More than 100 nursing mothers participated at a unique subway station flash mob in Hong Kong on Saturday aimed at dispelling the social stigma against breastfeeding in public.
The flash mob kicked off at the Tai Wai Mass Transit System (MTR) station at 3pm local time, with hundreds of nursing mothers accompanied by children wielding pink signs saying "Breastfeeding everywhere!".
The event, organized by breastfeeding advocate group the MamaMilk Baby Alliance, called on nursing mothers on Mother’s Day to join in the cause "to raise public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and the need to breastfeed in public," according to the group’s website.
Breastfeeding, called a ’magic bullet to survival’ by UNICEF, prevents up to 12 percent of all infant deaths while boosting children’s immune systems against diarrhea and pneumonia.
"Breast milk is the best food for children’s health and development... it provides all of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antibodies that children need to grow and thrive," says the UN organization, which since 1977 has condemned the Swiss Nestle confections company for marketing baby formula that has increased infant mortality in developing countries by between six and 25 times.
According to a survey by the Hong Kong Committee, up to 40 percent of nursing mothers in Hong Kong are shamed for breastfeeding in public, with people either staring or making remarks, the Hong Kong Free Press cited.
The Department of Health has also noted that as few as 2.3 percent of all Hong Kong mothers exclusively breastfeed their children for the first half year of their lives, as recommended by the World Health Organization.