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Breastfeeding in public in HK

  1. #1
    Jane99 is offline Registered User
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    Question Breastfeeding in public in HK

    I have been nursing my 14 months old in the US since he was born, and we are going back to HK to visit families there.

    My question is that is there any law against or protecting breastfeeding in public? And will I be able to nurse without unwanted attention?

    I don't need any private nursion room, but I am used to being able to nurse anywhere without anyone staring or caring. I want to be prepare if there are different expectations in HK.

    Thanks a lot for your information and help.

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    There are no laws in Hong Kong which deal directly with breastfeeding.

    The culture here is one that covers up the breast. Very few people wear clothes which show large amount of cleavage, although skirts as short as you like are accepted. Because of this mothers who are breastfeeding in public do so very discreetly. Most wear two pieces and pull up the top from the waist – so with the baby in place very little is on show. I don’t think unbuttoning a blouse from the top would be tolerated. A few mothers I know prefer special nursing wear because this also covers the side view and any possible midriff showing.

    Facilities wise Hong Kong is not a very friendly place for a mother with a new baby, whether she is breastfeeding or not. There are very few places to sit down and have a rest and this also means few places to sit down and breastfeed.

    Below is a list we made after asking the mothers in our group where they choose to breastfeed when out and about in Hong Kong. Our group also holds “Tea Breaks” – where we meet in local restaurants and cafes. The aim is to encourage new mothers to have the confidence to breastfeed in public – it is much easier to do so when you are with a supportive group of other mothers.

    The media here seems to be fascinated by breastfeeding stories. So anyone and everyone who is asked to stop breastfeeding can make the headlines. Because of this there have been a number of high profile cases of mothers being asked to stop or move.

    The most recent case I've heard of was in fact just a misunderstanding. The mother who was asked to move thought it was because she was breastfeeding but the hotel staff was concerned because the mother and baby were sitting in the draught form the open doorway (it was winter at the time). A normal Hong Kong lack of communication!

    Seven years ago a mother was asked to move when breastfeeding in a famous hotel and the newspaper stories carried on for the next three weeks. Because of the publicity there was a TV programme about the subject of breastfeeding in public and a survey. 100% thought breastfeeding was best and 55% though it was acceptable to breastfeed in public. At the time only 41.1% of mothers were breastfeeding on leaving hospital now the figure is 61.1%.

    Generally I think that public breastfeeding is becoming much more acceptable – I definitely see many more mothers doing so. Also the people of Hong Kong are very friendly towards babies which makes taking them with you easier.

    Hope this helps,
    SARAH
    La Leche League Leader of the Hong Kong Central Group
    ----
    WHERE TO BREASTFEED AND CHANGE A BABY IN HONG KONG .

    The Mandarin Oriental, Central - 1st Floor powder room near the Grill. Lovely big chairs and telephone. Large mirror and nice attendants.

    Marriott, Conrad, or Shangri-La, Admiralty - Most have washrooms with a bench and mirror. Also look for the more secluded chairs in lobbies.

    Peninsula Hotel, T.S.T. - take the lift to the 1st floor where the bathroom is nice.

    Hong Kong Hotel, Kowloon side near Star Ferry. Try any other large hotels as these usually have comfy chairs in the lobbies and clean washrooms for changing babies.

    Jusco Department Store, Tai Koo - On the 2nd floor near the baby department there is a changing area and a place to breastfeed.

    Pacific Coffee and Starbuck's shops - Most have large chairs and some even have play areas for older children.

    Many of the newer Superstore Park N Shops have baby changing/feeding areas with chairs in them. Festival Walk (Kowloon Tong), Paradise Mall (Heng Fa Chuen), Maritime Square (Tsing Yi), Citygate (Tung Chung).

    All Mothercare stores have changing areas and usually a chair to sit on. The stores are in Prince's Building, Ocean Terminal, Windsor House and New Town Plaza (Shatin).

    Outside Toys R Us in Ocean Terminal there is a special glassed in area to breastfeed and change babies under the escalator.

    Try the changing rooms of Marks and Spencer, Wing On, Lane Crawford or UNY. If they are not too busy they will usually let you use a room. Sometimes there are chairs. If not, the carpets are relatively clean.

    Ikea in Causeway Bay, Shatin and Prince Edward (not far from Fa Yuen Street market) have changing tables and sometimes a chair. Try the cafeteria for breastfeeding. Usually quiet.

    Chep Lap Kok Airport - There are baby changing rooms so you can change and feed your baby before getting on the plane. This is great if you need to wait a long time for your departure. Then you can nurse all the way to your destination on the plane! .

    Discovery Bay/Star Ferries - The rocking motion will even help baby fall asleep!

    Try feeding in McDonald's or a Chinese Dim Sum type restaurant. They are always noisy, so breastfeeding seems less obtrusive.

    Dan Ryans, Shooters (on the Peak) are good places to eat with kids and they have changing tables.

    Jaspa's Restaurant, Sai Kung - A good place to eat with kids, very comfortable with breastfeeding mums in the restaurant.

    Olympic MTR station/shopping centre - Padded sofas and cubicles with lockable stalls to breastfeed in.

    Annerley's Midwives' Centre in Lyndhurst Terrace. Changing table and breastfeeding facilities are also available (Unit 1801, Car Po Commercial Building, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central)
    ----

  3. #3
    HKFooey is offline Banned
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    I think the advice Sarah has given is very sound however I would like to add that my son is 10 mths and I breast feed anywhere I need to. I am discreet but I have been known to wear "normal" clothes and either pull up my shirt or unbutton it when feeding. I have never had any problems. I always keep a muslin square handy just in case as it is great for covering up especially when my nosey son suddenly turns around. I tend to cuddle my son very close and his body mainly shields me.

    I find Pacific Coffee a great place to feed as they have comfortable armchairs and good coffee (much better tha Starbucks in HK) and they are everywhere. I also love the Mandarin Powder Room and the Island Shangri La Ladies Toilet on the 6th floor.

    I have actually been told by UK mothers that they get less hassle in HK than they get in the UK.

    Emjoy your trip and do not worry about feeding.

    In my book, the more people breast feed in public the better it will be for those coming behind us.

  4. #4
    Niki is offline Registered User
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    While in Central, the Starbucks in Alexandria House is very baby friendly. Although they dont have a place to change diapers but they have lots of sofas and discreet corners as well as baby chairs on wheels. I have seen loads of mothers and babies there at any time of the day.

  5. #5
    Jane99 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for the infomation. I think I'll try to be a little more discreet (not like I try to show everything before, but I also don't go out of my way to hide everything). Bring a baby blanket to cover up seems like a good idea, unless my son decide he does not like it, he already likes to left my shirt even higher while he's nursing and I always have to hold it down.

    Luckily he does not need to nurse too often anymore, especially when he is busy experiencing new things.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    capital is offline Banned
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    I was in HK earlier this year and I BF wherever I happened to be, in parks, benches in malls, in restauants and I spent the majority of time in Tsuen Wan, where there aren't as many foreigners and no one payed any attention to me breastfeeding. The people who were most concerned were my husband and mother in law, lest I "expose myself" To alleviate their concerns I just used a nursing big to cover up.

    on another note. Leave the gigantic north american sized stroller at home. We only brought a good quality carrier, but once here decided a stroller might not be so bad so baby could have somewhere to sleep laying down when we were out. I didn't want to buy an expensive stroller just to use in HK when I already have an expensive good quality stroller at home in canada, so Going cheap, I found a stroller the size of an umbrella stroller, but it still had a basket and in would fully recline, bought it, thinking wow what a good buy (25 or 30$ CA), considering we only needed it for a month. The wheels didn't swivel, no wonder it was so cheap!!!! What a pain that was!!!

    You might want to be on the look out for a small decent stroller.

  7. #7
    nykki is offline Registered User
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    Hi Sarah,

    I stopped breastfeeding about a month ago. I used to b/f wherever I could here and most places were good, but at Stanley one day I was told that it was illegal to b/f in public in HK. I was using a blanket that covered from my shoulder, over the baby and down to my lap. For all anyone knew, the baby could just have been sleeping and I put a blanket over to keep her warm!

    I was in the ampitheatre there... there must have been 5 people around (during a rainy, cold Feb morning) including my partner and a friend of ours and the female guard who told me this. I was absolutely disgusted as I knew she was lying and when I tried to say to her that she couldn't even see the baby, far less the breast, she suddenly walked off saying that she couldn't speak English and she would have to call the police!

    I have told many friends about this incident and they have all responded with the attitude that that's what you're going to get when you b/f in HK! Surely there must be more we can do to change attitudes here?

    I have to say though, I have b/f all over Lantau and DB and never encountered even a strange glance! NT is great as well and Central and TST are quite good when it comes to providing clean facilities to breastfeed and change your baby in.

  8. #8
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Dear Nykki,

    Your case of being asked to stop breastfeeding falls into the same pattern of nearly everyone who is asked to stop in Hong Kong and that is of an asked to stop by an official. Usually these officials have been worried that someone else will object and so they are doing damage control when in fact there was no damage in the first place.

    Also the officials at the amphitheatre in Stanley seem to be particularly officious. I remember two occasions with my family. The first my younger son was told off for having his dog with him and the second my elder son was told off for lying across the seats – even though there was no one else there.

    Please don’t worry about the official telling you it is against the law. There are no laws in Hong Kong either protecting or banning breastfeeding.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH

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