We have heard of incidents where mums are shamed for breastfeeding in public. Just like this woman who was shamed by young women for breastfeeding her twin girls at Toast Box at MBS. I’m starting to think the world will only be happy if we are all mothers with full-time jobs and breastfeed exclusively, but never in public.
Can you imagine the horror of being harassed for breastfeeding your baby in your own car? This is what happened to Karen, a mum of 2 gorgeous daughters, Emily (8 years old) and Rose (4 months old).
Karen, a stay-at-home mum (aged 34), reached out to us, wanting to share her amazing story. She was (as every mother would be) so proud of her daughter for standing up for her.
Karen was picking her mum up from Kallang Leisure Park last Sunday, and brought her daughters along for the drive. She also had no helper to leave them at home with. As Karen was a bit early for the pick-up, and Rose was hungry, Karen moved into the back seat of her car (to get more comfortable), and began to nurse her child.
She was parked at an open-air carpark, under the shade, at the side of the mall. Emily was in the back seat as well, reading her book. About five minutes into her feed, a middle-aged woman, who “looked like she was a working professional”, walked past her car, stopped right in front of Karen, and confronted her through the window of her car.
“Put your naked breasts away! It’s totally not the right place to do this.”
Karen was left speechless. What? Even if this was a public place like a restaurant or a park, this would be totally okay. I am in the confined space of my own car! These thoughts ran past Karen’s mind, but she was too shocked to retort.
And she didn’t have to fight back, because her daughter did just that.
“My sister needs her milk. If you don’t like it, you can just move away you know?”
The shamer was clearly shocked, and walked away quickly and quietly. Hats off to you, little Emily. For being so brave and so supportive of your mum!
How do we stop the shaming and harassment?
We must all be very clear by now that breastfeeding in public in Singapore is not a public offence. Breastfeeding mothers are allowed to nurse their babies whenever and wherever they want to.
Karen getting chewed out by a passer-by for daring to feed her baby from her own back seat is simply ridiculous.
Karen shares with me candidly, “She can suck my left one for all I care!”
Why should feeding her child be a concern to anyone? Breastfeeding mums should not have to think twice about when and where they have to nurse, or how others will perceive it. The fear should end. But how, and when?
There’s a need for change. How can we as Singaporeans teach our younger AND older generation (in this case) that the shaming and harassment of public breastfeeding mums must stop? This is something we should all ponder over deeply.
It’s a shame Karen had to be harassed like that, but so awesome for her to watch her 8-year-old stand up for her. Kudos, mummy! With a kid like that, you’re clearly doing a fantastic job.
*theAsianparent obtained Karen’s permission to share her story
How would you have reacted if this happened to you? How can we educated more Singaporeans that breastfeeding in public is not a crime? Share with us below.