© UNICEF HK/2015
About ‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ Community Support Campaign
Giving children the best start in life begins with breastfeeding. Breastmilk has an extraordinary range of benefits on a child’s survival, health, nutrition and development that formula milk can never substitute. Breastfeeding also contributes to maternal health and can reduce public healthcare expenses in the long term.
UNICEF and the World Health Organization make recommendations on breastfeeding as follows: initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after the birth; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; and continued breastfeeding for two years or more, together with safe, nutritionally adequate, age appropriate, responsive complementary feeding starting from the age of six months.
According to the breastfeeding survey conducted by the Department of Health in 2015, although as many as 86% of mothers of babies born in 2014 initiate breastfeeding on discharge from hospitals, the exclusive breastfeeding rate of Hong Kong infants at 4 months is 27%. There is still much room for improvement of the breastfeeding rate as compared to some overseas countries.
A prospective study on the breastfeeding and weaning practices among Hong Kong mothers points out the main reason for mothers to stop breastfeeding in the first three months after delivery is “returning to workplace”; another survey conducted by the Department of Health in 2013 indicates 60% of mothers experienced a need to breastfeed in public to respond to baby’s needs. For those who do not have such an experience, half expressed their wish to do so.
To shift this trend, Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF, in collaboration with the Food and Health Bureau and the Department of Health, launched ‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ community support campaign during the World Breastfeeding Week 2015 to work first and foremost with workplaces, public places and every Hong Kong citizen to support mothers by creating a breastfeeding friendly community.
Organizer – UNICEF HK
The Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) was founded in 1986 and was established as an independent local non-government organization to raise funds through public donations, partnerships with companies, special events, etc. to support UNICEF’s work. UNICEF HK also promotes and advocates for children’s rights via organizing education and youth programmes in Hong Kong.
UNICEF HK promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding. In 1992, UNICEF HK formed the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Committee to promote and support breastfeeding in Hong Kong. The Committee was registered as the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association in June 1994 aimed at promoting breastfeeding and protecting infant health.
We are committed to creating a healthcare environment that enables mothers, families and other caregivers to make informed decisions about optimal infant feeding. For more, visit www.unicef.org.hk
Mr Peter Poon
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