40 per cent of breastfeeding mothers are being discriminated, survey showsUNICEF HK, in partnership with the Government, launches ‘Breastfeeding Friendly Mall’ ahead of Mother’s Day


40 per cent of breastfeeding mothers are being discriminated, survey showsUNICEF HK, in partnership with the Government, launches ‘Breastfeeding Friendly Mall’ ahead of Mother’s Day


© UNICEF HK/2016


HONG KONG, 5 May 2016 – The Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) launched Breastfeeding Friendly Mall ahead of Mother’s Day, with the support from the Food and Health Bureau and Department of Health.

ELEMENTS becomes the first shopping mall to pledge their support and facilitate mothers to breastfeed their children in public places inside the mall. It marks a brand new milestone for ‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ campaign. Today, UNICEF HK organized the ‘Breastfeeding Friendly Mall Kick-off Ceremony x MOMents Mother’s Day Event’ at ELEMENTS, and announced the result of a survey on ‘Breastfeeding in Public Premises’, revealing that 40 percent of mothers who breastfeed in public premises have met unpleasant experience and complaints.

© UNICEF HK/2016

Hong Kong mothers who are currently breastfeeding or have ever breastfed their babies were invited to fill out an online survey on ‘Breastfeeding in Public Premises’ between 22 April 2016 and 26 April 2016, by UNICEF HK. Among 3,545 responding mothers, over 80 per cent said that they have breastfed in public premises, e.g. shopping malls, restaurants and parks, and nearly 40 per cent of them have encountered unpleasant experience, including being stared at, being advised to breastfeed in other places or being complained about.

The survey also regards the following factors most able to encourage breastfeeding in public:

  • ‘support and acceptance from general public’ and ‘the availability of breastfeeding-friendly policies in public premises’
  • nearly all mothers said they are more willing to breastfeed directly in public if the malls welcome them to breastfeed anywhere anytime

These findings point out that public attitude and breastfeeding friendly measures of public premises have significant impact on breastfeeding mothers.

“A telephone survey conducted by Department of Health last year revealed that, over 80 per cent of the 2,000 respondents said a mother breastfeeding next to them is acceptable, and they also agree that breastfeeding friendly measures in public premises should be improved. With the launch of Breastfeeding Friendly Mall, we wish to encourage more public premises to create a breastfeeding friendly environment to provide all round support to mothers,” said Dr Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health and officiating guest of the ceremony.

UNICEF recommends exclusive breastfeeding to six months of age and with the introduction of solid food, sustain breastfeeding until 2 years old or beyond. In Hong Kong, 86 per cents of mothers who gave birth in 2014 had initiated breastfeeding on discharge from hospital. However, only 24 percent of the babies born in the same year were breastfed at 6 months while solid food was introduced, which is far from fulfilling UNICEF’s recommendation. In view of this, UNICEF HK, in collaboration with Food and Health Bureau and Department of Health, launched ‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ campaign in August 2015 to mobilize different sectors of the community to support breastfeeding mothers.

At present, over 60 corporations have pledged to be a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace, and more than 60 restaurants in 17 districts in Hong Kong joined as Breastfeeding Friendly Public Premises. By launching Breastfeeding Friendly Mall today, we hope that breastfeeding mothers will be provided with all-round community support.

ELEMENTS is the first mall that pledged to support the‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ campaign. UNICEF HK and the Department of Health organized a briefing session in April this year, to let the frontline staff of the mall get more in depth understanding on the benefits of breastfeeding and and the needs of breastfeeding mothers.

 “A breastfeeding mother is well supported as long as the mall welcomes mothers to breastfeed anywhere anytime, and the staff are willing to provide assitance when necessary. A little step by shopping malls can be a big leap to promoting breastfeeding. We sincerely believe that it can be done by every shopping mall in Hong Kong!” said Ms Judy Chen, Chairman of UNICEF HK.

© UNICEF HK/2016

© UNICEF HK/2016

To celebrate Mother’s Day, and to enhance public awareness about breastfeeding and maternal and child health, a mini exhibition will be held from today to 15 May at Water Zone Exhibition Area, 1/F, ELEMENTS by UNICEF HK. Families can go to the ‘MOMents’ photo booth to take photos and capture the precious moments with their loved ones. At the same them, they can donate to support UNICEF’s work on maternal and child health in 150 countries.

Please visit the campaign website: http://www.sayyestobreastfeeding.hk for more details on ‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ campaign and pledge your support to breastfeeding mothers.


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Event photos can be downloaded here