Singapore from the 1950s
The prevalence of breastfeeding in Singapore declined in the 50s when more mothers adopted formula feeding. When BMSG was established in the mid-70s, breastfeeding rates had fallen to an all-time low. We faced the tall order of turning things around by promoting breastfeeding to the public.
Prof. Wong Hock Boon, Professor of Paediatrics in Singapore’s medical school was the catalyst behind the establishing of the Singapore Breastfeeding Mothers’ Group (SBMG) in 1975. The group’s first President was Mrs Rosemary Chen, an enthusiastic and cheery New Zealander who was originally from Malaysia.
SBMG organised a variety of events, such as coffee mornings, phone counselling, breastfeeding seminars and baby shows to enhance public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding. In addition, SBMG sought to actively spread its pro-breastfeeding message by distributing breastfeeding literature.
Reflecting on our BMSG Journey! 30 Years in Singapore…
The onset of the 1980s heralded considerable changes for SBMG, with the occurrence of momentous milestones such as the emergence of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in 1981; and the implementation of formal training for SBMG counsellors in 1983. SBMG was also able to reach out to more healthcare professionals to garner support for its cause.
In 1991, SBMG became the independent, non-profit society – the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Singapore). Lynette Thomas was inaugurated as its first President.