A flash mob of about 30 couples yesterday breastfed their babies in public in Taipei Railway Station’s central plaza in observance of WHO World Breastfeeding Week.
At 11am, a group of women wearing pink T-shirts entered the plaza, sat down on picnic blankets with their spouses and gave their babies a breast.
World Breastfeeding Week is observed from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 each year to promote breastfeeding and infant health.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The Health Promotion Administration (HPA), which organized the event, said it hoped to increase public understanding of and support for breastfeeding.
This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life,” in recognition of the importance of breastfeeding for a baby’s future, it said.
Breast milk is also a newborn’s first vaccine, providing vital antibodies and an immunity boost, the agency said.
According a national breastfeeding survey conducted by the agency in 2016, the exclusive breastfeeding rate — the percentage of parents feeding infants nothing but breast milk — for the first six months after birth in Taiwan was 44.8 percent, higher than the global average of 38 percent and close to the WHO’s goal of reaching a worldwide average of 50 percent by 2025.
A flash mob participant said that while an increasing number of public facilities, such as MRT stations and department stores, have installed specialized breastfeeding rooms, there were still many occasions in which she had to breastfeed in public spaces.
She often felt uncomfortable doing so, as strangers made awkward or strange facial expressions, she said.
Hopefully, the public could show more support and respect mothers who breastfeed whenever and wherever they need to, HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei (王英偉) said.
The WHO recommends starting with exclusive breastfeeding within an hour of birth and until a baby is at least six months old, and then continuing to give one’s child the breast alongside appropriate complementary solid foods until they are two years old, the HPA said.
The agency also advised mothers to give birth at hospitals that have a “mother-baby friendly certificate,” at which specialized medical practitioners teach breastfeeding knowledge and techniques before birth and can help with any postnatal difficulties breastfeeding.
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