Zhengzhou buses test special seat for breast-feeding mothers

Updated: 2013-08-15 08:05

By Fan Feifei (China Daily)

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 Zhengzhou buses test special seat for breast-feeding mothers

A woman and her son use a special breast-feeding seat on a bus in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province. The city is testing the seats on the No 906 bus and plans to expand the program if the service is well-received. Deng Wanli / for China Daily

Zhengzhou buses test special seat for breast-feeding mothers

A special seat for breast-feeding mothers has been added to a No 906 bus in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan province, and more are expected on other buses and routes.

The "breast-feeding seat", has a curtain mothers can draw around them to breastfeed in privacy.

"We set up this special nursing seat considering the inconvenience and embarrassment mothers may feel when they need to feed babies on a bus. This proposal was put forward by one of our bus drivers," said Yang Chaoqun, publicity director of the Third Company of Zhengzhou Bus Communication Corporation.

Yang added there are six companies under the Zhengzhou Bus Communication Corporation and it has more than 6,000 buses. The Third Company has about 1,000 buses. "We want to make the No 906 bus our pilot project and collect responses from passengers. We plan to further expand the practice to more buses," Yang said.

The No 906 bus services 36 stops and takes nearly 2 hours from end to end. However, because the bus passes through the bustling downtown district of Zhengzhou where traffic jams often occur, it can take about five hours to make a round trip.

Cheng Yanhong, 44, the driver who suggested the idea, said she saw a mother holding a child aged 4 to 5 months on her bus while the child cried loudly, but the mother seemed too embarrassed to feed her child.

Cheng said the seat is very simple and was converted from a reserved seat for the elderly, disabled and pregnant into a private room using a curtain and shelf.

Gao Xin, 30, a mother of a 4-month-old baby, said, "I think it is very necessary, as mothers like me are often embarrassed to breast-feed their child though the child is very hungry. The curtain can solve the problem."

Gao added there is only one seat on each bus and feared some mothers might need to feed their child while someone not feeding is using it.

Jiang Yongping, a researcher from the Women's Studies Institute of China, said setting up such seats is very considerate.

"Mothers have to feed their babies every 2 to 4 hours, but if they are on the bus a long time, it is necessary for the bus to provide a quiet, safe and private space for them," she said.

Jiang praised the bus company for coming up with the idea and providing quality service to its customers, adding it also encouraged breast-feeding.

However, Sun Xiaomei, a professor of women's studies at China Women's University, doubted the utility rate of such seats and thought them unnecessary for short journeys.

She said it would be more convenient to set up breast-feeding rooms at railway stations, airports and big supermarkets.

Qi Xin in Zhengzhou contributed to this story.


(China Daily USA 08/15/2013 page5)