare. I didn’t even know what language to study! Should I study Mandarin, Cantonese or something else entirely? To be sure, China is strikingly different from life in the West. If the possibility of moving to China is looming on your mind, it is not uncommon to think and rethink the idea before breaking the news to the family. It’s only natural to be worried about moving half way around the world. But, let’s not let our worries hinder such an opportunity to embrace new culture and truly understand and experience diversity. Let’s take a look at some of the important changes you will experience as an Expat. Social Media. What

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Having a Healthy Pregnancy Away from Home, In China

Moving to a new place can be a brave decision for an expecting couple, where as moving to an entirely new continent like China can be chaotic at the least. The customs followed in China before, during and after child birth can be confusing for a Westerner. Understanding the traditions and customs and being equipped with as much information as possible can help you have a healthy and happy pregnancy. Once you know which city in China you will be residing, start your research about the hospitals in the area. If you are staying in tier-1 cities like Beijing or Shanghai, you can easily find hospitals and doctors who speak English and practice Western medicine. Most of these hospitals also offer parenting lessons and physical activity classes like maternity yoga. Medical insurance from your work can cover the hospital expenses, which are comparatively high than at home. If you are

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Moving to China? Here is All You Need to Know

If you are moving to China for work, the first step you should take is research. Do away with old-fashion images of workers in paddy fields. China is especially diverse. In addition to the English-speaking Chinese population, you can expect expats from around the world representing their company’s interest in China. Living in China If you are moving to China with your children, the move will definitely be daunting. Raising children in a completely different culture will require adjustments. Spend time before the move learning the language. Allow older children to help in the decision making process about school and/or house. Once you arrive in China, travel around with your family and get comfortable with your surroundings. These tiny steps will make the adjustment process easier. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you do not have to turn down this job opportunity. There are many Chinese hospitals

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How is it to live in China as a Foreigner

Moving to a new place is always challenging, especially when that new place is an altogether new country. In a country not known for it’s ethic diversity, you might think it will be very difficult to blend in. However, it won’t take long to find where other foreigners congregate – especially if you are staying in large metropolises, like Shanghai or Beijing. From Christian fellowships to the bar scene, there is likely a place where you’ll fit in. However, it is inevitable, and desirable, that you will find yourself engaging with the local culture.   Being the odd one out One of our most memorable experiences with having young children in China was going to the Summer Palace in Beijing. We had been in China for a couple of years by this time, so we were used to getting a lot of attention. But this was unlike anything we’d ever

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Interesting Chinese Traditions Related to Childbirth

Not only is it fascinating to hear about various pregnancy and birth-related customs and traditions followed by the Chinese people, but it can also help the expat to better understand and be aware of attitudes and behaviors of doctors, friends and neighbors when having a baby in China. There are many pregnancy and childbirth-related traditions that may seem odd to expats, but are perfectly normal for Chinese people. As with any discussion of traditions in China, the following are generalizations and may or may not be apply to every area of China.   Pregnancy-related traditions China’s pregnancy customs have their own place in society. It is believed that whatever a pregnant woman does and sees influences her unborn baby. So pregnant women read good poetry, avoid gossiping and avoid losing their temper. There are many taboos related to the kind of food a pregnant woman should eat. One such taboo

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Preparing for International School in China

When considering moving to China, one of the most important factors to consider is education for your child. While raising a child in China, it’s important that he or she gets the right kind of education. Many expat families living in China opt for international schools. Their curricula ensure that your child will receive a Western education along with a blend of other cultures and languages. For many, they have the perfect environment to put your child on the right path in life. What to look for? Choosing the right kind of school becomes important when raising children in China. One of the important factors to look for is location of the school. If you are living in a big city like Beijing, commuting time can be daunting. It is important to choose a school that is near your house. Keep in mind that international schools are popular among expat

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Helping Your Child Deal with Culture Shock in China

China is very rich in culture partially because, geographically, it is a very large nation. Its population of 1.35 billion people constitutes around 50 ethnic groups with customs and traditions varying accordingly. Such diversity can be unsettling for a foreigner and can be quite difficult to adapt to, especially when you’re raising children in China. An unfamiliar environment can cause culture shock in young children. Cause of shock Children adapt to changes more rapidly than adults do, but they face their own set of unique problems. For raising children in China, you have to deal with these problems to minimize culture shock. One of the major causes for culture shock is improper communication between parents and children. If you are moving to China and aren’t going to be returning to your home country any time soon, then be sure to convey that message to your child. Children often think they

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Interesting Birthing Customs Followed in China

Like most cultures, the Chinese have their fair share of superstition surrounding childbirth and pregnancy. The rich culture and age-old traditions in China are still strictly adhered to. According to legend, pregnancy is considered a “hot condition” so to maintain the balance of ‘yin-yang’ pregnant women are allowed to consume only cold food.   Common practices before birth Pre-natal Chinese rituals are a combination of avoidance and protection. The mother starts guarding her thoughts. Young mothers are advised not to watch anything violent or participate in any event that is unpleasant including gossip. Women are discouraged from criticizing others for it is believed that the baby will become what you criticize. Chinese pregnancy customs forbids sex when pregnant to prevent miscarriage. They are not allowed to attend funerals either. There are many food taboos associated with pregnancy. Mothers are fed only well cooked and well mashed food. Pregnant Cantonese women

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Culture Shock in China

China is an Asian developing country with a different culture, and as such, people visiting China from other countries or foreigners living in China can sometimes face a culture shock. What to expect Chinese people are generally quite friendly and hospitable. The country has a collective culture that values society over individuals. Expect a lot of friendly warmth in China. Unexpected lunch and dinner invites to strangers are common here. Do not expect everyone whom you encounter to understand English, even in China hospitals. Bigger cities have a considerable English speaking population, but taxi drivers and domestic helpers do not generally understand English. Foreign visitors, especially children, are generally given a lot of attention by being pointed or stared at. This is general curiosity and you should try not to get offended by it. Check out The Chinese concept of privacy and personal space is quite different, as such, people

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Fun Activities for your Kids in Beijing

Growing up in China can be great fun for your kids if you allow them to enjoy the country. There’s no doubt that children have an open-mind, are receptive and learn new things fast, so make the most of raising children in China by giving them an extra advantage that their counterparts in your home country don’t have. There are many fun activities in Beijing for your kid to enjoy. If your child is about eight-ten years old, take the little one to the Mutianyu segment of the Great Wall. There’s an over 700-meter-long ski lift to the top, plus a toboggan ride. Your kid will love it; do it one weekend every couple of months or so. Better still, make it a family tradition! Head to the Beijing World Park, which houses the most famous landmarks from several countries, all in miniature. The park is about 20 km from

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Pregnant in China: Some Helpful Tips

For expats living in China, being pregnant can bring up a whole range of anxieties and issues that they might not even fret about in their home countries. Such anxieties come with living in a country with strong traditions, unfamiliarity with local language and customs, and lacking a support system. However, if expectant parents do a bit of planning and organizing, then having a baby in China can be an enjoyable experience. Prenatal planning You can take up the following simple steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery in China. If you are having a baby in China, the first step to take is to consult a doctor. For this, you have many options in the country. One option is to go to a hospital that has a doctor trained in China. He or she will most likely adhere to the local pregnancy treatments and delivery systems to the

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We’ve had a Baby

We are very excited to announce that we have had another baby! Our daughter was born at home on September 26 naturally. It was such a great experience and vastly contrasting to the birth of our other children. We’re happy to say that she and mom are healthy and strong!

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Big News Coming Soon!

Since we started this site back in 2009 our goal has always been to make having a baby in China easier. From creating some basic information, to our awesome pregnancy vocabulary page, to this Expert Blog, it’s all been about helping the Expat in China have peace of mind. For the past few months we’ve been working on a few projects that we think will make having a baby in China even easier! Stay tuned as we set to unveil our latest ideas to helping you out over the next few months!

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Cost of Raising a Child in China

The Chinese economy has  been flourishing at a rapid  rate. However along with the steady economic progress, the cost of living in China has also been growing over the years. The higher cost of living in China is such a stark reality for its citizens that when in 2013 the Chinese government eased up on ‘one child policy’, it raised concerns among the people.   If the cost of raising children in China is a matter of anxiety for its citizens, how does it affect the expatriate community in China? The concerns Bringing up kids is not an easy thing to do, even when parents do not have any financial or personal problems. There are a million things that could go wrong or there is always a nagging feeling at the back of parents’ mind if they are doing all they can for their children. This is a part of

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Importance of Language Acquisition for Expatriate Parents in China

Expatriates in China can manage to navigate their daily life without knowing a single word of Mandarin or Cantonese or any other Chinese dialect. This is mainly because many in China now also speak fluent – or at least functional – English, so language issues don’t always arise for many expats. This is especially true for people living in urban areas. But for those that are raising children in China, then there are a few more things to consider regarding language. So, if this is the scenario you face, then adding, “learn Chinese” to your agenda will serve you well. Here are a couple of reasons why:   Because your children will learn the new language. Yours might be a ‘single language household’, but if you are raising children in China, the fact remains that your children will grow up learning the language of the people around them. Expats kids

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China Calling: Moving with Children

Moving to a completely new country like China can be quite a daunting task, and a little bit exciting as well. The jitters can really set in when you are planning a move with children. Concerns over your children/child transitioning to a new cultural set up, new school, new friends and a new environment are bound to make you re-think the decision many times before the actual move. The good news is that the transition can be made easy if you prepare yourself and your children well in advance. It is usually the fear of the unknown that keeps you awake at night. The Chinese love children and they are one of the few modern cultures that allow children to be children. There are many good international schools, hospitals and an overall positive environment in China. So rest assured, as these are not the things you should worry about. Tips

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Some Pregnancy Traditions in China

  Being pregnant and delivering a baby in China can be quite an experience. One of the most interesting or rather strange things that you may come across, especially in South China, is that people love giving “good advice” to pregnant women. As soon as your pregnancy is visible, do not be surprised when women even on the streets hurry along to have a small pregnancy chat with you. Every culture has its own traditions about pregnancy that are strongly driven by their faith, beliefs and ancient wisdom. The Chinese are no different and have a long list of customs and do’s and don’ts that may sound strange to an expat.   Some Notable Traditions Once the pregnancy is confirmed, the father-to-be has to carry his pregnant wife over burning coal, to ensure that the mother undergoes labor successfully. It is believed that everything a pregnant woman does, sees, listens

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How Not to Offend the Chinese: A Quick Guide to Pregnancy Traditions

China is among the oldest, continuously inhabited countries in the world. For thousands of years, the Chinese have been at the forefront of innovation and technology. There are innumerable techniques and gadgets that the world owes to China. The country is also known for its strong beliefs and traditions. These traditions, norms and folkways are still deeply embedded in the populace, and deviating from them can be offensive and even a taboo in the country. If you are a foreigner planning on having a baby in China, here are certain China pregnancy customs that you need to know about. What you Expose Yourself To Once you find out that you are pregnant, you will be told to focus on the quality of your thoughts, as it is believed that whatever the mother thinks will also be carried on to the child. This also holds true for the kind of stories

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Move to China: 6 Tips for Raising Kids in The Middle Kingdom

The following article is presented by HBIC contributor Jerry Jones. Jerry has vast experience in China and writes a popular blog at www.thecultureblend.com. Check out his site to read more awesomeness. Hey good news.  No matter what you’re feeling right now . . . you’re normal. If you are among the thousands of families who are in (or recently went through) the process of  packing up your lives and relocating to China then I’m happy to tell you that whatever is going on inside that confused little head and heart of yours is absolutely, undeniably . . . normal. It’s normal to be excited.  It’s normal to be scared. It’s even normal to be massive amounts of both at the same time and not know which one you are at any given moment. Don’t feel guilty if you catch yourself looking at your kids and thinking to yourself, “what in the

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Immunization Information for Travelers to China

In China, the general populace follows the vaccination schedule; still, it is recommended for travelers to get vaccinated for certain diseases before taking a trip to China. Visit your doctor 4-8 weeks before your trip and get the required shots. Here is a low-down on recommended immunization shots if you are traveling to China. In the China immunization schedule, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines are compulsory for all citizens. Still, these are recommended for all travelers irrespective of whether they are visiting towns or cities. Hepatitis A is advised for everybody over one year of age. Vaccination for typhoid for travelers who may eat food outside of big hotels or restaurants is highly advocated.  Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) shots are suggested for everybody born after 1956, provided that they had already not been affected by these three diseases earlier. Japanese encephalitis vaccine is endorsed for travelers who would

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Healthy Pregnancies in China

Are you an expat living in China? Are you expecting, but worried about having a baby in China? With the right information, you can expect to have a healthy pregnancy even while being away from home. Today many hospitals and facilities in China for both pre and postnatal care are on par with the countries in the West. This is especially true for big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. The smaller city’s hospitals will certainly look and feel different from that of the West, but offer many services available in the bigger cities. Hospitals in China Women living in 1st tier cities and some 2nd tier cities in China have the option of delivery either in a Western-style hospital or a Chinese hospital. Western-style hospitals mostly have doctors who are educated in the West, can speak fluent English, understand concerns of expats, and will administer painkillers and other medicines as

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An Expat’s Guide to Raising Children in China: Pre-Schools and Day Care

Raising children in China is a whole lot different from Western countries. There’s the obvious language gap that you need to get past, and even once that is taken care of, you realize that the cultural differences are far more pronounced. A common dilemma that expat parents face is of choosing the right preschool for their child. Here’s some basic know-how for expat parents figuring out preschool or day-care options. The Language Barrier When you’re putting your children into school, chances are you will look out for one that is bilingual. You should understand that the word “”bilingual” gets thrown around quite easily with educational institutions. In many cases, it translates to a weekly or bi-weekly class by a non-Chinese teacher, which may not suffice what you had in mind. Having said that, there are genuine bilingual schools that dedicate a certain amount of time every day to each language,

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Raising a Child in China

The Chinese culture is one of the oldest cultures in the world with great emphasis on family traditions, discipline, hard work and merit. Chinese parents unquestionably pass down these habits to their children. If you are a foreigner raising children in China, your little ones automatically learn these values through outside influences. There are also other factors that could influence a child’s upbringing. The education Education in China reinforces great discipline and excellence. Children are often subjected to strict schedules that are expected to be followed, failing to do so, often results in punishments. Methods like ‘shaming’ are often used by teachers at schools and at home by parents. An outsider might find these practices harsh or crude. So it is vital that you understand the nuances of the Chinese education system if you decide to stay in China long enough for your kids to attend school. The Help In

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In the Mix (Part 2)

The following article is presented by HBIC contributor Valerie Wiens. Valerie has been supporting breastfeeding families in China since 2008. She is a La Leche League leader and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). This is part 2 of a two part series. To view the previous post, please click here. In the last post, we looked at the first 4 questions based on the below email from a foreign father married to a Chinese wife. In this post, we will look at the remaining questions. “My wife and I have a two-week baby born via c-section who has been fed formula the first three days at the hospital, and since coming back to the house breastfeeds very slowly, preferring to snack at the breast and chow down on the bottle.  He also falls asleep at the breast every five minutes or so, and if breastfed fully takes two

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In the Mix (Part 1)

The following article is presented by HBIC contributor Valerie Wiens. Valerie has been supporting breastfeeding families in China since 2008. She is a La Leche League leader and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). In the Mix (Part 1) The Laowai Father and Chinese Mother as New Parents In my experience with supporting new families with breastfeeding, I occasionally come across a culturally mixed couple who have recently become new parents. They face a unique group of challenges. They are also blessed with a unique opportunity for growth and communication. Usually, the foreign husband is the one who first contacts me. Though the laowai fathers are the ones who find me, the Chinese mothers are aware that he is contacting me and I make sure to talk with the mother directly. As I’ve helped several of these families, I have noticed some strong recurring themes. I hope I can

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