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Facebook, a Social Soundboard on Breastfeeding?
The mother bores her child and our nation. We take a look at how Singapore handles social issues on social media on this sensitive issue.
Earlier this month, a photo of a mother breastfeeding in public without wearing a headscarf went viral in Singapore. Here is a summary of what happened:
On March 12, 2017, a mother, Sheryl Lee, publicly breastfed her child on an MRT train; A photo was taken of her by a passerby and the photo made the rounds on social media and local news, sparking countless debates as it went.
Some criticized her for being disrespectful and insensitive to the local conservative culture, while others offered her praise and encouragement. This open breastfeeding brouhaha has caused mothers from all walks of life to share their breastfeeding experiences with the public.
Local blogger and new mom, Ms. Wendy Cheng, commonly known as XiaXue weighed in with some refreshingly valid points for her candid and honest personal opinions on the matter, albeit with some extreme details and suggestions. . Well, it’s XiaXue!
While the entire nation was in public discussing open breastfeeding, the team at Brand Incorporated still couldn’t help but wonder if the law against eating and drinking at MRT applies to babies. Before opening the next Pandora’s box, let’s focus on the current issue at hand.
“Just because you’re upset doesn’t mean you’re right.” -Ricky Gervais
National University of Singapore (NUS) sociologist, Tan Ern Ser, explained that the differences in opinion are due to the different thresholds of different members of the public.[I]
While it is impossible to please everyone, it does not hurt to calmly and rationally try to understand the argument from everyone’s point of view.
Mothers never want their children to starve. Often in our society, parents are often embarrassed by the deafening cries of their hungry children.
One can be surprised to find that a society can tolerate, tolerate, or even admire 500-year-old masterpieces of the young Jesus nursing in museums, but be offended by a mother feeding her child in public.
Besides being a fantastic solution to the high price of formula milk in Singapore[ii]Breastfeeding is supported for its benefits on the infant’s immune system, maternal health and for strengthening the maternal bond.[iii]. Additionally, lack of awareness and support in the workplace and from the community at large has resulted in a very low rate of breastfeeding in Singapore.[iv].
Until the community reaches an agreement, the decision to cover or not is in the hands of the mother. Instead of focusing on the discomfort of the open breast, perhaps creating a supportive and less judgmental environment for breastfeeding mothers would be a good start.
What is clear for now is that social media has become a social voice for now.
[i]The New Paper, People have ‘different options’ for breastfeeding in public, 25 March 2017
[ii]The Citizen Online, Price of Formula Milk in Singapore Rises Nearly 40%, 23 March 2017
[iii]SingHealth, Breastfeeding for Working Mothers, 2014
[iv]Online Today, Why Is Singapore Still Uncomfortable With Breastfeeding?, 1 Aug 2016
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