SCMP Archives Internet Edition


Tuesday  May 4  1999

Breastfeeding incident mars happy day

Recently I chose to celebrate my infant son's birthday by giving him a special day.

After all the activities and fun we had together, I decided to have a relaxing afternoon tea with him at the Peninsula Hotel.

While I was at the table waiting to be attended, I began to discreetly breastfeed my child. A security woman dressed in black then asked me to go feed my baby inside the bathroom. I said I didn't understand why. She told me that I was in a public area and that all the men were looking at me.

She then asked me if I felt embarrassed to feed my baby in public. My answer was "No, I do not feel embarrassed. On the contrary, I feel very proud to be able to breastfeed my baby."

I left the table and went to talk to the hotel's manager. I explained to him what had happened, and told him that there is a huge difference between exposing one's breast and breastfeeding, and that I had felt offended as a mother and a woman. He told me that in the bathroom I would have more privacy.

I asked him, "Would you like to eat your lunch inside of a bathroom?" He of course said no. Why should my baby have to eat in a bathroom?

Is breastfeeding indecent or immoral? No! People should learn more about the importance of breastfeeding and respect it. The bathroom is for cleaning a baby, not feeding a baby.

Why are people allowed to smoke at a table, but not breastfeed at a table? Breastfeeding does far less harm and far more good.

Wan Chai

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