Reflecting on the BMSG Journey! 30 Years in Singapore…
Breastfeeding in Singapore from the 1950s
The prevalence of breastfeeding in Singapore declined from the 50s but slowly began rising in the 80s and 90s. The BMSG journey began in the 70s. At that time, breastfeeding rates had fallen to an all-time low.
Prof. Wong Hock Boon, Professor of Paediatrics in Singapore’s medical school set up the Singapore Breastfeeding Mothers’ Group (SBMG) in 1975. The group’sfirst President was New Zealander mother, Mrs Rosemary Chen. It held coffee mornings, phone counselling, breastfeeding seminars & baby shows. It spread its message by distributing breastfeeding literature.
The 1980s heralded change for SBMG, with the signing 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 more healthcare professionals.
In 1991, SBMG became the independent, non-profit society, the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Singapore). Lynette Thomas was its first President.
In 1997, BMSG was granted a tax-exempt status under the Ministry of Health’s Health Endowment Fund. Funds were raised through a walkathon and cultural night, allowing for office space at the SCWO premises
The 2000s & Moving Forward…
In November 2003, the Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy (Singapore) (ABAS) came into existence. BMSG is represented in the ABAS Executive Committee.
As we look ahead, we see how breastfeeding support needs to change in tandem to the huge shifts in Singaporean society. The BMSG team is excited about facing challenges head-on and creating change for breastfeeding mothers and the community!