Interview 43

Age at interview: 24
Brief Outline: Breastfed without problem. Stayed with mother-in-law for 40 days after birth. Sore nipples & breasts, mother-in-law massaged with oil.
Background: At the time of interview, this 24 year old, Pakistani woman was breastfeeding her 18 month old son. A housewife, she was married to a social worker.

More about me...

This woman gave up her college studies in her second year to enter into her arranged marriage. She had learned English at school but had difficulty with the local accent. She did not have the confidence to attend antenatal classes but read many books and leaflets supplied by her health visitor. She chose to read antenatal material in English, reasoning that it would be good practice for her. She has since passed GCSE Grade 1 English and is now working on Grade 2. In the early days, she was often lonely, being on her own all day. After the birth of her baby, she went to stay in the home of her parents-in-law for forty days. There she received many visitors bearing congratulations and gifts for her and her baby son. Her mother-in-law did all of the cooking, cleaning and washing and all she had to do was breastfeed and attend to her baby. However, she missed her own mother who was in Pakistan and did not have the required documents for entry to Britain. When she returned to their own home with her husband and son, she was at first lonely again. She says that it was hard but nice to have her son for company. She is very happy to be a mother and is enjoying the experience, especially breastfeeding which has gone without a hitch. With her husband and son, she was able to visit her mother in Pakistan when the baby was nine months old and it was at this stage that her mother gave her lots of tips about childcare and parenting. She now attends a Sure Start Baby Caf' where she has met and can talk to other mothers, is able to attend various courses, such as her English lessons, and can take advantage of the cr'che. She describes herself as very happy.


Newly arrived from Pakistan, she was not confident enough to attend antenatal classes, so she...

Newly arrived from Pakistan, she was not confident enough to attend antenatal classes, so she...


So we were talking about when you were pregnant and how much you knew, did you go to ante-natal classes?

I came from Pakistan when I was pregnant I was very new here, and I couldn't go, I had got a leaflet and I couldn't understand, I couldn't see the street the names and I was very like I can see the I hadn't confidence to go outside, that's why I didn't go.

Did you speak English at that stage?

Yeah I learned from Pakistan but here accent is very different from Pakistan, very different and I've taken two years to learn here the accent, talking with people, my husband, my in-laws, brothers and sisters.

Right, so you didn't attend antenatal classes did you do any reading?

Yeah reading, yeah, books my health visitor gave me a lot of books, leaflets, I been reading all every week, like after two or three days when I was pregnant.

Right and what language were those in? 


In English? You were reading in English?


Did you get any material in your own languages?

Materials? No, I had a no need of it.

You didn't need it?


Do you know if there are breastfeeding information leaflets and things available in Urdu for example?


or Parsi?

I know, I know but, I wanted to read in English yeah, 'cause I.

Good practice?

Yeah good practice I wanted to read in English and 'cause for knowledge or for my child or for, what d'you call it? For in, living in England, 'cause here's everywhere English. You can read the books, a lot of books they are very helpful, very helpful, every experience I had I read before doing my experience, I read in books and leaflets and I been watching videos.

Oh yeah, yeah?

Yeah I've got by my health visitor about breastfeeding and that was, that's why I was very excited, I couldn't wait to give my breastfeed to my son.

So you were looking forward to it you were very excited about it?

Yeah, very much, yeah very excited, I was very excited.

Yeah and it's lived up to expectations?


You've enjoyed it?



She stayed with her mother-in law for forty days after her son's birth and received many visitors...

She stayed with her mother-in law for forty days after her son's birth and received many visitors...


Right, so you came home with this new baby?

Yeah it was very nice and, like I came as a mum [laughs], new mum and it was very, everyone well, was very happy, my in-laws, I went my in-laws home.

You went to your in-laws home?

Yeah 'cause nobody was here to help me about breastfeeding, about I had got stitches and I couldn't move, move and they helped me so much, that's why I stayed here.

And is that usual for people from your culture, your background do they go to live with their mother-in-law after the baby's born?

In Pakistan or here?


Yeah in Pakistan they go, their relatives and they help them yeah, like I been my mother-in-law's house.

And in Britain is that quite common too for Pakistani women in Britain to go and live with their mother-in-law?

Yeah like yeah, I feel that many relatives go there.

To the mother-in-law's?

Oh yeah mother-in-law's or sisters, sister-in-law's yeah to help them or, having help.

And what sort of help did she give you?

Like cooking, cleaning, looking after the big children, older children, yeah like this washing.

Did you have any responsibilities there or was, were you just responsible for looking after your baby?

Yeah just I was look, looking after my baby, that's it. Just giving him milk and changing him, that's it.

And what about at night time?

At night time he's been waking 'cause he was too small and he couldn't, he didn't know how to breastfeed or, with the time he, after about two or three weeks he was good, he slept at night about half night and he wake up again, but I missed the, those days 'cause they were very lovely, everyone was sleeping and both we wake up and he's been talking, my son been talking to me when he was little, he's been waking but not too much.

So when you first came home from hospital you fed him whenever he wanted it, night and day?


At night time did you sleep with your baby beside you?

Just for breastfeeding, not with me, I put him in a cot or a little basket.

He was in a basket beside you?

Yeah, near my bed, and when I fed him, in my hands?

Yeah you held him in your arms to feed him and then put him back in his basket?



In basket when he slept again.

Right, okay. And did your mother-in-law get up to help with those feeds?

Yeah when my nipple was sore and full of breastmilk, full of milk she, massage my breasts with the oil or creams, and she helped me yeah.

And what about, what special foods, did she feed you special foods to?

Yeah soups and soft vegetables, juices, and like chicken, eggs, cheese which were good for me and for my son.

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