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Breast-feeding rate remains low in China

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-08-02 11:00

Just over 20 percent of women in China breast-feed their babies, according to data shared at a seminar ahead of World Breast-Feeding Week, which runs Aug 1 to 7.

The figure, based on the latest research by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is much lower than the global average of 38 percent.

"Most countries encourage women to breast-feed babies for two years or more. However, it is not easy to practice that in a Chinese family," said Zheng Huan, who runs an app that spreads information on breast-feeding.

"Family elders may exert their authority on young mothers, stopping them from breast-feeding a baby older than 1," Zheng said. "When babies cry, parents or grandparents may think they are hungry and prefer to bottle-feed them for convenience."

Experts at the seminar also advocated creating a social environment more favorable for breast-feeding.

An unnamed researcher with the Capital Institute of Pediatrics told Caixin both the government and employers should introduce measures that encourage mothers to breast-feed.

Maternal guidance after delivery is also important, experts pointed out. A study of 18 community health service centers in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, found only one nurse was responsible for postpartum visits, and no training or skill assessments were conducted.

Li Hongyang contributed to this story

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