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|Breastfeeding in Public Places|
|Written by Administrator|
|Tuesday, 13 May 2008 00:42|
Is discrete breastfeeding in public places considered offensive to Japanese people? What sort of reaction would I receive?
Breastfeeding can be done in public, and is accepted by many people in Japan. But as a courtesy to people who disagree you can ask around for private rooms to breastfeed your child. For example, department stores and airports almost always have breastfeeding rooms. Shinkansen trains also have breastfeeding rooms nowadays, but if not, the conductor can surrender his room while you breastfeed.
"Traditionally in Japan, breastfeeding was quite commonly done in OPEN public. In fact back then, a lot of commoners didn't hesitate to show their breasts even though they never showed their buttocks.
A Japanese doll-making artist who specializes in old-time customs has a piece that shows a village woman feeding her baby in broad daylight and neighbors are bursting in laughter at how good the baby's appetite is. Very healthy piece of art.
Even as I was raising my child 15 years ago, I'd see mothers in high-fashion breastfeeding while waiting for the babies' health check-up. She had the baby's mouth area covered with her shirt though.
However, a mom-friend once started breastfeeing inside a now Tokyo Metro train since her baby was crying so much it was annoying the other passengers. She claims she got stares, so she got off at the next station and fed at the platform bench which was okay.
In my personal experience, I've never seen anyone showing her breasts in public in Japan, be it foreign or Japanese. I've only seen Japanese mothers feeding at parks with her nipples covered, and I've seen Japanese mothers feeding with breasts fully shown in front of her father.
I also agree with the other poster that Japanese mothers tend to stay home more. There is less babysitting, and doctors encourage them to keep the baby indoors until the second month or so. Plus streets and facilities are not yet that baby-friendly, so you can't go out with the baby for a long time, having to worry about places to rest, feed and change."