China Initiatives Drive for more Mum to Breastfeed

Published Date : Aug 14, 2015

With the increasing number of scandals pertaining to toxic infant milk, a native of Beijing Ms. Zhang was determined that she would breastfeed her son who was born nine months ago.

As told to the news agency, the housewife from Beijing stated, the way formula milk is sourced and processed is not sure. She further said that she opted breast milk as it is the only chance for babies to have best nutrition.

However, Ms. Zhang, is from a minority group of mothers in China, wherein most infants are fed, sometimes solely, baby formula milk in the first six months. In China, breastfeeding rates have plummeted to the lowest in the world. 

This has prompted the top health authority in the country to step up an initiative to encourage more women to breastfeed. 

In 2013, only 28% of mothers in China breastfed their babies for a period of six months as recommended by the World Health Organization. This was a drastic drop from 67% in 1998, as quoted by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

As per statistics from the United Nations Children’s Fund, the numbers are even bleak in cities which is only 16%, significantly lower that the world average of 38%.

In order to reduce infant mortality rate, China is trying to revive breastfeeding, which declined to 9.5 per 1,000 individuals in 2013 from 29.2 per 1,000 individuals in 2002. The drive is to promote health of the mother and the newborn, which in turn will benefit economically in China. 

A range of safety scares pertaining to formula milk has been beneficial to the cause. For instance, in 2008, an adulterated milk powder accident left six babies dead.

As per experts, breastfeeding rate began to decline in China in the 1970s with the introduction of baby formula.