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The New Paper
Monday, Apr 17, 2017
One of the worst things Ms Cheryl Lee read online about herself is that the recent public breastfeeding saga she was embroiled in was a stunt to gain fame for this year's Mrs Singapore & Classic Mrs Singapore Pageant.
The mother of three made headlines last month after a photo of her breastfeeding her two-year-old daughter in an MRT train without a nursing cover was posted online and went viral, sparking a heated debate on whether public breastfeeding is appropriate.
As one of the finalists of the annual beauty contest, she wants to put this rumour to rest.
Ms Lee, 25, told The New Paper at the pageant's press conference and talent showcase held on Saturday at ONE KM mall: "All along, even before the photo went viral, I had already wanted to use this competition as a platform to raise awareness about (public) breastfeeding...
"If I win Mrs Singapore, I would love to use my title to promote breastfeeding in public (with or without covering). I feel that we need to normalise it."
Ms Lee said she has been breastfeeding in public ever since she had her first child, who is now seven.
But her son used to constantly struggle under the nursing cover. That was when she decided to forgo the cover and breastfeed whenever she had to.
She said: "I was never hesitant about not covering up. I have no choice. When kids get cranky, there is no time to think. I will just have to feed there and then."
A month after the saga, Ms Lee said her life has not changed significantly, and she still stands firm in her belief.
She still breastfeeds in public, be it at a mall or on the train.
And though no one has confronted her, people do recognise her - they take to Facebook to comment on seeing her in real life.
On other women and mums who are not supportive of her actions, she said: "Everyone has their own personal preferences, and I cannot control what they say, so I just let it be."
Even at the Mrs Singapore & Classic Mrs Singapore's event on Saturday, Ms Lee was kept busy.
She juggled preparing for her talent showcase as well as taking care of and nursing her two-year-old daughter, whom she had brought along.
Admitting she was "quite stressed out", the full-time housewife said: "As the first contestant for the talent showcase, I had to prepare and change, but not before feeding my daughter and making her go to sleep."