Singapore Changi puts Hong Kong’s airport to shame on nursing facilities
The Hong Kong government has been actively encouraging new mothers to breastfeed and we all know that breastfeeding can give babies the best start in life.
Since our baby was born last September, we have found that many shopping malls and department stores in Hong Kong, such as the IFC, Tsuen Wan Plaza and Aeon, have excellent nursing facilities.
They either provide enough rooms or require access through an intercom system to security staff who open them remotely to ensure they are not abused. They are well maintained and cleaned regularly.
One noticeable and unacceptable exception is the Hong Kong International Airport.
On our recent trip to Singapore, we fed our baby at the Hong Kong airport after passing immigration. This meant we had no choice but to use their facilities.
We were shocked to find the facilities far below standard. First, there was a shortage of nursing rooms. In each location, there was only one available breastfeeding room, meaning long waits – babies can take up to an hour to feed. Second, the room stank of cigarettes and faeces. Third, it lacked support facilities, such as intercom and drinking water. Lastly, it seemed to us that the facilities were being used for purposes other than feeding babies.
In the community, parents can vote with their wallets and choose shops and malls that are breastfeeding-friendly, but with only one airport, we have no choice but to use their facilities. This makes it even more important for them to be of high quality.
I appeal to the Hong Kong International Airport to review and improve their nursing facilities. They can start by installing intercoms to ensure that the facilities they have are not abused, and that they are regularly cleaned – to make them inviting to mothers and their babies.
They can then do an assessment to decide whether more facilities need to be made available. It is notable that at Singapore Changi Airport, the facilities were excellent and put the facilities at our airport to shame.
I registered a complaint with the airport on March 21 regarding our experience, and have yet to receive an adequate response.
Benjamin Moorhouse and Yeewan Moorhouse, Tsuen Wan