Cheryl Lee has never encountered any problem breastfeeding in public, even without a cover – until a photo of her doing so on the train started making its rounds on social media.
The online ruckus surrounding this issue has drawn flak from critics as well as an overwhelming outpouring of support from the public. Many have taken sides once the news spread like wildfire on the Internet.
We thought that before anyone makes a judgment on this, it’s only fair the protagonist gives her two cents on the incident. In an interview with Cheryl, we get a glimpse of things from her standpoint.
How do you feel about the public breastfeeding saga that has recently unfolded?
Cheryl: Interesting to see the different opinions regarding breastfeeding in public. Happy to see that most seem to be able to accept a mum breastfeeding in public.
Did you expect someone to take a photograph of you breastfeeding on the train when you were feeding your kid?
Cheryl: No. I have been feeding openly for years and this is the first time I have had any problems.
Were you affected by people’s comments after the photograph of you breastfeeding your kid in public started making its rounds on the Internet?
Cheryl: No. I knew that there are different opinions regarding breastfeeding in public and whether I should cover up or not.
Many supportive and encouraging comments have came pouring in after your post went viral. How do you feel about it?
Cheryl: I feel that it is good. Hopefully, new mothers will read the comments and will be encouraged to breastfeed.
On the flip side, there were also Facebook users who have remarked that your action came off as too explicit and that you should have used a nursing cover. What’s your take on that?
Cheryl: They are entitled to their own opinion. I respect their choice to cover up as I understand that some women view their breasts as sexual objects. But personally, I feel that since it is legal to breastfeed without a cover, they should also respect my decision.
We’ve seen some comments on your viral Facebook post. There’re users who have suggested a meet-up session for mothers to breastfeed in public, would you go ahead with it and why?
Cheryl: If someone organises an event for mothers to breastfeed in public, I would like to attend and go. I have attended such an event before. It is good to see other mothers breastfeeding in public whether covered up or not as this would give new mothers the confidence to do so as well. I hardly see anyone breastfeeding in public thus making breastfeeding in public a little intimidating when I had my first son.
What do you think about a mass event where a community of mothers come together and make a statement regarding this matter, but not necessarily to breastfeed in public?
Cheryl: It will be good, but not as effective as if the mothers were to breastfeed in public together as well.
Do you feel that mothers face restrictions when it comes to breastfeeding outside? If there are, could you share with us what are those?
Cheryl: No. The only restrictions would be their own or husbands’ reservations about breastfeeding in public. I have been breastfeeding in public without a cover for years and never had anyone come up to me to say anything negative or chase me away.
Before the photograph of you was circulated online, have you encountered similar experiences where onlookers have given you the side-eye? If so, how did you react?
Cheryl: No. As mentioned earlier, I have never encountered any problems breastfeeding in public even without a cover. This is the first time I have had attention drawn to me because of breastfeeding.
Last but not least, how would you recommend or suggest mothers to react if they ever get confronted for breastfeeding in public?
Cheryl: I have not really thought about it as I have no experience with it yet. But I’ll probably just tell them my baby is hungry and needs milk. If they aren’t comfortable, they are free to look away.
On this controversial issue of breastfeeding in public, need we say more? It’s also safe to say breastfeeding on the train may be Cheryl’s first but it won’t be the last.