Help for moms

Pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties to get rooms for chang­ing and feed­ing ba­bies

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

All ma­jor pub­lic places in China, such as trans­porta­tion hubs, big shop­ping malls and hos­pi­tals, should be equipped with mother-and-child fa­cil­i­ties by the end of 2020, ac­cord­ing to a top au­thor­ity guide­line to sup­port the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the uni­ver­sal two-child pol­icy.

All ma­jor air­ports and train sta­tions in pro­vin­cial cap­i­tals in China should of­fer such fa­cil­i­ties be­fore the end of this year, and more than 80 per­cent of ma­jor pub­lic places in the coun­try should be equipped with such ser­vices by the end of 2018, ac­cord­ing to the guide­line, re­leased by the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Such fa­cil­i­ties, used for breast-feed­ing or di­a­per chang­ing, should be at least 10 square me­ters with slip-proof floors, and in­clude di­a­per­chang­ing pads, hand-wash basins with hot wa­ter, cribs and chairs for moth­ers to sit in while breast-feed­ing, the guide­line said. Work­places should also set up nurs­ing homes for breast-feed­ing staff, it added.

The com­mis­sion called on other gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, such as the Min­istry of Trans­port and Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, for fi­nan­cial sup­port and ef­fec­tive su­per­vi­sion to en­sure the tar­gets are achieved.

China adopted a uni­ver­sal two-child pol­icy at the begin­ning of the year, which made 90 mil­lion more cou­ples el­i­gi­ble to have a sec­ond child.

The num­ber of ba­bies born in the first half of the year reached 8.3 mil­lion, up 6.9 per­cent over the same pe­riod last year, and the num­ber of births is ex­pected to con­tinue in­creas­ing over the next few years, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion. How­ever, mother-and-child fa­cil­i­ties in many pub­lic places are ab­sent or un­der­equipped, of­ten draw­ing crit­i­cism from the pub­lic.

In Fe­bru­ary, Ma Yili, a fa­mous Chi­nese ac­tress, posted her ex­pe­ri­ence when us­ing an ill-equipped fa­cil­ity for breast-feed­ing and di­a­per chang­ing at an air­port in China, spark­ing pub­lic de­bate on the is­sue. Her baby’s pants and her hands were soiled when she changed her daugh­ter’s di­a­per and she had to throw away the pants, she said.

Although the gov­ern­ment has been en­cour­ag­ing com­pa­nies to set up breast-feed­ing rooms, only 30 per­cent of com­pa­nies in China with such fa­cil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by China Women’s News.

“Breast-feed­ing and at­tend­ing ba­bies in­volves pri­vacy and can be em­bar­rass­ing in pub­lic. All pub­lic places should be equipped with such fa­cil­i­ties, if pos­si­ble,” said Yuan Xin, a pro­fes­sor of pop­u­la­tion stud­ies at Tian­jin-based Nankai Univer­sity. “The es­tab­lish­ment of such fa­cil­i­ties also re­flects the de­vel­op­ment of a so­ci­ety.”

The Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion will es­tab­lish stan­dards on such mother-and-baby fa­cil­i­ties and en­cour­age in­cor­po­rat­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of such fa­cil­i­ties into ur­ban plan­ning to ad­dress the lack of such fa­cil­i­ties, Wang Guo­qiang, vice-min­is­ter in charge of the com­mis­sion, said in Au­gust at an event to pro­mote breast­feed­ing in Bei­jing.

90 mil­lion more cou­ples are el­i­gi­ble to have a sec­ond child af­ter China adopted a uni­ver­sal two-child pol­icy this year.

8.3 mil­lion Num­ber of ba­bies born in the first half of the year, up 6.9 per­cent over the same pe­riod last year

YANG SHICHAO / XIN­HUA

A mother tends to her baby in a nurs­ing room at a shop­ping mall in Shang­hai.

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