About 50 mothers breastfed their infants on a Star Ferry yesterday in a demonstration calling for greater protection of breastfeeding rights in public places. The organiser, a Facebook group calling itself Mama Milk Baby Alliance, urged the government to form a comprehensive breastfeeding policy encouraging and protecting mothers who choose to breastfeed in public and educating others about their right to do so. "Many mothers face unfriendly treatment when they try to breastfeed their infants in public places," Ceres Kam, a spokeswoman for the group, said. "There is also a lack of mother-friendly facilities to help them. They are under a lot of pressure." More than 100 people, including about 50 mothers and their newborn babies, gathered at Central pier 7 to board a ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui. The mothers breastfed their infants on the ferry together as a way to raise public awareness. In 2010, just 13 per cent of mothers chose breastfeeding as the sole method of feeding in the first six months of the babies' lives, according to Department of Health data. The average figure globally is 40 per cent. To encourage breastfeeding, the government has proposed banning infant formula producers from making misleading claims about nutrition and health, including assertions that products can make babies "smarter", which have been cited as discouraging breastfeeding. A public consultation on the proposal ended last month. Health authorities say babies who are breastfed suffer fewer incidences of diarrhoea and respiratory and middle ear infections, and are less likely to develop allergies or obesity later in life. The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding exclusively up to the age of six months and partial breastfeeding until the baby is two.