Action needed to end discrimination against breastfeeding mums in Hong Kong
I agree with those who say that that mothers must be allowed to breastfeed their babies in public areas in Hong Kong, however, they face discrimination if they do. It seems the government has failed to act properly to offer enough privacy to mothers who have to breastfeed in public.
Biologically, breast milk is the most natural food resource for babies. It contains a lot more nutrients than milk powder, and the antibodies in breast milk can protect babies from pathogens as they help to build up a stronger immune system than baby formula.
Interestingly, the nutrients in breast milk can be automatically controlled according to the growth of babies and their demand. Therefore, it is more suitable for a baby to drink breast milk as they grow up.
Nevertheless, Hong Kong citizens do not quite understand the benefits of breastfeeding. Even though breastfeeding mothers may cover up with a scarf in public areas like buses and shopping malls, Hong kongers still tend to look at them in a hostile way as if they are doing something weird.
There is nothing wrong with babies drinking breast milk when hungry. No one can control what time babies get hungry. Therefore, some mothers have to go to the nearest washroom to breastfeed in order to avoid angry looks.
It is disheartening to see this phenomenon in Hong Kong, as breastfeeding is not something sexual or dirty, but just a means of providing food supply to babies.
The Hong Kong government has a responsibility to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. For example, it should launch more campaigns to educate the public that breastfeeding is not something that damages a city’s image.
Citizens also must try to be more open-minded. They cannot look down on and discriminate against breastfeeding mothers. It is important to support the normalising of breastfeeding.
Elmo Fung, Tseung Kwan O