The Pigeon Smile Lactation Research Institute "Happy Breastfeeding Support Book" (Japan)



The Pigeon Smile Lactation Research Institute was founded in March 2015 with the aim of identifying issues during the breastfeeding period for mothers, fathers, and babies and working with specialists to offer solutions. As part of these activities, we began distributing the “Happy Breastfeeding Support Book” in 2016. As of April 9, 2021, we have distributed approximately 660,000 copies of this free booklet to expectant and new parents through hospitals and government agencies.

Background to the “Happy Breastfeeding Support Book”

The Pigeon Smile Lactation Research Institute conducted a survey on breastfeeding in 2014, targeting mothers in Japan, China, and the United States in order to understand the status and awareness of breastfeeding among Japanese mothers. Based on the results of the survey, we identified a need to provide comprehensive information on breastfeeding during pregnancy in order to reduce the confusion of Japanese mothers and make their breastfeeding period happier. To do so, we developed and began to distribute the “Happy Breastfeeding Support Book.”

Summary of the results of the Three-Country Survey on Breastfeeding

  • Compared to China and the U.S., a smaller percentage of Japanese mothers answered that breastfeeding was on track early on. Japanese mothers also tended to feel that they were learning by trial and error for a longer period. In China and the U.S., the fact that colostrum has been produced or that ‘‘latch-on’’ has been achieved is a catalyst for feeling more quickly that breastfeeding is on track.
  • The average number of people who provided childcare counseling and emotional support to mothers was lowest in Japan. In particular, the percentage of mothers who used health care professionals as childcare counseling and emotional support was lower in Japan than in China or the U.S.
  • The percentage of mothers who prepared for breastfeeding during pregnancy tended to be lower in Japan than in China or the U.S. In the U.S., lactation guidance explains the benefits of breastfeeding and specific methodologies for practicing it. Furthermore, in the U.S., guidance is given to family members and others on how to support breastfeeding mothers and get involved in breastfeeding.

Features of the “Happy Breastfeeding Support Book”

The “Happy Breastfeeding Support Book” summarizes five important points about breastfeeding in an easy-to-understand format. The entire book can be read on the Pigeon Smile Lactation Research Institute website (Japanese only).

  1. The book provides information on “first milk” (colostrum) and “first latch-on,” and devising ways for mothers to recognize them as signs that they are able to breastfeed, helping mothers feel a little more confident during the initial trial-and-error breastfeeding period.
  2. The book consistently tells mothers that breastfeeding is different for everyone, to help them feel self-confident in their own condition.
  3. The book contains a list of “things to do during pregnancy” to make it easier for mothers to make concrete preparations before delivery and to ask for support from those around them.

The Pigeon Smile Lactation Research Institute will continue to promote the “Happy Breastfeeding Support Book” as it pursues further research and shares information with society to help mothers and fathers find more happiness in the breastfeeding period.