A motion to support breastfeeding has caught the public attention after it was submitted by 74 legislators to the annual local legislative session in south China's Guangzhou city.
"It's time to establish an all-round system to support breastfeeding with cooperation among the government, medical and health care institutions, workplaces, and families," Lei Jianwei, a lawyer and a deputy to the Guangzhou city people's congress.
Among a series of suggestions, Lei expressed the hope that the local legislation could encourage medical institutions to set up nursing consultation clinics and offer medical advice for breastfeeding mothers.
The UNICEF recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and to sustain breastfeeding until two years old or beyond.
However, breastfeeding has faced challenges for a long time in China due to the lack of facilities and breastfeeding knowledge.
Among 1,031 married women aged between 20 and 50 in Guangzhou, working mothers were more likely to give up exclusive breastfeeding, according to a survey led by Guangzhou Women's Federation.
Around 85 percent of mothers who pump breast milk at work said they had no nursing rooms to use, the survey said.
"Some mothers stop breastfeeding when taking medicine, afraid of harm to their babies. Actually they can keep breastfeeding after consulting doctors, if just for treating a cold," explained Chen Yunbin, vice president of maternal and child health hospital in Guangdong Province.
The Chinese government plans to increase the exclusive breastfeeding rate among six-month-old infants to at least 50 percent by 2020. A guideline to improve nursing facilities was released in 2016.
Guangzhou has built 658 nursing rooms in public places and a number of breastmilk banks in hospitals by the end of 2018. In Shanghai, the labor union has launched a program urging workplaces to provide special rooms for pregnant and lactating women.
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