Guangzhou is helping out new mothers by making nursing rooms mandatory in large public facilities.
According to Southern Metropolis Daily, the city government passed the ‘Guangzhou Breastfeeding Facilitation Regulation,’ which aims to provide mothers who are breastfeeding with proper facilities for nursing their babies. Public places that exceed 10,000 square meters or have more than 10,000 visitors daily – including medical centers, train stations, airports, libraries, parks, malls and other places – are being called upon to construct breastfeeding rooms, or else they will face a penalty of up to RMB50,000.
The regulations also aim to educate new mothers about breastfeeding by training medical personnel on breastfeeding practices as well as setting up breastfeeding clinics.
Companies will be expected to comply with regulations that allow new mothers to take a one-hour-long break (per nursing child) for breastfeeding without being deducted pay. The one-hour break does not count time spent on the commute for breastfeeding.
The new rules highlight a growing concern with China’s low breastfeeding rate. In September, a white paper on the state of breastfeeding in China, cited by Sixth Tone, revealed that less than 30% of infants under six months old are breastfed in China; the national target is 50%. In the US, 51.8% of babies are still breastfeeding at 6 months of age, according to a press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One factor likely affecting China’s breastfeeding rate is a rise in infant food items in China. The baby food industry took in RMB20 billion in 2018. Guangzhou’s new regulations on breastfeeding also prohibit medical institutions from recommending infant food products and receiving milk powder free of charge from milk powder producers.
[Cover image via Pixabay]