Breastfeeding in public: Xiaxue, BMSG president speak up for mum Cheryl Lee

By Elisa Chia   — March 20, 2017
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    So yes, a photo of a mother nursing her daughter without a cover in an MRT train has stirred up the debate about breastfeeding in public – again.

    The photo of Cheryl Lee was taken by a passenger on March 14 when the housewife was on her way home after a gown and clothes fitting for the Mrs Singapore pageant, she told The Straits Times. The news has even travelled to Taiwan.

    Thankfully, as the mother of three pointed out: “At least the response has been positive so far.”

    Here are some who have spoken out in favour of public breastfeeding.

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  • You probably don't have a baby if you're complaining
    2 / 5 You probably don't have a baby if you're complaining

    Lending her support is social media influencer Wendy Cheng, better known as Xiaxue.

    She wrote on her Facebook: “These idiots moaning about the public breastfeeding probably never had a baby. Do they believe that infants are capable of reason and will patiently wait for food while their moms find a discrete spot? Newsflash: They aren’t. They are like little Hulks.

    “As the mom has so eloquently and beautifully put it: ‘Those who suggest using a cover should try eating and drinking under a cover and see if you like it or not.’

    “Some babies don’t feed under a cover. It is dark and super stiflingly hot in there. Some babies do not take bottles either. There is no safe area for breastfeeding on the train. NO, she will not breastfeed in a filthy train station toilet. Would YOU like to eat in there?”

    Read her full post here.


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  • There's no need to cover up
    3 / 5 There's no need to cover up

    Dr Mythili Pandi, president of Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (BMSG) said she thought what Cheryl did was “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.”

    BMSG has been promoting breastfeeding through workshops and free counselling.

    Related: Breastfeeding photos: Jen Pan’s 3-part series

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  • Disrespectful to post photo
    4 / 5 Disrespectful to post photo

    “I am disturbed that someone secretly photographed the scene and posted it on the Internet. This shows a complete lack of respect for a woman and her duty as a mother,” regular Forum contributor Donavan Chee Kwok Hoe wrote.

    “It seems like it was intended to shame the mother just because she did not conform to an ideal of how breastfeeding should be done in public. This is a form of cyber bullying, and we should discourage it.

    “I am glad that this mother is willing to put her child’s happiness first. I hope this incident does not deter women from breastfeeding their children in public.”

    Read his full letter here.

    Related: 10 things you need to know about breastfeeding

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  • What's so sexual about it?
    5 / 5 What's so sexual about it?

    The mum in question, Cheryl, hasn’t been too bothered about it.

    Responding to the brouhaha, she wrote on her Facebook: “Anyway, it’s just a breast. We all have it. Be it female or male. It’s meant to be used to feed a baby, I don’t see anything wrong with using it to feed a baby and ensuring my baby is comfortable. What’s so sexual/wrong about it?”

    Read her full post here.

    A version of this article appeared in The Straits Times.

    (Photos:, respective Facebook accounts)

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