Public breastfeeding is one of those unique topics that that could evoke strong reactions in society.
Repetitive as it may seems, public breastfeeding is still a brand new territory to many; after all, millions of women around the world are becoming new mothers each day. Many mums have came across less than tolerant reactions to their need to feed their babies in public with some mums even being told that they are being indecent and to feed their babies elsewhere “for everyone’s comfort.”
It is ironic that with the media splashing images of half-naked celebrities in provocative poses everywhere that a little side-boob action when a mother is breastfeeding would get such an intolerant reaction from the public.
Singaporean mum, Ma Hui Jian, was once warned by a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) officer to not feed her starving child in public as it might have caused public nuisance. “my boy was already screaming le so I got no choice to feed wad! somemore I got fully cover nursing cover til e back le,” she wrote on theAsianparent Breastfeeding Mums Facebook page. Her dilemma was met with outrage by other breastfeeding mums who went so far as to liken the so-called indecency of public breastfeeding to women who wears provocative clothes. “ …[sic] coz u wear nursing cvr wat! So wat about woman who wear sexy clothes? geramnye!” wrote another outraged mum, Andi Vica.
The rants and cries of indignation when it comes to this obviously hot issue is not a unique trait amongts Singaporean mums alone.
Taking the public breastfeeding fight online
Women all over have taken it onto themselves to make themselves heard of the public breastfeeding issue by taking it to numerous digital platforms such as LiveJournal, Twitter, Facebook and most prominently through YouTube as demonstrated by YouTube user karaseen.
In the video (which is worth a look), Kara went on to say that one of the biggest issue that public breastfeeding faces is the “But is it natural?” dilemma where people debate whether breastfeeding in public is natural.
The debate is that sex is natural but people don’t do it in public, therefore by default even if breastfeeding is natural, then breastfeeding shouldn’t be done in public either. The problem with this argument is that with sex, it is with two consensual adults. With breastfeeding on the other hand, it is with a starving child that needs to be fed if it is to continue to survive.
Though nursing in public continues to be an issue in Singapore, and the world in general, at least Singaporean mums are on a slightly winning side. Though not completely accepting, we Singaporeans are a tolerant lot when it comes to this. In fact, that there are designated breastfeeding areas in the local hotspots such as Forum Galleria, Ikea Alexander and Marina Square to name a few. (For the full list, click here.)
Yes, mums are still being told off for nursing publicly but at least we are progressively taking a step forward in hopefully making the public breastfeeding issue a non-issue here 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.