Behind Milk Scandal, a Drop in Breast-Feeding

Maureen Fan of the Washington Post reports on Chinese views of breast-feeding and the impact of the milk scandal.

Since China’s tainted milk scandal broke in September, killing at least four infants and sickening 54,000 other children, fear has sent new parents back to breast-feeding or in search of more expensive imported formula.

But the larger picture behind the scandal, in which 22 dairy companies were found to have produced melamine-laced milk, is of a nation where women have increasingly chosen not to breast-feed.

In the 1970s, nearly all Chinese breast-fed their infants because there was no real alternative. But in the past several decades — amid rising incomes, the development of the dairy industry and growing urbanization — China has embraced baby formula.

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