Hong Kong’s hippest restaurants, cafés and bars are backing #Ittasteslikelove – a new campaign to normalise breastfeeding in the city – pledging that nursing mothers will be welcome and supported in their establishments.
According to UNICEF, 40 per cent of women who breastfeed in public endure complaints or unpleasant experiences in Hong Kong. Many have been asked to cover up, are directed to the washroom or are told to move somewhere more discreet.
Now, in a bid to tackle the prejudice and discrimination many women face simply for feeding their children, some of the city’s most popular eateries – including Pret A Manger, Habitu, FRITES, MANA!, Beef & Liberty and Elephant Grounds – as well as international restaurant groups like Black Sheep Restaurants and Maximal Concepts are publicly showing their support.
Renowned education centre Baumhaus and prestigious private members’ club Maggie & Rose are also backing the campaign across their venues.
Liz Thomas, the founder of the #Ittasteslikelove campaign, explains: “The aim is simply for mothers to be able to breastfeed, however, wherever and whenever they need. That they should do so free from harassment and disapproval should be the bare minimum expected of a civilised city, but we want to encourage the community to make sure parents feel encouraged, at ease and welcome rather than shamed or treated with contempt.
Having these brilliant restaurants and cafés support the campaign is important not just so that families know where they are in safe hands, but also for the broader message that breastfeeding, which is the biological norm, is not something to be hidden away.
Hong Kong thinks of itself as a liberal city, but there are still too many stories of women being instructed to nurse in toilets or told to cover up. We want to put an end to that and the stigma that surrounds breastfeeding in public.”
Liz Thomas (photo credit: Eva Thieulle, Eva Portraits, and Joanna Worthington Collins )
Hong Kong authorities are trying to raise breastfeeding rates, undertaking public campaigns to call on women to nurse and to do so for longer. Currently, just 27.9 per cent of women in the city reach the minimum six-month exclusive breastfeeding milestone recommended by the World Health Organisation, which has long extolled the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby.
Multiple studies have found that women are more likely to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed if their friends, peers and wider community support the idea. Having Hong Kong’s leading restaurants, cafés and bars show public support for breastfeeding women highlights the role we all play in ensuring parents aren’t left feeling isolated.
All the venues involved will have #Ittasteslikelove cards on their door, by the till or online to indicate their support, and some will have discretionary special offers, such as complimentary drinks, to emphasise that parents are valued customers. They have all committed to ensuring that staff understand the campaign and have discussed how they can help nursing mothers to feel at ease.
To help parents to find places they can trust to support them, Little Monkey, Hong Kong’s only directory listing all the city’s family-friendly options, is backing the campaign and will highlight all the restaurants also doing so. Users can simply type in the #Ittasteslikelove hashtag to find the city’s most forward-thinking spots.
Little Monkey founder Chhin Lee says, “Little Monkey believes it should be as simple as possible for parents to find places they can take their children. Hong Kong is not always family friendly, and it is not always nursing friendly. We’re backing the #Ittasteslikelove campaign to normalise breastfeeding to change that. Plus, it gives nursing mothers – and their families – one less thing to stress about.”
Thomas plans to extend the #Ittasteslikelove campaign citywide and encourages lifestyle groups, gyms, salons and shops to join the campaign.
She says, “If we insist breastfeeding remains in the shadows, the only images young people will see of breasts are either to sell or to seduce. We need to change the narrative and bring it into the light.”
Find #Ittasteslikelove online:
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