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Breastfeeding rates in Hong Kong?

  1. #1
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Breastfeeding rates in Hong Kong?

    I listened with interest to a report on Pearl News on Saturday night about breastfeeding rates in Hong Kong. The news report claimed that "60% of HK women intend to breastfeed for 6 months". The report claimed that this was the successful result of a baby friendly initiative in HK.

    I felt that the statistic was misleading. INTENTION doesn't mean ACTUAL. So women can intend to or hope to b/f for 6 months, but not actually do so, for whatever reason.

    Of my close friends and work mates (expat and local), few b/f for anything like 6 months. Of my local friends, none b/f for more than 2 weeks, but I don't claim to have a representative sample, just my experience. They gave up because of family pressure, lack of support and going back to work early.

    I would be interested to hear anyone else's views on what you really think the rate of breastfeeding is in HK. I think that the government/health department statistics are misleading, but I am not really experienced enough to comment. Do you agree?

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    ozmaofoz is offline Registered User
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    I don't view it as misleading.....

    I can't help you with your specific question, but you got me thinking....

    My son is 16 months and still breastfed. But, I'm a SAHM and have supportive husband and Mom. I'm not saying that anyone with different experiences shouldn't be able to breastfeed for at least 6 months, BUT I can only go from my own experience and can't really clue in on what other Moms go through.

    I don't view that statistic as misleading, because I can only take it as a kind of optimism about the new breastfeeding campaign. It takes time to undo cultural habits, and I think HKSAR health is doing a fine job in promoting breastfeeding. It's certainly far, far, far better than the govt health in the States! (which is also improving). In the States, formula samples are sent to your home, given to you by the hospital when you give birth, given out for free by a govt program called WIC which almost any mother is eligable for. Govt clinics do not have breastfeeding rooms and do not adhere to the WHO guidelines about manufactured baby milk.

    Here, they have pro-breastfeeding posters in the MTR (Admiralty), very nice breastfeeding rooms in the clinics, a lactation consultant in every baby clinic, and a 24 hour hotline with Manadarin, Cantonese, and English speaking nurses. It feels like the HKSAR health is truly commited to helping Moms breastfeed.

    Every Mom I've met in my housing estate (all local Moms) breastfed for at least 6 weeks and some (like me) are still breastfeeding. And almost all the mothers I've met can quote WHO's recommendation for breastfeeding at least two years, would have liked to have breastfed longer, and are totally supportive of breastfeeding. Compared to the States, that feels like a miracle to me!

    I'd say that the statistic itself is optimistic for the very reason that the hope is that women will recieve more education and more support for the breastfeeding choice.

    I hope this didn't offend anyone. I support any Mama's choice in how she loves and feeds her child. My husband was formula fed and he's got a great brain and he's a great guy so I don't want anyone to feel that I am slagging on formula feeding.

    Rani - please feel free to edit if any of this is inappropriate!

    Cheers!

  3. #3
    Graham's Avatar
    Graham is offline Registered User
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    I always take statistics with a grain of salt as they are highly subjective and can by interpreted in different ways. As they say, there's lies, damn lies and statistics

    Anyway, my wife (a local) has been breastfeeding for 8 weeks so far and we are going to try to carry on for at least 6 months even though she returns to work in two weeks. I'm being supportive (at least I hope I am) and luckily my wife has a good friend that lives nearby who is very pro-breastfeeding and who successfully fed her daughter for a year, so my wife can go to her for support and advice as well.

    I have to agree that the HK health system seems very supportive of breast feeding. Both the QE hospital where my wife gave birth and the baby clinic in Tai Po that we go to are very pro-breastfeeding.

    However, given that the Government wants to promote breast feeding I wish that more shopping centers in HK had nursing rooms. In fact, I think it should be mandatory for each shopping center or department store to have a nursing room.

    I was shocked that Festival Walk shpping center in Kowloon Tong only has one nursing room and that is inside the big Park N Shop. I would have thought that a shopping center of that size and class would have had more nursing rooms run by the center management.

    Shatin is not too bad, as we found 2 small nursing rooms in New Town Plaza Phase III (near Seiyu dept store) and other inside the big baby shop next to the Toys R U.

    The Grand Centuary Place shopping center next to the Mong Kok KCR was disappointing as the only nursing room we found was inside one of the baby shops.

    What about Ocean Terminal, Sogo, Times Square and Pacific Place, do they have nursing rooms? We haven't been to any of those places since baby was born.

    Graham

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    Slee is offline Registered User
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    When I was in Queen Mary, I was the only mother breastfeeding in my ward and at post natal checkups I saw no one else doing the same. Sixty percent sounds fishy to me!

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    rani's Avatar
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    I would also guess the actual # is significantly less than 60%.


    Graham here's a list of places where you can BF and change a nappy in HK:

    http://forum.geobaby.com/showthread.php?threadid=85713
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

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    Graham's Avatar
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    Slee, when my wife gave birth in QE in June, nearly every mother in the ward was breastfeeding. Perhaps some hospitals promote breastfeeding more than others?

    Graham

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    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Wow, thanks for the replies. I wasn't trying to make a political statement, just curiosity, as the figure seemed wrong to me in my limited experience. I did a websearch and found this:

    http://www.info.gov.hk/dh/diseases/ph&eb/v11n3.htm#1

    The true figure at 6 months seems to be about 10%, which is more in line with my experience.

    Ozmaofoz - totally agree that we should support whatever method a mum chooses to feed. Of course b/f is important, but feeding is such a small part of parenting overall. I was soooo interested to read about your experience in the US. I thought the home of the LLL would be world leaders, but no. Sounds like your government is doing very little. Am I correct in saying that unless you have private health insurance, healthcare in America in general is very poor? I did a similar internet search for US b/f rates and it seems to be about 20% at 6 months. Slightly better than HK, but no where near as good as UK and Australia. The clear winners are places like Sweden and Finland - they really seem to know their stuff.

    Something else that was interesting in the statistics was that (for western countries anyway) the more educated the parents are, the more likely they are to b/f.

    Graham - good on your wife !!! You have found more places to feed than I ever did. Pacific Place was particularly disappointing. Quite a new shopping centre and I couldn't find a parents room anywhere. I read about a woman being asked to leave Great whilst b/f, so I didn't feed my daughter there. I (hopefully discreetly) fed her in the middle of the shopping centre. What else can you do????

    I had my daughter in HK, but through the private system. The support for b/f was excellent.
    Last edited by jane01; 08-02-2004 at 02:32 PM.

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    scr
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    Wow..Graham great work ! I hardly went out in the intial months because it was so tough to find a private place to nurse.

    HK govt seems to do a lot to promote breastfeeding. But my actual experience in QM was not so great. I had a difficult delivery and was bedridden for 2 whole days. My baby was in the special care unit..no one helped me to breastfeed. After I was allowed to move I promptly went to the nursery to try breastfeeding and of course it was not easy. Once the baby was with me I was having a lot of trouble..one nurse actually said there is something wrong with my nipples and proceeded to bottle feed my baby !! Only 1 senior nurse took time to help. As far as I am concerned QM did all they could to prevent me from breastfeeding.

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