[Sharing] Nursing in Public – Yay or Nay?

In the past 2 weeks, we headed to the Singapore Zoo twice. We were searching for family friendly places to spend quality time with the kids and the zoo just popped up naturally.

During both outings to the zoo, Meimei had to latch as we were there for more than 6 hours each visit. Well, there are nice nursing facilities at the zoo, but I can’t possibly run all the way there each time she needed to nurse, right?

So, who cares? Just NURSE IN PUBLIC!

Meimei is my 3rd child. I’ll be frank, my breasts are ‘public property’ every time I’m still breastfeeding the kids. My priority as a nursing mother is to nourish my kids. And of course, the endless stream of visitors during confinement helped thicken my skin. Those aunties and cousins who shoved their faces at my boobs to take a closer look at baby toughened me up. And not forgetting the endless stream of nurses, cleaners and visitors or random strangers who entered the wrong room at the hospital who happily yank open the curtains when I was half naked, trying to get my newborn to latch. *poof to privacy*

Anyway, back to the zoo. I was happily latching while my elder boys went off to check out the snakes at the Snake House. It was cool in the share, nice bench and most importantly, Meimei was hungry. We went ‘bare minimum’ with our zoo trip and guess what we forgot to pack? The nursing cover!

With the girl yelling ‘neh neh neh’ non-stop, demanding for a latch, I couldn’t care anymore. Sat down. Lift up. Pull down. Latch.

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While I sat there latching, many tourists and locals walked past. Young children, their parents and grandparents, teenagers who were with their friends, etc. They saw, they looked, they continued with what they were doing. There was no fuss, no rude stares, no horrified looks.

It was really the best place to latch a baby.

And in my head, I was geared up. Ready to defend nursing in public (NIP). Anyone who dares tell me to cover up or go elsewhere to latch, I will tell them this:

“Please tell all the mammals in the zoo
to cover up
when they are latching,
then come back and talk to me.”

Alright alright… I know it sounds rude but hey! If I need to feed my child, I need to feed my child! Bring your own sexual fantasy elsewhere! My breasts have a function, they make milk and I feed my baby milk. That is all. I am not a sex object! This is how mammals have been designed and you don’t see a male monkey getting a hard on just by looking at a mummy monkey latch her baby monkey right? So get your head straight and keep your pants on.

Anyway, I was really happy that day. I latched her again as I sat on a mat near the waterplay area. Again, no one bothered me at all. Except a naughty monkey who came over to steal food twice.

And so… I gathered some mummies to share their views and experiences on nursing in public.

I’m so happy with the responses! There are so many ways we can nurse in public, depending on our comfort levels! Individualize your NIP experience!

The Modest Approach

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Mummy LM: NIP is a breeze 🙂

Covering up according to your comfort level is most important.

 

The No-One-Will-Know Approach

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Mummy Regina: To be able to advocate breastfeeding in public and let more people have more awareness about breastfeeding is what mummies should dare to stand up for – Nursing in Public.

I love this. If you don’t mention it, no one will notice!

The Proud-Mummy Approach – (MY PERSONAL FAVE)

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Mummy Fadilah: Excuse me for sending so many pictures. I am just too proud that I am capable of BFing on the go and not giving any s**t of the stares/glares I get from ppls around me. I am also proud of my husband Zaly Bikerboyz for stand up for me and supporting me through out my BFing journey with both our kids.The 1st picture is of me at Jurong Polyclinic. Accompany my mother for the medical check up as she is diabetic and require regular check ups. The clinic was very crowded and lil bumbum (Luqman Bahri) being very fussy. He was also at the phase that he does not like go be under the covers. The nursing room was on the 2nd floor but my mother was seeing the doctor on the 1st floor. Could not sit to nurse as lil bumbum was very fussy. Some aunties smile and gave encouraging words but there are some cheeky fellows that keep staring. Of course I cover as modestly as I can.

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Mummy Fadilah: 2nd picture was us at my brothers work open house. He is a Marine Firefight. They were giving talk about fire safety and giving tours of the fire station and their fire boat. That is us getting ready to get on board the fire boat. No nursing room there. But lil bumbum was not affected at all. He is nicely snugged inside the carrier and feeding away. I didn’t really care what everyone else was thinking as long as my lil bumbum is fed and happy.

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Mummy Fadilah: Now the most recent one is of us at Pahlawan beach. This was after the My Little Pony Run. Lil Bumbum must be super thirsty waiting for Mama and sister to finish the run. The moment we settle ourselves at the beach, lil bumbum wants to be nurse. There were a lot of ppl that day due to the MLP event and furthermore its a Sunday. I forgot to bring my nursing cover on that day but I still manage to keep myself modestly covered with my hijab and baby towel. There are ppl that look at what i was doing and smile but there are cheeky eyes also. Thankfully Mr Husband was in front to stand guard…..
I will continue nurse my babies as long as they want. Where ever they want.To date my lil ones are 4 years old and 19 mths.

I really applaud Mummy Fadilah and her husband! She is so happy with her hubby’s support and I guess the key formula to successful breastfeeding is good support!

The It-Is-The-Same-As-Eating-In-Public Approach

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Mummy AuntJess: My thoughts on NIP is the same as my thoughts on eating in public. Haha

YES!!! Baby is simply ‘eating’. Nothing special. Don’t need to stare ok?

The I-Don’t-Care Approach

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NIP is so convenient for mummies who are always on the go. I love how light my diaper bag is as I only need to pack diapers, wet wipes & small towels when I’m out with my baby. Now I nurse without covers, do it anywhere & not bothered with the stares.

Love this attitude! Don’t bother with the stares! Just latch on and feed on!

 

The Forgot-Nursing-Cover-So-Just-Latch Approach

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Mummy Shareen: Picture above is me NIP my newborn, who is also my 2nd child. With my first child, I was more conscious with NIP and would religiously put on a nursing cover or find a nursing room.
But with my 2nd boy, the need to NIP came quite unexpectedly and I forgot to bring out my nursing cover. He was wrapped up in my K’tan and fussing. So I had no choice but to make do.
Later that night, same thing happened as we were out grocery shopping after gynae appointment. Forgot the nursing cover again and had to nurse him on the go in the supermarket while wrapped up in my K’tan.

I’ve no issues with NIP but I would do it so I don’t unnecessarily expose myself. I don’t see the need to draw attention to myself or my child while nursing.

We always start off somewhere… right? Incidental NIP due to circumstances are the best way to start!

 

The Forever-Looking-Gorgeous Approach

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Mummy Alicia: I nurse in Mrt station, fast food restaurant, church, in the park on the bench. So far no unpleasant incidents, except this one (photo). I was nusing at Burger King Woodlands. One hand carry baby, the other hand use hanky to cover the rest of the boobs. Then there is this pervert uncle, purposely sit directly opposite my table (I’m alone) and keep staring at me. Then I took out my phone to take selfie and pretend to take photo of my surrounding. He walk out immediately.

Ah… That pervert uncle.
Good tip from Mummy Alicia on how to fend them off!
TAKE THEIR PHOTO!!!

And I’m officially jealous. Why Mummy Alicia still so pretty! I look totally ‘auntie-fied’.

The Baby-Is-My-Joey Approach

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Mummy Yvaine: Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful experience I had being a mother. It increases the bonding I have with my child more than anything else. A wonderful memory that belongs to us solely.
NIP is the most natural thing to do. My child is hungry, he has the right to be fed anywhere he deem fit, just like everyone else; regardless child or adult.
Most of the time I nip while babywearing. Babywearing enhance me with freedom to nurse discreetly yet continue doing my own stuff; shopping, eating, etc.
Enjoying breastfeeding while it last.

I personally can’t do wraps but I love baby wearing Meimei in her carrier and yes! It is easy to feed while on the go with aid of carrier or wraps!

Reach out to wrapping friends for help if you are keen to learn!

The Partying-Can’t-Stop-Me Approach

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Mummy Crystal: I enjoy nursing my kids (currently still breastfeeding my one year old). Maybe it is the convenience. Maybe it is the rush of oxytocin. Maybe it is the simple joy of holding my baby close as she gazes at me…

Who says we gotta stop partying after we have a baby?
Although it’s a ‘different’ type of partying… Life is all about fun!

The beauty of nursing is that it doesn’t stop our activities. Especially now that we have many carrier options to breastfeed: HANDS FREE STYLE!

The Less-Things-To-Bring Approach

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Mummy Rizal: I love doing Nursing In Public as it is free and easy. My bags are lighter. No need formula milk, hot water n milk bottles. And I love doing Nursing In Public in my carrier. Plus no need nursing covers.

 

I agree! I don’t even have a special diaper bag for Meimei. If I’m heading out alone with her, her stuff goes into my handbag! All I need is her small wetbag of diapers, wipes & spare clothes. And another small ziploc bag for her snack & water bottle. Easy peasy!

The Watch-A-Game Approach

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Mummy June: Initially I’m very worried about being exposed and attract attention, however, after our first attempt to NIP, I have never thought it can actually be so easy. It’s been months since I start to NIP, didn’t attract stares or rude remarks so far.
Was an Express Pump mum for my #1 and didn’t know the joy of nursing. Now with my #2, we successfully work our way towards nursing with the great help I get from FB support group, Breastfeeding Mum & of cos, my hubby and the elders in my family are supportive in breastfeeding.

 

Stylish nursing colour! Who says being a mum means ‘auntie’ clothes & ‘auntie’ looks? Mummy June is so pretty!

And again, who says nursing should stop your activities?

The Who-Says-I-Need-A-Baby-With-Me Approach

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Mummy Sharon: I hate hate hate pumping in toilets or diaper change areas so I pump in public. Of course, it also depends on the situation but there’s nothing to be ashamed about.
I’ve pumped in public in planes, restaurants, in car in front of non immediate family members. I’m fortunate no one ever criticized

Location of the photo  – SQ business class from London to Singapore. Male cabin crew helped me with washing and storing bottles. No one looked or criticized.

Lastly… Who says nursing in public is limited to mummies who latch?

As long as you are producing milk, you are a nursing mother! Some don’t latch due to varying reasons, it’s alright! To be honest, I find pumping a chore (stuck to the pump, must wash so many things) and salute Exclusive Pumping mothers!

Note on SQ: I’ve flown SQ with Meimei and I have to say, I’m so proud of SQ. Male crew were understanding on breastfeeding. No disapproving looks or any weird vibes from them. They even offered to send our meals at staggered timing so one of us could attend to Meimei while the other eats. Super awesome. All parents have to fly SQ with their kids!

 

While we encourage and want to promote breastfeeding, let’s not forget to be considerate towards others who do not breastfeed for various reasons.
I’ve met some mummies recently who shared with me on medical issues that were really serious to cause them to stop breastfeeding. It’s not easy for them emotionally to lose the opportunity to nurse their baby. Yet they have to face pressure and judgmental comments from other parents for not breastfeeding their child.

Let’s encourage, not judge. And let’s fight for our rights to nurse anywhere, anytime.

Mummy Audrey
Mother of 3 & Owner of TLO.com.sg
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