DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Breastfeeding mother Tina Lopez, 24 has experienced being frowned upon when she nursed her baby in public.
“I remember one time when I was breastfeeding in a fast food chain and my friend asked me to cover because some people may peek maliciously,” she said.
Lopez directly answered her friend about her opinion on public breastfeeding.
“But she told me that not all people have the same mindset as I do,” she told Davao Today in an interview Monday.
Lopez added that even her husband reminds her to use a nursing cover whenever she breastfeeds her baby in public.
“I have no choice but to cover whenever I breastfeed my hungry baby because it’s the norm,” she said.
Breastfeeding in public is still an issue that mothers face this day.
So when Pope Francis expressed support to mothers who are breastfeeding in public, even inside the church, Lopez hopes that it will give an impact on normalizing breastfeeding in public places.
The Argentinian Pope expressed his support to mothers who breastfeed their children in public during a mass at the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, Jan. 8.
“You mothers, go ahead and breastfeed, without fear. Just like the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus,” he said.
Pope Francis explained that since ceremonies are a little long, most children cry because they are hungry.
“The ceremony is a little long, someone’s crying because he’s hungry. That’s the way it is,” he said.
Breastfeeding advocate Alex Hao, president of LATCH Davao said he felt joy and relief that the Pope addressed the issue of breastfeeding in public.
“We, Catholics, have our church obligations, like feast days we like to observe and a lot of us find refuge in going to church. It can be difficult for mothers with young children to get around specially without help, the last thing she would want is to feel small or have a confrontation in church over nourishing her own child,” she told Davao Today.
“Then it struck me, do we really need the pope to say it’s perfectly okay? It seemed so common sense to me that we can breastfeed in church,” she said.
Hao said although she has not counseled a mother who was reprimanded because of breastfeeding in public, it is a thing that mothers talk about during counseling.
She said mothers would either be creative in covering up or would totally disregard what others will say.
Lopez said she hopes the Pope’s statement would help change the public’s perspective on breastfeeding in public. (davaotoday.com)