PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am

Should mothers be allowed more time with their new babies?

I read the article regarding the practice of separating mothers from their new babies in some hospitals in Hong Kong ('Keep newborns with mums, hospitals urged', October 26).

As I recently gave birth in a private hospital in Hong Kong, I am happy to share my thoughts on the matter.

We had an extremely positive experience at Matilda, as they encouraged 'rooming in' - allowing a new baby to spend 24 hours a day in the same room as the mother. In fact, the hospital's rooming-in policy and other baby-friendly policies were the primary reason we chose Matilda.

As a first-time mother, I was exhausted after my 21-hour labour and, in the end, was unable to take advantage of the hospital's rooming-in policy.

Our daughter spent the evenings in the nursery so I could get some much-needed rest in order to serve her best in the early days. Staff members at Matilda were very accommodating of my needs in this area.

The only thing I would have done differently would have been to ask the nurses to bring my daughter into my room to be breastfed at least on a three-hourly schedule between 6am and midnight to help promote milk supply via frequent feedings and facilitate our transition to a routine once we returned home from the hospital.

I would not consider delivering at a hospital that did not permit rooming in and provide breastfeeding support.

In fact, it is my sincere hope that hospitals in Hong Kong will join and actively promote their participation in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched in 1991, which is an effort by the UN children's organisation, Unicef, and the World Health Organisation to ensure that all maternity units become centres of breastfeeding support.

A maternity facility can be designated 'baby-friendly' when it does not accept free or low-cost breast milk substitutes, feeding bottles or teats, and has implemented 10 specific steps to support successful breastfeeding.

Although many hospitals in China appear to have been awarded baby-friendly status, it is not clear which hospitals these are and whether any of these are located in Hong Kong, making it difficult for expectant mothers to identify official BFHI hospitals other than through word of mouth.

Gina Hertel, Pok Fu Lam

How can driving behaviour be improved?

Living in Hong Kong since 1991 and coming from Germany, with driving experience in Europe and Asia, it does not surprise me when I read about yet another minibus accident.

Hong Kong's roads will not be safe for any of us if we do not take action against reckless minibus drivers.

It seems that senior officials in the Transport Department and police officers are not willing to take action to deal with this problem, probably because they do not travel on minibuses. If they did, I am sure we would see improvements to a problem that has persisted for years. I feel sorry for those people who have to use minibuses, because they are not safe.

When there was a problem with the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, every detail of safety was investigated. Why do we not pay the same attention to detail when it comes to Hong Kong's roads?

Every day when I drive to Lantau, I see the bad driving practices of minibuses - speeding, switching lanes without indicating, cutting other drivers off and stopping anywhere to drop off or pick up passengers.

Hong Kong prides itself as a world city and as the best city in Asia, but it falls short when it comes to its minibuses. In this regard it is almost like an underdeveloped country.

I have spent time in Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but I did not witness anything like this.

This problem is going to continue for quite some time and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Mario Tewes, Sai Kung

What do you think of TV weather reports?

'Weather girls' have been an integral part of Hong Kong's weather reports since the 1980s.

In the intervening years, there has been little improvement to these programmes and it is time for our broadcasters to change that.

I think we need new presenters. Also, given that we promote sexual equality in society, men and women should be given the opportunity to be presenters.

Some people have complained that if the presenters are not professionally trained, they cannot provide much meteorological information. However, I do not think that is really important. They are given the information they need by meteorologists. The most important thing is that they are good presenters and can get the information across to viewers.

Due to technological advances, people can get weather information by various means, such as the internet and by phone.

Broadcasters should be aware that people have other options and they should make the necessary improvements.

Ivan Wong Ming-yin, Yuen Long

On other matters...

I refer to the report, 'Children living in poverty also emotionally deprived: survey' (October 17). I have strong feelings about this, since I was a child living in poverty.

According to the survey, the social status of a child's family more or less affects his happiness, be it emotionally or physically. I do not agree with this.

When it comes to happiness, it is independent of your social status.

I came from a poor family and had no money to buy textbooks for my studies. However, my family background did not obstruct my approach to learning. It encouraged me to work even harder to strive for a better future for myself and my family.

My parents were on low incomes and did not have to travel to work. Therefore they could spend more time with me.

My mother gave me strong guidance as she realised the importance of discipline and counselling. Although she was not good at English, she supervised my learning and thanks to her I was able to become an English teacher in a local secondary school.

How much or how little you learn is up to the individual.

Many people blame their family status for the fact they have a poor standard of education, or lack incentives when it comes to wanting to study.

For me, this is just an excuse.

Mo Wai-kit, Tuen Mun