S'pore ministries confirm that breastfeeding in public, even without a cover, is perfectly acceptable

On buses and trains too.

Jeanette Tan | March 26, 2020, 03:10 PM

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It is not against the law to breastfeed in a public place or on public transport, even without a cover.

This was made clear by representatives of various ministries in Parliament on Thursday (March 26) afternoon, in response to three separate questions filed by Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Louis Ng.

"Genuinely breastfeeding" in public is not indecent exposure or appearing nude: Sun

Senior Parliamentary Secretary Sun Xueling, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that even though indecent exposure and appearing nude in public are criminal offences, "there is no law that strictly prohibits mothers to breastfeed their children in public in Singapore".

She added that "it is not possible to be more specific than that", after stating that mothers who are "genuinely breastfeeding their children" in public are "generally unlikely to fall under" the categories of indecent exposure or appearing nude in public.

Asked further if breastfeeding a baby in public without a cover would make a mother liable to prosecution, Sun said "the police will not intervene, unless there are law and order concerns".

No regulation for mothers to be covered up while nursing on public transport: Baey

With regard to public transport, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Transport Baey Yam Keng said breastfeeding "is not prohibited" on public buses or trains. He also confirmed there is "no regulation for mothers to be covered up while nursing their babies on trains and buses".

Ng pointed out contrary communication in this regard coming from transport operator SMRT, which has the following response in its published frequently-asked question list on its website:

Screenshot via SMRT website

In response to this, Baey said the ministry will advise Singapore's public transport operators "to be clearer in their website or FAQs so that mothers are not deterred from (breastfeeding on buses or trains)".

MOE working to ensure that all schools have lactation facilities within coming 3 years: Low Yen Ling

In addition, Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Low Yen Ling assured Ng, who asked about the availability of nursing rooms in various types of school buildings and educational institutions, that the MOE "will certainly continue to work with the existing schools to ensure that all schools will have lactation rooms at the nearest feasible date".

"So the target for us really is for every school to have lactation facilities within the next three years, and I also want to reassure the member that we in MOE, we appreciate the sacrifices that mothers make for their children and wholeheartedly support their breastfeeding journey."

So there you have it — perfectly okay to breastfeed in public, with or without a cover, on or off public transport, wherever you like.

Top photo: screenshots via Gov.sg YouTube videosNational Archives of Singapore