You’d have heard of UNICEF’s ‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ campaign, initiated in tandem with the Food and Health Bureau and the Department of Health to promote breastfeeding-friendly workplaces and public places. The pledge to support breastfeeding in public places was supported by 64 restaurants citywide, including 20 McDonald’s branches. Likewise, you should be no stranger to the Department of Health’s promotion and support of breastfeeding by launching a document called ‘Breastfeeding Policy of the Department of Health’ last year, also promising to train staff at health centres and hospitals to respond accordingly. You might have been among those who applauded and cried tears of joy: it’s finally happening in Hong Kong!
But nope. According to SCMP, mother of two and teacher at an ESF school, Amanda O’Halloran was blasted by three nurses for breastfeeding and therefore upsetting other patients, while she was sitting in a waiting room at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. What O’Halloran encountered was by no means a singular incident, as hours after she posted about it online, she saw a deluge of angry messages in support of her, from mothers who have had similar frustrating experiences while breastfeeding in public.
To be fair, the stubborn refusal to accept breastfeeding as just the most natural way to feed a hungry baby is pretty universal. What boggles the mind is, how hard is it for people to see breastfeeding as just that? If we were all fed with our mothers’ breastmilk for various lengths of time after our birth, who are we to stop others from getting fed by the same means?
If you’re nodding in agreement, sign the pledge here and lend your support to UNICEF’s #SayYesToBreastfeeding campaign.