A number of young moms gathered for a "milk-splashing" event in the hope of raising public awareness of breastfeeding in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, on July 15, but later drew widespread criticism.
Participants took to an inflatable pool filled with the opaque liquid, threw it in the air and jumped about in front of onlookers.
The 100 women, dressed in black-dotted, bovine-colored outfits, also held slogans, such as "Shame to those who feed babies formula; glory to those who breastfeed!" and "I am proud of being a cow, as I save my husband money!"
Organizers of the event hoped that the milk-splashing action art might motivate society to focus more on breastfeeding.
Although organizers used a batch of milk which the farmers had intended to dump anyway, because of the recent market crisis, many netizens simply criticized them for wastefulness.
As of writing, the main article on qq.com, a major Chinese news portal, has garnered more than 4,000 comments, many of which were negative, with some even calling them names.
"There are millions of ways to promote breastfeeding, but they chose to do it by wasting milk," read one.
"It may be well-intentioned but the practice is really wasteful," said a commentator. "I also support all new mothers to adopt breastfeeding, which is the most nourishing way to feed babies. Furthermore, it's helpful to establish a close bond between moms and babies, and reduce breast cancer risk."
Numerous studies document the benefits of breastfeeding not only for the baby, but for the mother as well. Breastfeeding is tied to better brain and memory skills for children.
Studies have shown that infants who are breastfed have a lower risk of diabetes. Mothers who breastfeed reduce their risk of breast cancer, cancer of the womb and osteoporosis.
Above all, though, breastfeeding creates a strong bond between mother and child, helping to create a harmonious relationship, and shaping a healthy child's personality, as specialists affirm.
While some commentators focused on benefits of breastfeeding and the lavish event itself, many found it disturbing to see the slogans the women used.
"Many want to breastfeed their children, however, their breast milk is just barely able to support their babies," said netizen "Zui Chu". "They have to use baby formula. Do they have to starve their children to avoid feeling shame?"
A new mother shared the same sentiment. "What do you mean by shame? I cannot breastfeed my baby because I am ill," she said. "Except breast milk, I have given my baby all my love. I want to ask whether I should feel shamed."
A mother who has breastfed her baby for 39 months said that she also tries to persuade people around to breastfeed their young ones. "But I never say something like 'feeding baby formula is shameful'. It is a choice to breastfeed them or not."
Many simply took the event as a bid to get in the news. "They just made use of the breastfeeding issue for a publicity stunt," said a netizen.
The event took place ahead of World Breastfeeding Week, which is observed during the first week in August.
(Source: Tencent and baike.baidu.com/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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