Did you hear about the mother who was chided for breastfeeding her baby at the Coca Restaurant in Resorts World Sentosa? The restaurant employee even covered her baby with a dirty jacket, and informed the mother that breastfeeding in public is not allowed in Singapore.
In the mother’s account of the incident at citizen-journalism website STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), she said: “I was chided and told off for nursing my baby girl in the restaurant, even when I was facing discreetly away from the diners.”
She continued: “The manager of the store came over and told me that in Singapore, we are not allowed to breastfeed in public places.”
According to The Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group Singapore (BMSG), this is not true.
Anita Daubaras, the Vice-President of BMSG, clarified in an email to the website that “It is not an offence to breastfeed in public in Singapore, if the mother is decently clad and does not expose more of her breast than is necessary to breastfeed.”
The full text of her email follows:
BMSG RESPONSE REGARDING BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC
“The incident about the mother who was chided at a restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore, for breastfeeding her baby publicly has opened up contentious areas for many readers.
On behalf of the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group Singapore (BMSG), I would like to take the opportunity to clarify some concerns that have come to light.
It is not an offence to breastfeed in public in Singapore, if the mother is decently clad and does not expose more of her breast than is necessary to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful act of tenderness and nurturance. The discomfort that many experience when they see a mother breastfeeding stems from cultural sensitivity and conflict between the breast being perceived as a sexual object and a means of nourishing a young child.
Many mothers choose to breastfeed in privacy, in nursing rooms or at home. Some do so in public, but very discreetly. Some may not breastfeed openly because they do not want their infant feeding choice to cause discomfort for others. Nevertheless, it is an individual mother’s choice.
Asking a mother to limit breastfeeding ignores her baby’s needs and potentially influences her breastfeeding success. A fussy baby who wants to nurse but is denied the breast would also be disturbing for others in the vicinity. Many babies resist being covered while breastfeeding.
We need to respect that every mother and baby finds their own style of discreet breastfeeding, be this through nursing in a corner, under a nursing shawl or with the mother wearing a loose t-shirt.
Breastfeeding mothers and families need community-wide support in order that more babies receive mother’s milk. In solidarity with the beautiful mothers out there who breastfeed in public, the BMSG will be hosting the Big Latch On @ Emily Hill on 3rd August 2013 from 9.30 am – 12.30 pm.”