World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated annually in the first week of August in more than 170 countries. The theme for this year is "Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents", with the aim to strengthen the collaboration of actors across different levels of society to support, and promote breastfeeding.
In support of WBW 2023, the Department of Health (DH), in collaboration with the Hospital Authority, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association and the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF, hold a celebration event on July 28, which called for the community's full support for breastfeeding in connection to the Government's effort.
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.
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.
"Breastfeeding Friendly Premises" is a place where breastfeeding mothers and their families feel welcome and are supported to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.
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 the Health Bureau (the former 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.
The Breastfeeding Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) in Hong Kong aims to cultivate a breastfeeding friendly culture and environment, encourage breastfeeding continuation and nurture a breastfeeding friendly community.
The initiatives include:
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, the DH launched in 2016 a pilot scheme under which three MCHCs passed the accreditation and were acknowledged as Baby-Friendly MCHCs in 2019. They are:
In addition, the accreditation process for another 12 MCHCs has also been commenced.
There are eight accredited Baby-friendly Hospitals under the Hospital Authority. One, among the 11 private birthing hospitals, is in the progress of accreditation.
Baby-friendly Hospitals in the public sector include:
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.
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 many 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
The Department of Health has launched a series of publicity campaigns to promote public awareness in protecting and support of sustained breastfeeding.