Nursing In Public

Breastfeeding in public in Malaysia, as well as in many other countries around the world, is not a strange phenomenon, nor is it prohibited. The Health Ministry of Malaysia strongly encourages mothers to exclusively breastfeed their little ones until 6 months of age. Breastfeeding can then be continued with additional complementary foods until 2 years and beyond.

However, despite the tremendous encouragement of this beautiful and rewarding experience, many Malaysian mothers feel nervous or uncomfortable nursing their babies in public or even in the presence of extended family members. As a conservative society, many still look upon breastfeeding in public as a taboo.

In addition, being comfortable while nursing in public is not a skill most mothers can adapt to instantly. Many women struggle with the mechanics of breastfeeding at home, what more in public. But do not worry; you too can find comfort and confidence and feel comfortable to breastfeed in public with some knowledge and simple preparation.

Here are some tips that may help you when your baby gets hungry in the middle of a crowded mall or while you are out running errands:

  • Plan ahead!
  • If you know your intended destination when you leave your home, always plan ahead for a good place to stop and breastfeed your baby when he gets hungry. This way, you will not panic when your baby needs to be fed.

  • Wear the right clothes
  • There are many nursing clothes and bras with flaps, buttons or slits available to help you. This allows you to expose enough for your baby to feed while shielding the rest from everyone else. You could also bring a dark shawl or try a sling as a nursing cover so that no one will notice that you are breastfeeding.

  • Bring your equipment with you
  • You should always have all your breastfeeding equipment such as a shawl, blanket or napkin with you wherever you go so that it’s easy for you to get them when needed.

  • Find the right corner
  • It is wise to choose where exactly you should breastfeed in public as some places are more suitable than others. If you are in a large department store or mall, take advantage of the breastfeeding rooms that are usually adjoined to the washrooms. If you are in a restaurant, find a table in a corner or behind plants or columns. You could also angle your body away from the crowd or even use a menu to shield yourself. If there is no place “private enough” to breastfeed your baby, consider your car.

  • Practise, practise, practise!
  • Practice makes perfect, so practise by breastfeeding discreetly at your friend’s house or at a more public place. You could also practise by sitting in front of a mirror to see how you look.

  • Know your rights
  • Know that you have a right to nurse your little one as and when you need to. This is a very natural process, so don’t feel embarrassed to do it discreetly in public.

Breastfeeding in public may pose some challenges to you but these are worth overcoming because your baby deserves the best nourishment you can give him at all times. Be proud that you are a breastfeeding mum and know that you can do it!

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