MUSCAT, OCT 28 - Breastfeeding mothers are in need of rooms in shopping malls and parks as they are finding it difficult to feed their babies in public. While lack of such rooms will deprive mothers of having a quality time shopping, babies are forced to have milk substitutes, according to Dr Amel Ibrahim (pictured), Specialist and National Lactation Counsellor, Nutrition Department at the MoH.
“For new mothers, one of the most intimidating things to get used to is breastfeeding in public as one does not want all eyes on you while feeding. Shopping malls must look into this seriously as it affects her in multiple ways,” said Dr Amel. She said discomfort in breastfeeding remains a significant barrier to higher breastfeeding rates in many parts of the world and it’s high time that managements of these malls take appropriate steps to make these places highly mother-friendly.
“Breastfeeding is a natural act that is necessary for babies to grow as healthy adults. And Islamic law requires feeding until age two for the overall growth of the baby and to develop their immunity levels”.
According to her, breastfeeding in public places does not have to be a cause of worry or embarrassment as it can be done very discreetly. One wants to nourish her baby in peace and the apprehensions are unnecessary.
“With the first baby, you are careful to plan breastfeeding and even hide to nurse. For the next one you get braver and start breastfeeding in public. By baby number three, you can breastfeed anywhere and most people do not even realise you did it,” Dr Amel adds.
She shared some tips for breastfeeding in public for mothers such as wearing clothing that gives them easy access and carrying a lightweight blanket that can easily be draped over her shoulder to cover both herself and her baby and advised moms to use a good baby sling because it can carry infants close and they can be used as a breastfeeding cover up when in public.