"I don't really care what others think"
A mother who was photographed breastfeeding on Singapore’s MRT has struck back at criticism, saying her baby comes first.
As reported by the The Straits Times, the photo showing Ms Cheryl Lee was taken by a passenger on Tuesday 14 March and has since stirred up the debate surrounding breastfeeding in public.
Ms Lee told the news site that she was on the way home after a gown and clothes fitting for the Mrs Singapore pageant when the incident occurred.
The photo shows Ms Lee peering over her husband’s shoulder to look at his phone whilst her daughter is feeding on her breast. Her son is seen sitting beside her husband.
Ms Lee was made aware of the photo, which was posted on the Facebook page Must See Singapura News (MSSN), after her friends showed it to her.
“It was late afternoon and my daughter wanted to drink,” she said. “I did not notice that my photo was taken.”
Ms Lee added that she was “a little upset” but was grateful for the positive response.
The mother of three wrote her own Facebook post on Wednesday night regarding the issue:
“Personally, I am not too bothered about it since I don’t think it is wrong to breastfeed in public. I have a nursing cover, but my girl will cry and struggle when I use it. Those who suggest using a cover should try eating or drinking under a cover and see if you like it or not. I put my baby first so as long as she is comfortable and feeding well, I don’t really care what others think.”
Since her eldest son was born, Ms Lee has been breastfeeding in public. Her son is now seven.
“However for my second son and daughter, I have not been using a cover for the past four years of breastfeeding as both of them will fuss and not feed if I cover them up. They will only start to calm down if I let them drink normally without the cover,” she said.
“Frankly, I do not really notice if anyone is looking or not as well. I understand that since it is a public area, they also have the right to look if they want.”
President of the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support group (BMSG), Dr Mythili Pandi, described Ms Lee’s action as “amazing”.
“Her child was hungry and she nourished her, that’s all she did,” she said. “I applaud her for what she has done, there’s no need to cover up, but you can if you want to.”
In 2012 BMSG teamed up with the Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy to organise a breastfeeding flash mob to highlight the natural act of breastfeeding in public.
On the SMRT website, there is no explicit mention of breastfeeding on the train but the site does advise to breastfeed children before they enter the MRT station.
“But we understand a hungry child needs to be fed, and we can make special arrangements for you within our station premises. Please approach our station staff for assistance,” the website said.