The Department of Health has launched health education material for healthcare professionals and the public to offer support to breastfeeding mothers.
The department endorses the recommendations of the World Health Organisation’s expert consultation group on breastfeeding and encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth, with the subsequent introduction of complementary food while continuing breastfeeding until the age of two or beyond.
Speaking at a press conference today to mark 2012 World Breastfeeding Week, Senior Medical Officer Dr Barbara Fung said breastmilk is the best natural food for babies. “It offers many immediate and long-term health benefits for babies and their mothers and promotes emotional bonding between mother and child.”
Dr Fung said a multi-media e-learning kit for medical practitioners was launched in December to provide knowledge and skills to support breastfeeding mothers and manage lactation problems.
A breastfeeding flip-chart and a breastfeeding information booklet have been introduced to help healthcare professionals provide individual counselling. An antenatal breastfeeding workshop resource pack and an automated PowerPoint on breastfeeding will also be made available soon.
The department has a multi-disciplinary taskforce to develop and promote the Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. It will consult the trade and collect views when the code is drafted.
A regular breastfeeding survey since 1998 shows that the ever breastfeeding rate has increased from 50% for babies born in 1997 to 77% for babies born in 2010. The exclusive breastfeeding rate for babies four to six months old increased from 6% to 14.8% for the same cohort of babies.
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