A Breastfeeding Room in Qingdao United Family Hospital was recently unveiled, signifying the hospital’s formal participation in the “10 ㎡ of Love” project which was initiated and sponsored by UNICEF and the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Women and Children Health Center. It aims to provide mothers with more space for breastfeeding.
10 ㎡ of Love, Building a Social Environment that Supports Breastfeeding
Breast milk is the perfect natural food for your baby’s health. No artificial food can be compared with breast milk. Since most mothers have hectic schedules, finding time and space for breastfeeding has almost become luxuries. The 10㎡ of Love campaign calls for all public places and work places to provide convenience for mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies to allow infants to have the most natural healthy food.
At the unveiling ceremony of the Maternity Nursing Room at Qingdao United Family Hospital, Ms. Ding Bing, UNICEF’s 10㎡ of Love project consultant, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) China Liaison, and the Deputy Secretary General of the National Maternal and Child Health Research Association repeatedly emphasized the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and children. She spoke movingly about how nursing rooms are still not widely available, how many mothers pump breast milk in bathrooms, and how, even if there is a nursing room, the logo is simply a baby bottle. But if there were no mothers, how could there be maternal love? So, we hope to raise the entire society’s awareness of breastfeeding and help everyone to realize that the irreplaceable importance to children of mothers’ companionship and role in nursing. The 10㎡ of Love campaign started in 2014, the purpose of which is to promote social support for breastfeeding, increase the rate of breastfeeding, and enhance the construction and quantity of standardized nursing rooms. The construction of a social environment that supports breastfeeding requires the support of all people. We hope that more employers like United Family Healthcare will join in our 10㎡ of Love campaign.
Ms. Ding Bing Talks about the International Forefront of BreastfeedingMs. Liu Liping, Chairwoman of the Qingdao Municipal Committee for the Wellbeing of Children, said at the unveiling ceremony that the demand of public breastfeeding has been basically satisfied today. However, seen from the perspective of spiritual civilization and the overall improvement of Chinese people’s physical quality, China’s public breastfeeding installations are still inconsistent in standard, inadequate in quantity, unbalanced in development, and incomplete in coverage, compared with those in developed countries. The 10㎡ of Love project initiated and implemented by UNICEF and the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Women’s and Children’s Health Center will play an important role in promoting, standardizing, regulating, and guiding the construction of public breastfeeding rooms. I am very glad to witness Qingdao United Family Hospital receiving the 10㎡ of Love certification. I also hope that more and more companies and organizations can take on the social responsibility and join our warm, big family so that more breastfeeding mothers can exercise the right to breastfeed safely, conveniently and with dignity and unite in contributing love and energy to the improvement and advancement of the public breastfeeding environment in Qingdao.
From Breast Milk Banks to Nursing Rooms, Breastfeeding is Kept Moving Forward
Qingdao United Family Hospital attaches great importance to breast-feeding, with long-term adherence to practical actions to popularize and promote breast-feeding knowledge among mothers and their families. In September 2017, Qingdao United Family Hospital was recognized by China National Committee for the Wellbeing of Youth for its collaboration with the Breast Milk Bank Promotion Project and became the first private hospital in China to have a public welfare breast milk bank. Mothers in Qingdao and even the whole province can donate excess breast milk here to help premature infants, infants with milk protein allergies, children who have undergone chemotherapy, and critically ill children. Breastfeeding rooms will be more standardized after receiving the 10㎡ of Love certification. As a further powerful measure to promote breastfeeding at Qingdao United Family Hospital, it will benefit more breastfeeding mothers and children and provide them with a comfortable and private breastfeeding environment.
According to Wang Yan, head of the breastfeeding consultation room at Qingdao United Family Hospital, breast milk is the ideal natural food for infants. It contains all the nutrients needed for the growth and development of infants 0-6 months’ old, is easily digestible and absorbable, promotes baby’s growth and development, contains unique antibodies, and protects infants from respiratory infections, allergies, diarrhea, and other diseases.
The breast milk bank of Qingdao United Family Hospital is open all the time, and mothers who have the intention to donate breast milk can call the hospital to make an appointment at 4008-919191. The staff members will take down initial information and Wang Yan, the person in charge of the breastfeeding consultation room, will return calls and evaluate the mother’s physical condition to avoid taking donations from physically unsuitable mothers. After the preliminary assessment is passed, the staff will appoint a time with the generous mother to come to the hospital for registration and a blood test. If the test results are normal, breast milk will be collected and a certificate will be issued to the mother. In order to ensure the safety and antiseptic sterility of the breast milk, the bank does not accept any breast milk frozen in milk bags. The donation of breast milk must be carried out in the hospital’s sterile donation room and stored separately in a special disposable milk bottle.
Taking Social Responsibility to Demonstrate a Humane Concern
Persistent breastfeeding requires a great deal of will power and endurance on the part of the mother. Breastfeeding mothers not only face physical pain, but also bear the psychological stress caused by the uncomfortable environment. The burden of rearing a healthy baby should not be placed on the shoulders of mothers alone. The 10m2 of Love campaign calls all of society to provide love and energy in support of breastfeeding.
Mr. Wang Ao, General Manager of Qingdao United Family Hospital, said that UFH has been dedicated to charity work for the past 20 years. The United Family Foundation for China’s Health is the charity arm of United Family healthcare and each year 1% of the income of the entire UFH system is spent as donations to needy orphans and vulnerable adult groups. In the past four or five years, UFH staff have participated in many other public welfare organizations’ activities, including working with the Cui Yongyuan Charity Foundation to provide free health screenings and medical examinations for rural teachers, and collaborating with the Han Hong Love Foundation to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings to women in poverty-stricken areas such as Guizhou and Gansu. Last year, they participated in a charitable breast milk bank project, as the only private company in the country with a public breast milk bank, which has been operating smoothly for eight months. Now, they are very happy to participate in UNICEF’s 10㎡ of Love campaign. They hope that they can use this project to further expand support for and education in breastfeeding so that more people can understand the benefits of breastfeeding for children and the entire family. “Today is May 20th, the Network Valentine’s Day when all of us are expected to shout out our love. So, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to loving people to join our team in support of breastfeeding so that more families can be blessed with good fortune!” Wang said.
Maternal and pediatric health is related to the future and the hope of the entire nation. The operation of breast milk banks and the popularization of breast-feeding rooms can help children to lay a healthy foundation for their entire life. Qingdao United Family Hospital is willing to actively practice corporate social responsibility, remove obstacles to breastfeeding, and show humanistic care in all aspects to contribute to the health of infants and young children in Qingdao.