Is breastfeeding socially acceptable? Find out how one mum feels about it!
Breastfeeding in public
Breastfeeding is a natural phenomenon, it's an experience that several mothers enjoy. On the other hand, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of seeing a nursing mum.
Your breasts are yours, so you should have the right to breastfeed whenever and where ever you are. However, are you offending other people when you breastfeed in public?
Breastfeeding in public, whether it's acceptable or not, is a question on several mothers' minds.
Having the right to breastfeed in public
Breastfeeding is a normal part of life. It's a mother meeting her baby's basic needs. It is also considered a way for the mother and the baby to bond with each other.
Some believe that breasts are highly objectified in the media, and are used for advertising purposing almost every minute, so how is it that breastfeeding in public makes people uncomfortable?
While others say that bottles should be used to give breast milk in an outdoor setting to be courteous towards others. Baby bottles, however, are designed in such a way that they, too, emulate the breast, which comforts the baby.
The modest way
A number of mothers feel that they have the right to breastfeed in public, although it should be done modestly - without exposing any body parts. This way attention is not drawn to them.
Breastfeeding in public should be considered the same as eating out in public, some rules should be followed, but it is definitely something that needs to be more accepted by society.
Stigma attached to breastfeeding in public
There are a few common reasons to why not to breastfeed in public. Personally I do not buy into these reasons.
1. People around you may not be comfortable with seeing the private areas of a mother's body.
And so, they shouldn't be forced to. The people around you need to be taken into consideration before you breastfeed. For example, seeing an exposed breast can be very traumatizing for some people, especially kids who are in their pre-teens. This is something they will see eventually, but they may not be ready for it at that moment and It could affect their views on babies.
2. It may not be safe for a woman
While it is generally safe to breastfeed in public in Singapore - there are some areas where I would stay away from doing so as it might put you in harms way. There are also a few countries where breastfeeding in public is not legal, so do educate yourself on the laws of the country before traveling there.
3. Weather conditions
If you are traveling to a climate with sub zero temperatures, I would also avoid nursing in public as to prevent catching a cold or worse.
If you're a new mother, and wish to breastfeed in public discreetly, here are some methods you can try:
Nursing covers with open necks are the most practical. It allows the baby to look back at you while covering private parts of the body. It looks like an apron, and the round neck keeps the baby from fidgeting and allows you to be discrete.
Shawls can be draped on the exposed breast and around the baby to cover private parts. Shawls are easy to find in stores and don't take up much space in your handbag.
Slings cover up the right parts of the body, as well as keeping your hands free. This is the most practical method for a busy mother. Be sure to test the sling before you go out in public.
Here's a video on feeding in public:
Tell us what your sentiments are about breastfeeding in public in Singapore.
Need breastfeeding help or support? Don't fret!
theAsianparent has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.