Li Man-ying (left) and Szeto Mi (right), members of a preparatory group for the promotion of breastfeeding
Concerns over infant milk formulas and misleading commercials have prompted the formation of a Church group to promote breastfeeding.
The Messengers of Green Consciousness set up a preparatory group on May 8, Mother’s Day.
The formal group is expected to come into being at Christmas.
Szeto Mi, its convener, told 70 attendees that the group is to help Catholics understand that breastfeeding means “putting their faith life into practice and is the most perfect food for newborns.”
Szeto, a nurse for 30 years, hopes breastfeeding can become a major trend in the local Church.
After tainted infant formula was found in China in 2008, many people in neighboring Guangdong province in the mainland began buying formula from Hong Kong thinking it would be safer. Due to demand, it becomes a lucrative business for some people to bulk buy and re-sell it at a higher price in China.
Many local mothers in Hong Kong then started to complain of milk powder shortages. Radiation fears amid the Japan nuclear crisis also stopped some mothers from buying milk formula produced in Japan.
“I think we need to stress to mothers what is the best for their children,” said Szeto.
But breastfeeding needs great perseverance. It is easy for new mothers to stop if their families do not support them and the group is open for male members to join, she said.
Father Anthony Chang Sang-loy, chairperson of the Messengers of Green Consciousness, said they have promoted breastfeeding on an individual basis for some years but people are not very responsive, probably because of their busy lifestyle and misleading commercials.
While commercials boast how good nutrients in formula milk are, it actually contains a lot of hormones and pollutants which can be harmful to the human body, he noted.
Li Man-ying, a group member, who breastfed her own two children, hopes to share her experiences of breastfeeding.
“Some friends tried to put me off it saying it doesn’t benefit children. They do not realize that children who are breastfed are less vulnerable to sickness,” she said.
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