Is It Safe To Breastfeed And Formula Feed A Newborn Facebook, a Social Soundboard on Breastfeeding?

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Facebook, a Social Soundboard on Breastfeeding?

A mother feeds her child and our nation worries. Let’s take a look at how Singapore handles social issues on social media on this sensitive issue.

Earlier this month, a picture of a mother breastfeeding in public without wearing a cover went viral in Singapore. Here’s a summary of what happened:

On March 12, 2017, mother Sheryl Lee publicly breastfed her baby on an MRT train; The photo was taken by the passenger opposite him and the photo made the rounds on social media and local news, sparking countless controversies wherever it went.

Some criticized him for his modesty and insensitivity to the local conservative culture, while others praised and encouraged him. This open breastfeeding brouhaha has caused mothers from all walks of life to publicly share their breastfeeding experiences.

Local blogger and new mom, Ms. Wendy Cheng, better known as XiaXue for her unflinchingly honest personal views, weighed in on the issue with refreshingly valid points, albeit with some profanity and extreme suggestions. Well, it’s XiaXue!

As the whole nation was gripped by the open breastfeeding debate in public, the team at Brand Incorporated still couldn’t help but wonder if the ban on eating and drinking in MRTs also applies to babies. Before opening the next Pandora’s box, let’s address the current issue.

“Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.” – Ricky Gervais

Tan Ern Ser, a sociologist at the National University of Singapore (NUS), explained that the differences in opinion are due to the different thresholds of different members of the public.[I]

Although it is quite impossible to please everyone, it does not hurt to try to understand the argument from everyone’s point of view, calmly and rationally.

Mothers would never want to starve their sons. Very often in our society, parents are also often embarrassed by the deafening cries of their hungry babies.

It may be surprising to find that society can tolerate or even admire 500-year-old masterpieces in which the young Jesus sucks in museums but is upset by a mother feeding her child in public.

Apart from being a great solution to the steep price of formula in Singapore[ii]breastfeeding is supported because of its benefits to the infant’s immune system, maternal health, and strengthening the bond between mothers.[iii]. Nevertheless, a lack of awareness and support in the workplace and the community at large has contributed to extremely low breastfeeding rates in Singapore.[iv].

If society has not reached a consensus, the decision to cover or not to cover still falls to the mother. Instead of focusing on the discomfort of an exposed breast, perhaps a good start would be to create a supportive and less judgmental environment for mothers to breastfeed.

For now, what is certain is that social media has by now become a social soundtrack.

[i]New book, People have different thresholds for breastfeeding in public, 25 March 2017

[ii]Online Citizen Dairy milk prices rise by nearly 40% in Singapore 23 March 2017

[iii]SingHealth, Breastfeeding for Working Mothers, 2014

[iv]Online Today: Why is breastfeeding still awkward in Singapore?, 1 Aug 2016

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