World Breastfeeding Week 2021

Protect Breastfeeding:
A Shared Responsibility​

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated annually in the first week of August in more than 170 countries.  The theme for this year is "Protect Breastfeeding: A Share Responsibility", with the aim to promote public awareness of sustaining breastfeeding and multi-sectoral collaboration and partnership for support to breastfeeding families.  (Press Releases)

World Health organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years or beyond.

Our Collective Efforts

Hong Kong Code

HK Code promotes the good marketing practices applicable to formula milk and related products as well as food products for infants and children below 36 months old.  It provides guidance to traders, healthcare facilities, childcare facilities, etc.

Myths of breastmilk substitutes

HK Code supports parents making their own choices to feed their children based on correct and unbiased information. The following articles address some common myths of breastmilk substitutes. (Source: E-newsletters, Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association)

  • In human milk, milk fat globules are coated with a membrane composed of polar lipids (phospholipids).  This milk-fat-globule membrane (MFGM) is highly bioactive in supporting gastrointestinal functions, neurodevelopment and immunity.
  • Currently, there is limited scientific evidence from Randomised Controlled Trials on the health benefits of supplementing infant formula with bovine MFGM, compared with breastfeeding.
  • Given the unique biochemical structures of human milk and its myriad bioactive constituents, it is virtually impossible for formula milk to imitate breastmilk in functions.

  • Human breastmilk contains over 100 structurally different oligosaccharides (complex sugars).
  • Different oligosaccharides have different functions, e.g.  promoting the growth of good gut bacteria (the "prebiotic effect"), preventing infections, reducing inflammation etc.
  • As additives to formula milk, the substance "HMO" does not come from human milk nor is it functionally comparable to those in human milk.
  • The available limited research evidence does not suggest that infants consuming formula milk supplemented with HMO develop immune functions similar to that of breastfed infants, as claimed commercially.

Breast milk provides natural source of pre- and probiotics which bring clinical benefits in the prevention of infection and development of adaptive immunity.  There is insufficient scientific evidence currently to suggest such clinical benefits observed in breastmilk can be mimicked by routine addition of probiotics and/or prebiotics to artificial formula.

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months is the most effective allergy prevention for all infants.
  • There is no particular proven effective preventive measure for the general population other than breastfeeding.
  • For high risk infants who cannot be breastfed, the evidence for partially hydrolysed formula is weak and inconsistent, and recommendation is not very clear at the moment.
  • Partially hydrolysed formula has no role in the treatment of cow's milk allergy.

Breastfeeding Friendly Health Care Facilities

Baby Friendly Maternal and Child Health Centre

All along MCHCs have shared antenatal care with the regional birthing hospitals under the Hospital Authority.  Over 90% of newborns born locally registered with MCHCs within the first few days after birth. Therefore, these newborns and parents are in need of support to establish and sustain breastfeeding.  As part of the BFHI care, DH launched in June 2016 a pilot scheme of Baby Friendly Maternal and Child Health Centre (BFMCHC) Designation in three MCHCs.

  • Kowloon City MCHC
  • Sai Ying Pun MCHC
  • Yaumatei MCHC

Based on the positive results of the pilot, the DH has also commenced procedures in March 2021 to pursue the designation of five more MCHCs.

  • Lam Tin MCHC
  • Ma On Shan MCHC
  • North Kwai Chung MCHC
  • Sai Wan Ho MCHC
  • Tin Shui Wai MCHC

Baby Friendly Hospital

The Hospital Authority has pursued the Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH) Designation in its eight birthing hospitals. So far, three public hospitals have attained the award of Baby Friendly Hospital.

As for private hospitals, the Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital has started the BFH designation in 2019.

Baby Friendly Hospital Initative Hong Kong Association

In 1992, the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF formed the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Committee which registered as Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association (BFHIHKA) two years later.  BFHIHKA promotes and supports breastfeeding to protect infant and maternal health.  We are committed to creating a healthcare and societal environment that enables parents and other caregivers to make and carry out informed decisions about optimal infant feeding.

BFHIHKA operates a breastfeeding hotline, publishes regular Baby Friendly e-Newsletters, and supports health facilities to be baby-friendly.  In August this year, we will organise a breastfeeding education programme, with seminars and workshops, for parents-to-be.

Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace & Premises

What is a "Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace"?

A "Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace” is where an organisation or enterprise provides an appropriate and friendly environment for their breastfeeding employees to express breastmilk in the workplace in order to continue breastfeeding their children.

What is "Breastfeeding Friendly Premises"?

"Breastfeeding Friendly Premises" is a place where breastfeeding mothers and their families feel welcome and are supported to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.  

UNICEF HK - #Say Yes To Breastfeeding

UNICEF HK is committed to promote, protect and support children's right to be breastfed and the best start in children's life.  In collaboration with Food and Health Bureau and the Department of Health, UNICEF HK launched the 'Say Yes To Breastfeeding' campaign in 2015, aiming to provide mothers with better community support for sustaining breastfeeding.  Since its launch, over 1,365 workplaces and 471 premises have been acknowledged as "breastfeeding-welcome”.  

For every child, a good start.

Breastfeeding GPS

The Breastfeeding Friendly Community Initiative project (BFCI) aims to promulgate breastfeeding friendly attitudes.  "Breastfeeding GPS", a mobile app, was developed for parents to locate breastfeeding facilities all over Hong Kong.  The BFCI team also offers management and staff training for public places, and organises regular workshops to support mothers to sustain breastfeeding.  The ultimate goal is to engage various stakeholders to co-create a breastfeeding-friendly community.

Legislations to Support Breastfeeding

Mother-to-mother Support

Peer Support Service

Natural Parenting Network (NPN) has been commissioned by the Department of Health of Hong Kong to deliver a Breastfeeding Peer Support Program (母愛蜜語) since 2015.  Under this program, NPN has trained over 140 mothers with breastfeeding experience to become peer counselors.  The program provides peer support service to antenatal parents, new parents and their families members by means of different methods and channels, such as face-to-face ,online, phone or WhatsApp.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, they also produce videos and pictures with breastfeeding knowledge, everyone can easy access to correct breastfeeding information through online.

Natural Parenting Network

La Leche League Hong Kong

La Leche League Hong Kong is a volunteer-powered organisation that aims to provide mother-to-mother support for breastfeeding.  Our dedicated, passionate and trained leaders engage with the community daily on social media, through phone calls and messaging.  We delightedly and tirelessly abides by the WBW 2021 theme of sharing the responsibility to protect breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Mother Association

Publicity and Resources

The Department of Health has launched a series of publicity campaigns to promote public awareness in protecting and support of sustained breastfeeding.

Past World Breastfeeding Week Events

Image Gallery

Video Gallery

"Supporting Mothers' Breastfeeding Journey" Secondary School Short Video Competition

Junior Secondary Category

Senior Secondary Category