*I had wanted to write up this post in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August) but I didn’t have much time to do it. So here it is, albeit being late, my experience nursing in public. *
Exactly a year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined that I would be daring enough to nurse in public but since I was determined to breastfeed my kid, I have to start somewhere when it comes to nursing in public. Nursing in public shouldn’t be scary. It should come naturally for you and for your baby but it takes a little practice. :)
I have nursed in all kinds of positions now…except nursing in a carrier. I haven’t quite tried that yet. That takes a little bit of skill and the right carrier. I have carried her and fed her while walking around, shopping. I have nursed her in several restaurants and cafes without any issues. No one gave me the eye or the look. No waiters came to tell me to get out. All in all, my nursing in public journey went pretty smooth.
Now, if you are shy, there are always was to still breastfeed your kid when you are out. First of all, look out for nursing rooms. Here are some of the nursing rooms that I have had the chance to use.
If you know me, Sunway is my playground. The baby rooms there are spacious and clean which is good although look out for one of the changing tables in the baby room behind Daphne store. I don’t think that’s particularly stable anymore (facing the changing tables, the one on the left). They have the main changing area and a small room for nursing. I would have loved to see a bit more nursing rooms but whenever I go into the baby room, there is hardly a line so I guess people are either breastfeeding outside or they don’t at all.
- Baby room with two changing tables and a nursing room (behind Daphne, near Forever 21)
- Baby room with one changing table and a nursing room (behind Bonita, 1 level below H&M)Both of these baby rooms that I have used have hot water facilities.Jusco’s baby floor also has a baby room. It’s a little dark and less “sunshiny” but good enough for you to sit and nurse or change diapers.
If you are in Gardens Mid Valley, Isetan have several nursing rooms in the baby room (aptly placed on the baby floor). The nursing rooms have curtains to close so parents, be mindful of your kids and make sure they don’t play and open up curtains. People nurse in private for a reason! I have had several occasions where kids playfully open up the curtains to stare at me. I usually tell them that it’s not polite to do so and if the parents are there, I usually tell the parents what they did so that it’s up to the parents to educate them. It’s not entirely their fault but they have to learn too.
There are also nursing rooms in The Gardens but I don’t quite like it because if you want to nurse there, it’s next to a toilet. They are individual rooms with proper doors and in each room, there is a toilet, a sink, a baby changing table and a seat for you to sit and nurse. However, if nature calls and you are alone with an infant, that would be perfect because you can just strap the kid on the changing table and do your business.
I haven’t tried the baby rooms in Mid Valley so I can’t comment.
I seldom venture out that far into the city. Only once. Again, I’ve tried Isetan’s baby room and it’s pretty good. The only thing that was off putting at that time was the smell from the rubbish bin where people throw dirty diapers away. There were a LOT of people in KLCC that day (in conjunction with the Raya holidays and Popular book sales) so perhaps, there were just too many dirty diapers before the maintenance crew could clean it out. I was in and out in a hurry so I didn’t notice if there were hot water facilities.
Parkson Sungai Wang
Again, I only used this once while waiting for the husband to finish up some stuff. Because Parkson is pretty old, the baby rooms aren’t like the ones you see in Isetan Gardens or Sunway. Still, they are good enough to sit in and nurse. In the changing area, there are wet wipes for you to use too! A bonus if you forgot to bring some. The baby room is situated on the baby floor. It’s pretty hidden. Just look out for strollers and you’ll see the sign!
There are some people who get pretty iffy about fathers being in baby rooms. I think it’s totally fine, just not in the nursing rooms. There are single fathers out there or fathers that are out with their kid alone. The baby room is a place for changing diapers so regardless of fathers or mothers, I believe both should be allowed in.
Other times, I just nurse outside with a poncho. You can make your own or just buy one. I bought mine from Autumnz during a baby fair but otherwise, you can find it online.
Getting yourself a bra tank or a nursing top is good too! Easier than pulling up your top. I got several bra tanks from Fabulous Mom and some nursing tops from Camomile Spring. Nursing clothes aren’t usually so flattering, unfortunately. They are also very expensive! So I bought a couple of bra tanks and wear a cardigan or a light top on top of it. If you are walking around a shopping complex, it won’t be hot. You can get the bra tanks at FabulousMom.
I have read of several encounters where mothers are scolded by strangers or waiters because they are nursing in a restaurant. To me, if they are nursing with a cover, why would you even bother telling them off? It’s a way of life. But if mothers are feeding their kids without a cover and exposed, I feel that instead of telling them off, waiters/strangers could just ask them to cover up and nurse. Even though it is the most natural thing to do, sometimes we have to respect others as well. Malaysia is still not very open about breastfeeding in public so it takes time.
The only weird encounter I had while breastfeeding is having a couple of guys just staring at me. The husband however, just stared back at them! :) You gotta need supportive husbands too. It’s important.
Here I am at the Malaysia Book of Records for simultaneous breastfeeding. Just joining in the fun!
If you haven’t tried breastfeeding, please do! It’s the most amazing thing in the world. The bond between your baby and you is just amazing!
If you haven’t nursed outside because you are afraid to, don’t be! Embrace motherhood! Do what you need to for your baby and you. Direct latching is a great way to keep baby calm.
Have fun breastfeeding! I know I did and still do!
**If you have other tips to share, please do!