Do not stare, we are just breastfeeding our baby! High time we speak about the importance of breastfeeding, and the taboos surrounding it.
In lieu of the #WorldBreastfeedingWeek2019, I just want to contribute my writings in a reminder that breastfeeding might be a mother’s task but it is everyone’s responsibility in order to provide a private and secure environment for the new mothers.
Some Facts and Figures:
According to the World Health Organization, Breastfeeding promotes better health for mothers and children alike. Increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 800 000 lives every year, the majority being children under 6 months.
Breastfeeding in public is not illegal and is not indecent exposure at all. I have heard of mothers getting negative comments and nasty looks when breastfeeding in public. Hence I conducted a survey on 50 real women around me.
Below is the graphical representation to my question, based on the four categories I tried to understand what do they think of a woman breastfeeding in public?
While the majority of women found it natural means to suffice her baby’s hunger, there were few women who found it extremely awful feeding a baby in public. They said they would rather sit at home or give them a bottle instead of facing embarrassment in public places.
When a woman is breastfeeding she is feeding her hungry baby. Breastfeeding in public tends to be controversial and eye-catching just because of the sexuality attached to it. Women are certainly not going to stay cooped up at home all the time thinking their baby might ask for feed when they are out.
We will have to step out to buy groceries or medicines someday and that hunger alarm can buzz anytime. Like many other mothers, I have fed my baby in the store of a Grocery shop, Shopping mall trial room and also in washroom once.
What happens when the supermodels and actresses, pose for the renowned magazines revealing their body, nobody makes foul faces and calls it disgrace to the culture and this breastfeeding is something natural, a need, a baby is hungry she needs her feed, would you like to have your lunch in the washroom, storeroom or trapped inside a cloth?
I understand and very much agree with the fact that we need to cover ourselves while feeding, but my point here is that we need to differentiate between something natural and something fancy. I have breastfed my baby for almost two years and trust me once at a temple also, I was with my six-seven other female relatives. My baby was seven months old and she woke from her sleep and started crying, I had to feed her. I saw a side corner wherein I would have easily grabbed five minutes with my little one. Instead, all the ladies asked me to sit at the stairs and they all covered me making a circle which obviously gave me the unneeded attention.
Although they were helping me out I just wanted to run from the place.
No matter how badly we are suggested and adviced to breastfeed our baby for at least six months of her age we also need to bring it to the notice of society that we need a secure place first.
With paid maternity leave, paid paternity leave should also be encouraged and acted upon. This will only lead to an environment of shared responsibility for caring for the child and nurturing relationships.
New mothers can look out for parent-friendly workplace options to continue breastfeeding or at least having access to breastfeeding breaks. A demand for a safe, private, and hygienic space for expressing and storing breastmilk; and affordable childcare is not too much to ask for.
Many mothers quit their job as soon as they enter their motherhood anticipating the challenges she would be facing in initial years. Just by adopting a few measures and helping a woman sustain her identity by providing necessary access will change many lives.
It will only lead to a better workplace, better productivity in women and the decline in work rate of women might as well reduce.
Much love and gratitude