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Half of Chinese Mothers Persist in Breast-feeding
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About 52.4 percent of Chinese mothers have fed their babies with breast milk exclusively, according to a recent survey of the China Consumers' Association.

The survey interviewed more than 15,000 mothers with their babies below six months old from 30 cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. It shows that 47.6 percent mixed breast-feeding with powdered milk formula.  

It found that only 55.8 percent of the interviewees prepared to breast feed their babies in the first six months.

Among those who could not persist in breast-feeding for six months, 41.8 percent of mothers said they could not provide sufficient breast milk, it said.

More than 32 percent cited busy work as another principal reason, saying it's impossible for them to rush back home to breast feed their babies at any time they need.

About 13.8 percent of the mothers voluntarily gave up breast-feeding as they thought powdered milk formula was more convenient and rich in nutrition, it showed.

The Chinese government has been worried about the popular use of baby milk formula, saying the growth of Chinese babies lags behind developed countries because the babies are not fed properly in early days of their life.

The Ministry of Health recently posted a statement on its website, reiterating that breast milk is not only necessary but also ideal for babies, as its nutrient contents are most suitable for a baby's digestion.

A nurse (R) teaches a mother the right way of breast feeding at the Xiangfan No. 1 People's Hospital in Xiangfan, central China's Hubei Province, Aug. 3, 2007. 

The survey pointed out that 95 percent of the mothers could have sustained exclusive breast-feeding if they got proper guidance from medical institutions.

Barely a half of the surveyed mothers were satisfied with the guidance from doctors. But many still turned to their relatives and friends for help whenever they had troubles in breast-feeding, it said.

Studies around the world have shown that breast-feeding has many advantages for children including a reduction in infections, respiratory illnesses and diarrhea.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2007)

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