World Breastfeeding Week 2023

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 "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.

Our Collective Efforts

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 - #SayYesToBreastfeeding

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

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:

  • Provide free training to staff and management of corporates and public venues to promulgate breastfeeding friendly attitudes
  • Develop the "Breastfeeding GPS" mobile app
  • Organize regular breastfeeding workshops for mothers
  • Conduct research and analysis for the practice of “Breastfeeding Friendly Community”
  • Promotional activities

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, 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:

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

In addition, the accreditation process for another 12 MCHCs has also been commenced.

Baby Friendly Hospital

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:

  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Queen Mary Hospital
  • Prince of Wales Hospital
  • Kwong Wah Hospital
  • Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital
  • Tuen Mun Hospital
  • Princess Margarate Hospital
  • United Christian Hospital

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.

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 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.

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.

Breastfeeding Mother Association

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.

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