We all know that breast is best. Find out what three Chinese women did to encourage breastfeeding in China.
Chinese residents who saw three models sauntering outside Luohu Checkpoint in Shenzhen, China, just early this month did a double take. Skimpily clad in black bikinis, three young activists were holding signs that encouraged women in China to feed their babies breast milk instead of formula milk powder. This campaign was a response to the Hong Kong authorities’ new law after Hong Kong mothers complained that their milk powder supply was dwindling due to competitive demand from mainland mothers. Under this regulation, PR Chinese buyers can only purchase up to two cans of milk powder from Hong Kong.
Because of this, 25 Chinese nationals were arrested last month for attempting to smuggle cans of milk powder over the limit from Hong Kong into mainland China. In response, activists have asserted that formula milk powder cannot be compared to breast milk in terms of nutrition and benefits for the baby and have started pushing for more to continue breastfeeding in China.
“Milk powder is finite, a mother’s love is infinite”
Carrying handmade signs which translated to “Limits on what you can buy don’t limit how much you can love“ as well as “You don’t need foreign milk powder, you just need breast milk” and “Milk powder is finite, a mother’s love is infinite”, these three ladies stripped to their bikinis, possibly to intentionally garner more attention and hence awareness.
The young activists succeeded in their outcry, with a considerable number of passers-by, notably mostly females, stopping to sign and pledge their support for the cause. While the three advocates have never breastfed before, they were reportedly determined and convicted towards their beliefs in the campaign.
Breastfeeding’s unpopularity in China
Although breast milk is the most nutritious and hygienic food for infants and growing babies, many in China have been targets of misinformation, leading to them believing the false claim that formula milk powder is better for a child. This often happens when advertisers push for breast milk substitutes, leading to the less educated believing in its false superiority to breast milk. While the outreach to spread awareness on the boons of breastfeeding are already underway, many are still ignorant of its advantages, not just for the baby but for mothers as well.
The fall of breastfeeding mums in China is also a result of the rapid growth and development of the Chinese economy and workforce that is seeing an exponential surge in working mothers over the years. With more mothers struggling between work and childcare, in addition to the unfriendly nursing environments outside of the home, it is little wonder that fewer are breastfeeding their babies, if they even have one in the first place.
More breastfeeders, please
As young women in China and around the world are increasingly aware of the benefits of breastfeeding their babies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hopes that more mothers will practise exclusive breastfeeding for at least a year. After all, besides strengthening a child’s immunity and protecting them from allergies and infections, breastfeeding also fosters a closer bond between mother and child, fostering better relationships and development.