Moms nurse babies in a public breastfeeding flash mob

A group of mothers fed their babies together in public places in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou to promote breastfeeding today during the World Breastfeeding Week.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Mothers breastfeed their babies in public in Shanghai today.

A total of 70 mothers fed their babies for one minute together in public places in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou to support and promote breastfeeding today during the ongoing World Breastfeeding Week.

Medical specialists also participated in the event to offer consultation and guidance on breastfeeding.

Sixteen local mothers took part in the event in Shanghai which was organized by Shanghai Children’s Hospital, which boasts the city’s first breast milk bank.

“I breastfeed my baby because it's good for his health. It is the best gift from a mother to her baby,” said a woman surnamed Zhang with her 8-month-old son during the event.

Medical specialists said breastfeeding rate is still low in China: Only 20.8 percent of babies within six months are purely breastfed, much lower than the average rate of 38 percent in the world.

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition and offers health protection for babies below six months, while breastfeeding itself can drop mother's risk of breast cancer and ovary cancer, said Dr Yang Yuexin, president of Chinese Nutrition Society.  

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Medical specialists from Shanghai Children's Hospital gives consultation to mothers on breastfeeding and nutrition.

“The establishment of the breast milk bank is also in line with a project for city’s critical children management,” said Dr Zhang Ting, head of the city’s breast milk bank and the director of Shanghai Children’s Hospital’s nutrition department. “Since being established in June last year, we have received donation of nearly 1,000 liters of breast milk from some 400 mothers, benefiting 158 critical newborn babies and premature babies in our hospital. The bank itself is also a way to promote breastfeeding.”

She said the bank also faces challenges. The lack of funding is a major problem. Its annual cost for operation is 700,000 (US$104,058) to 900,000 yuan for equipment, testing for donors and disinfection.

“We are calling for more government support and the rising social awareness,” Zhang said. “We want more people to know the importance of breastfeeding. Charity donation and government investment are major sources of funding for breast milk bank in the world.”

Experts said a guideline on breast milk bank is under working to regulate and streamline such bank development in China.

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