Breastfeeding in Public


When Lara* had her first child 12 years ago, one of the many challenges she faced was how to comfortably breastfeed her baby in public. At the time, there weren’t too many mommies feeding their little ones in the public eye, so as much as Lara wanted to, she was just too conscious about it. Fortunately, things have changed since then. Joanna Tuazon Mendoza, mom of two, says, “I breastfed in public because it was more practical for us, especially because it used to take me so long to fill a bottle through pumping—maybe about an hour for an ounce.”

“I breastfed Milo until he was seven months old. He's almost two now but back then, I breastfed Milo in public whenever he needed it. So whenever we'd go out at the time, I'd wear a nursing a bra and a button-down. I also used a cover. Fortunately, Milo and I had a great system going. Every session lasted only about 20 minutes so neither of us felt uncomfortable even in public.”

Jill Marcelo, mom of one, also used a nursing cover like Joanna. She says, “I sometimes use nursing wear but clothes that lift easily are good too. It’s not difficult because I would breastfeed wherever I can sit.”

Yes, Jill didn’t particularly care where she does the deed, adding, “I breasfeed in public because I believe that breast milk is still the best for my baby. It's not an issue for me if I do it in public because I do it for my daughter—for her health, for her well-being.”

Apart from the availability of cleverly patterned and fashionably designed nursing wear, which both Jill and mom of three Laya Garcellano Fernando appreciate, it helps that a growing number of malls now have breastfeeding stations. Jill says, “Breastfeeding stations were convenient, of course. I tried the ones in Eastwood and SM Marikina. I appreciated that they had it”

Laya, who is expecting her fourth child, adds, “Yes, the malls have nice breastfeeding rooms now with comfy chairs and even an area for older kids with friendly toys. They're clean and located in areas where moms and dozing babies will not be disturbed by heavy traffic. There’s usually staff around and mall personnel are oriented about people who ask where it is. Some airports and public buildings have breastfeeding areas too.”

But more than these physical developments, more moms have become more comfortable breastfeeding in public spaces because of society’s growing acceptance of the practice. However, Laya says, “The campaign for a more open-minded public continues though, both for the general public and mothers everywhere. There is no shame in feeding your child from the breast and there should be no stigma attached to it.”

Jill, who believes that breast milk is best for her baby, says, “I really don’t care what people say. It’s the least of my worries.”

Laya adds, “Just do it. Be brave that you're doing the right thing for your child.”

Joanna says, “It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it with all the motherly love you have in your heart.”

* Name changed