More breastfeeding rooms needed: study Breastfeeding rooms should be required at public sites and workplaces, a study of mothers concluded after finding that a lack of facilities was discouraging women from feeding their babies the natural way. The Health Department says the Food and Health Bureau will look into providing facilities beyond those that are now available. The results of the study by Hong Kong Health Link Promotions showed that 279 of the 504 mothers (55.4 per cent) surveyed last month wanted to breastfeed their babies until they were six months old, but only 181 (36 per cent) were able to do so. The group said private breastfeeding rooms should be provided at public places such as shopping malls, public transport centres and government departments. It also said clean, private places where working mothers could pump their milk for use later should be provided in workplaces. In the survey, two-thirds blamed the lack of such facilities in the workplace for having made them stop nursing their babies. Nearly a quarter blamed the lack of such facilities in public places. 'The figures clearly tell us we have to provide more breastfeeding rooms for mothers in Hong Kong,' group director Maggie Ng said yesterday. According to figures from the Health Department, about 70 per cent of mothers breastfed their babies in hospital after giving birth last year, but the department had no recent information about what they did after they were discharged. It had data only from 2004, which showed 17 per cent of Hong Kong mothers breastfed their infants until they were six months old. 'The government strongly encourages mothers to nurse their babies, but it seems to know little about the latest trend, and it provides few facilities for mothers in the community. It should study why so many mothers give up breastfeeding and offer support to them accordingly,' Miss Ng said. Rosana Tse Yan-yan, who has a two-year-old son and a 10-month-old daughter, said she was forced to breastfeed her infants or prepare milk for them in public toilets. 'I am a full-time social worker and it is very hard for me to find time to feed my babies, and it is even harder for me to find a clean and safe place to feed them or just prepare milk for them,' she said. 'I have to rush to the toilet right after the cleaning lady has finished her job, as I want to prepare milk for my babies in a cleaner toilet at my workplace. I sometimes have to work on the mainland, and it is really difficult for me to find a toilet clean enough to do that there.' A department spokeswoman said breastfeeding facilities were available in some large shopping malls, hotels and government premises. 'The Food and Health Bureau will discuss with other government departments and the private sector the further promotion of breastfeeding and explore the need and feasibility of setting up more breastfeeding places,' she said. A spokeswoman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said breastfeeding rooms were provided at the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, and rooms could be arranged for mothers at other venues such as public parks and sports stadiums when requested.