Give your baby the best nutrition, Breastfeed now!

Give your baby the best nutrition, Breastfeed now!

Breast milk is the perfect food to provide the right balance of nutrients for healthy growth and development of your infants. Most of the mothers can breastfeed, provided that they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Apart from the better child-maternal relationship, immunity and intellectual development, breastfeeding also helps to protect against childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is a global epidemic and Hong Kong shares the same trend. Nowadays more than 20% of our children are either overweight and obese. Researches indicated that the risk of becoming an overweight child goes down with the duration of breastfeeding. Most babies in the developed countries start breastfeeding, but within the first week, more than half of them have already been switched to formula, and breastfeeding can hardly sustain after the maternal leave of their mothers.

As one of the local professional bodies in nutrition, Hong Kong Nutrition Association aims to promote public health nutrition including breastfeeding. We hope this website can serve as one of the useful resources for pregnant women and mothers to serve their children better and reduce the risks of chronic diseases in their later stage of life.

Gordon Cheung
President of Hong Kong Nutrition Association 2010-11

♥ Benefits of Breastfeeding
♥ Breastfeeding Situation in Hong Kong
♥ Get prepared before your baby arrives
♥ Breastfeeding: Recommendations from WHO
♥ 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
♥ Start Breastfeeding in the Hospital
♥ Breastfeeding Schedule
♥ Dietary Guidelines for Lactating Mothers
♥ Nutrition During Breastfeeding
♥ Should Breastfeeding mothers eat seafood and fish?

Benefits of Breastfeeding
Author: Kendy Tam, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association
Why is breastfeeding so important? Breastmilk is not only the natural food for the newborn infant, it is also documented to be associated with a reduction of gastrointestinal infections and acute otis media infections. Recent analysis found evidence that breastfeeding was also associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes as well as breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the mother.

Breast milk contains not only nutrients such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and trace elements which are important in ensuring proper growth and development in the newborn infant, it also contains numerous immune-related components which offer unique protection against invasive infections. The protection doesn’t stop at infancy, it continues to adulthood. When comparing breastfed infants to formula fed infants, studies found in adults (>19 years old) who were breastfed had lower blood cholesterol concentrations in later life as well as a reduction of later obesity development.

1. Agostoni C, et al. Breast-feeding: A Commentary by the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2009; 49:112-125.

Breastfeeding Situation in Hong Kong
Author: Kendy Tam, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

Every year, World Breastfeeding Week which occurs from 1st to 7th August is globally celebrated in over 170 countries. The theme for this year’s slogan is “Talk to me! Breastfeeding-a 3D experience”, which highlights the importance breastfeeding support in 3 different dimensions. Normally, two-dimension means: time (from pre-pregnancy to weaning) and place (the home, community, health care system, etc). The third dimension now includes cross-generation, cross-sector, cross-gender, and cross-culture communication.

According to the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association, the Breastfeeding trend in Hong Kong has been steadily increased from just 19% in year 1992 to 69% in 2007. This rate is measured upon discharge from hospital maternity units which had introduced the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” and also complied with the “International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes”.

1. Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association –accessed August 2011

2. World Breastfeeding Week-accessed August 2011

Get prepared before your baby arrives
Author: Carmela Lee, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

1) Learn about breastfeeding in the third trimester of pregnancy:

  • Take a breastfeeding class – check availability at your hospital, doctor’s or dietitian’s office or local clinics. Learn about community resources such as lactation consultants so you’ll know whom to call with questions or concerns.
  • Read about it – check out books and leaflets from the clinic, hospital or library. The more you know, the more relaxed be in your new role as a breastfeeding mother.


2) Tell everyone about your plans to breast feed:

  • Let your family, friends, doctor, hospital nurses, pediatrician and employer know your plan to give only breast milk to your baby and you’ll need their support.

Breastfeeding: Recommendations from WHO
Author: Carmela Lee, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies in the first six months.
Breastfeeding is best for baby and best for mother.

  • Breast milk’s unique antibodies help protect babies from numerous illnesses and diseases
  • Breastfeeding helps reduce a nursing mother’s risk of diabetes, breast and ovarian cancers and post-partum depression
  • Breastfeeding has both environmental and economic benefits, since It eliminates the costs and wastes associated with formula production and plastic bottles
  • Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby

10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Author: Kendy Tam, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

What are the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and what should you look for? The following statement is published by the World Health Organization, Geneva, in 1989

The hospital facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:

  1. Every Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practise rooming-in – that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

1. Unicef-accessed August 2011

Start Breastfeeding in the Hospital
Author: Carmela Lee, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

Healthy newborns know where to find mother’s breast and how to suckle. All they need is plenty of snuggle time with mother to practice and build up a good milk supply.

  • Room-in improves feed frequency – having your baby with you allows you to respond to his or her hunger cues immediately. The more milk you baby removes from the breast, the more milk you will produce. Formula feeding will disrupt this natural process.
  • Ask for help – some hospitals have a lactation specialist who can help you find solutions if you’re experiencing difficulties with early breastfeeding. Otherwise, seek help from medical professionals.

Breastfeeding Schedule
Author: Carmela Lee, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

Your breasts will easily make enough milk in response to your baby’s growing needs. Most infants will need several feedings through the day and night, especially during the first weeks and growth spurts. Allow your baby to develop his or her own heeding schedules.

  • Take care of yourself – breastfeeding mothers need plenty of nutrient-rich foods and fluids to maintain their stamina while producing enough milk. Make sure to get enough rest. Many mothers take a nap while their babies sleep
  • Turn to resources for support. If you need help figuring how to breast feed while working, or if you have an infant with special needs, check with your pediatrician, lactation specialist or a registered dietitian

Dietary Guidelines for Lactating Mothers
Author: Carmela Lee, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

  • Have at least 3 servings of low fat or skim milk products for calcium intake
    1 serving = 
    + Milk 8 oz 
    + Yogurt 6 oz 
    + Cheese 1 oz 
    + Calcium-fortified soy milk 8 oz
  • Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables
    1 serving = 
    + Cooked vegetables 1/2 bowl 
    + Uncooked vegetables 1 bowl
  • Have at least 2 servings of fruit
    1serving = 
    + 1 medium-sized fruit such as apple. orange 
    + 1/2 large-sized fruit such as dragon fruit, banana 
    + fresh fruit juice 6 oz (should be limited to 1 cup a day)
  • Eat at least 3 bowls of whole grain bread, cereal or pasta
  • Eat at least 3 oz of meat, fish, poultry or soy products

Nutrition During Breastfeeding
Author: Carmela Lee, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

Breastfeeding mothers need extra nutrient in order to nurse the new born. The following are some key points for you to remember:

  • breastfeeding requires extra calories (about 500 more calories per day). Extra calories should be from nutritious foods such as low fat or skim dairy products, lean meats, fruits, and whole grain cereals.
  • The more you nurse, the more calories you need. To learn more about how much calorie you need during breastfeeding, please consult your dietitian.
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet will give your baby what it needs and it will help you to produce quality breast milk for your infant.
  • Consume a wide variety of food from all food groups.
  • Plenty of fluid intake to ensure adequate milk supply. Drink approximately 8 to 12 glasses of caffeine-free drinks per day such as water, low fat or skim milk, clear broth, fresh fruit juice.

Should Breastfeeding mothers eat seafood and fish?
Author: Kendy Tam, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association

Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers may be afraid to limit their seafood and fish consumption due to concerns of mercury levels affecting the fetus or baby. As of 2010, there are now specific recommendations in the USA for woman who are pregnant or breast-feeding to consume 8-12oz of seafood per week from a variety of sources. (Keeping in mind that high mercury content type of fishes such as swordfish, king mackerel, should be avoided).

What are the benefits of including fish and seafood in the diet during pregnancy? Fish and seafood not only provide a good source of high quality protein and a variety of minerals, they also provide the highest level of dietary source of EPA and DHA. Fish such as salmon, flounder, whitefish, mackerel, sardines and seafood such as shrimp, calms and canned light tuna are all low in mercury and provides a good source of DHA.

DHA is an essential nutrient and needed in high levels in the brain, retina(eye) for normal nervous system development such as learning ability, memory and visual acuity.

For breastfed infants, the only source of nutrition for growth and development is from the breastmilk, therefore, the mother’s diet to include the above mentioned fish and seafood is important as it is a major factor for determining the level of DHA available for the baby.


  1. DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute accessed August 2011.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Ed. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office: 2010. Available at: Accessed August 2011.
  3. Guesnet P, Alessandri JM. Docasahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the developing central nervous system (CNS)- Implications for dietary recommendations. Biochimie.2011;93(1):7-12.


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