“10m2 of Love” campaign to promote public breastfeeding rooms launched in China
Public-private-partnership to make breastfeeding more convenient in offices and stores
Beijing, 12 June 2013 – In an effort to boost declining breastfeeding rates in China the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Centre for Women and Children’s Health, CDC (NCWCH) jointly launched the “10m2 of Love” campaign. The innovative campaign aims to locate, register, certify and publicize breastfeeding rooms, both for employees as well as for patrons and customers in public buildings and stores.
China’s exclusive breastfeeding rates are low while infant formula sales have grown at about 15 per cent per annum. Exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months – the gold standard – has dropped to 28 per cent in China, according to official data. A broad consensus of health authorities believe that no substitute can come close to providing the significant lifetime health benefits that human breastmilk provides for children, and that the dramatic decline of breastfeeding, especially in developing countries, poses serious health risks to children.
“Breastmilk is the most suitable food for babies, containing all nutrients needed. Breastfeeding is crucial for a child's future development,” said Jin Xi, Deputy Director-General of NCWCH.
In a bid to help more families sustain exclusive breastfeeding and to support breastfeeding mothers who return to work, a long-term national movement to speed the establishment of “10m2 of Love” breastfeeding rooms will be promoted by UNICEF and NCWCH.
“Breastmilk is nature’s true super food for babies. No artificial substitute compares,” said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF China Representative. “Yet, it is harder than ever to find time or space to give babies all the benefits associated with exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. Many things need to be done but we decided to start by supporting mothers trying to continue breastfeeding after their return to work.”
The campaign has established a web portal (unicef.cn/10m2) where any organization can register breastfeeding rooms for staff or for patrons and customers which adhere to a set of simple international standards. A mobile phone application, now under development, will map the locations of all 10m2 of Love facilities in China. The app will be launched later this year.
On hand for the 10m2 of Love campaign launch was film and television star Ma Yili, who was recently appointed UNICEF Special Advocate for Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Development. Ma has agreed to serve as the primary spokesperson for the campaign, “I am honored to partner with UNICEF,” Ma said on her appointment.
“As a mother myself, I know how important breastfeeding is. Yet overall the environment around breastfeeding mothers is not very supportive. We will keep repeating the message and supporting would-be mothers and breast feeding mothers.”
The main event of the 30 May launch was the ceremonial first registration of breastfeeding rooms in both public institutions and private enterprises. On the government side, NCWCH and the All China Women’s Federation registered their first 10m2 of Love rooms. The honor of being among the first private sector members of the campaign went to Baidu Corporation, IKEA and H&M.
UNICEF also premiered a new animated PSA titled “Breastfeeding. It’s only natural” that is sure to capture the public’s attention. The campaign has also set out to produce dramatically improved promotional materials to support China’s efforts to increase breastfeeding rates. A series of high quality infographics, posters and flyers was introduced at the event.
A mother and father shared moving stories of how they overcame negative attitudes, criticism and ignorance in order to persist in efforts to provide nature’s super food for their children. A large group of breastfeeding mothers and their babies were invited to the event to underline the 10m2 of Love campaign’s main aim: to make all communities more supportive of families’ efforts to breastfeed.