Last week I saw something at Mirdif City Centre that really lifted my spirits about breasting feeding in public.
I breastfeed Baby E wherever, whenever she wants. I don’t use a nursing cover, blanket or anything else to cover up because Baby E will just rip it off. I just discreetly whip out my breast using my top shirt to cover it, Baby E covers my nipple and I wear a nursing tank top underneath to cover my stomach (because not even I want to see the stretchmarked mess that is my midsection).
I’ve been told that some people consider a woman breastfeeding in public to be indecent exposure. You would think this would cause a problem in Dubai where simply dressing provocatively can get you fined. But it doesn’t…because in Dubai they respect the mother’s right to breastfeed. (Read this is explanation of how breastfeeding is recommended in the Quran)
This doesn’t mean you’ll see tons of moms breastfeeding in public. I’ve rarely seen it.
Some mothers, particularly Muslim women, don’t feel comfortable nursing in public. I respect their opinion; that’s their preference. There are also, of course, people who are uncomfortable seeing a woman breastfeeding in public. I’m sure some of those people have complained to security or management staff.
So how do we co-exist? We just do.
But you know what DOESN’T happen in Dubai? Women aren’t humiliated for breastfeeding in public or treated like terrorists. On the contrary, some places such as Mirdif City Centre have gone out of their way to provide a clean, comfortable space for women to breastfeed in private. Women aren’t told to use the baby changing rooms to breastfeed nor are we forced to. It’s just there if YOU want privacy and CHOOSE to use it.
This baby changing room is located at the entrance to the food court near PlayNation. There are 2 (or 3, I can’t really remember) private rooms with sliding doors inside the baby changing room. They’ve even put a sensory toy on the wall to keep your other children occupied while you are breastfeeding.
I see these private breastfeeding rooms as a healthy compromise and a real value for customers. While I have no actual evidence of this, providing a private place to breastfeed in shopping malls probably encourages mothers to breastfeed their babies. Women won’t have to cut their shopping trip short because of a hungry baby (or avoid the mall altogether because there isn’t any where to breastfeed in private) and they can comfortably breastfeed in some place other than inside a bathroom. That’s a win-win in my book.
This baby changing room with private breastfeeding areas is just another reason why Mirdif City Centre is my favorite mall in Dubai.