In a bid to increase the presence of more nursing rooms in Singapore, all new bus and MRT interchanges will have more breastfeeding-friendly spaces, according to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
The announcement came as a written answer to parliamentary questions by Member of Parliament Louis Ng, who wanted to know how many MRT stations and bus interchanges in Singapore hosted facilities for mothers to breastfeed their babies. He further wanted to know if there were any lactation rooms available for mothers to use, and if the Ministry of Transport could make it compulsory for at least one of the two to be made available at all transport hubs.
All new bus and MRT interchanges to have nursing rooms in Singapore. Image source: iStock
More nursing rooms in Singapore transport hubs, interchanges
In response, Minister Khaw noted today (March 26) that the Government will provide nursing rooms at all new bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs, as well as new MRT interchange stations.
“There are nursing rooms at 50 per cent of our bus interchanges,” said Mr Khaw. “We will provide nursing rooms at all new bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs,” he added.
Additionally, there will also be nursing rooms at all interchange stations within the MRT network.
“We will also explore providing such facilities when MRT stations undergo upgrading,” he added.
50 per cent of Singapore’s transport hubs are already integrated with nursing rooms, all new bus and MRT interchanges to have one. Photo: iStock
Nursing rooms in Singapore not needed in some transport hubs attached to shopping centres, libraries
However, some MRT stations and bus interchanges are interconnected with major developments such as shopping centres and libraries, which already have nursing rooms and similar facilities for parents. In such instances, not all MRT stations and hubs need the presence of nursing rooms, Minister Khaw noted.
“This is a balanced approach, to avoid duplication while meeting the needs of nursing mothers,” he said.
Member of Parliament Mr Ng also wanted the government to look into equipping pre-schools with at least one lactation room.
In response, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said that the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) “does not require all preschools to have a lactation room within their premises”.
Preschool spaces flexible to accommodate the needs of nursing mothers. Image source: iStock
Minister Lee further noted that preschools can be flexible in the usage of space on their premises.
“Preschools have the flexibility to manage the use of their space, depending on the needs of their children, staff, and parents. For pre-schools with older children (for example kindergartens) and pre-schools with more working mothers, the need for a lactation room within the centre itself may be less pressing,” he noted.
“For others, we encourage preschools to consider setting up a lactation room or making space arrangements for breastfeeding, as and when the need arises,” he further added.