In a world full of women empowerment, Breastfeeding in public is prudish or permissive?

Breastfeeding in public

YDNews| 05:20 pm| #BreakingStereotypesWithYDNews

Garima Aggarwal

Being a mother is not at all easy. Carrying a baby for 9 months, bearing pain to bring her into this world and then struggling to feed her, all of it makes the life of a woman miserable. How?

This article is for all the stereotyped people, future parents and even youngsters- because you can bring in the change.

A few days ago, I asked my mother how she used to feel when she had to breastfeed me in open.

She said, “I never faced such a situation but if I had come across one, I would not feel ashamed to feed you in public.” This raised a question in my mind.

So I am going to discuss breastfeeding in public. A woman feeding her hungry toddler in open while travelling on a bus or sitting in an open space is considered wrong or unacceptable.

Even though breastfeeding is the most natural process in the human race, it continues to be a taboo in India. Even after several international campaigns, messages by health agencies and awareness among people, breastfeeding is framed as a shameful act.

People staring at women while she feeds her famished baby in public is nothing less than sexualising the act. Just to inform the public, there is nothing vulgar about it. Back when you were a child, your mother also used to feed you the same way.

“I don’t feel that breastfeeding in public is something vulgar or awkward. But people themselves make the situation awkward which is illogical. It is a natural phenomenon that a baby needs breastfeed for at least 6 months to grow properly and it is not possible for the women to keep their baby starving just because she is travelling. This is something that people should respect.”, a 20-year-old college-going boy said, continuing, “People should understand that a woman cannot always look for a closed room to feed her baby. Personally, if I see any women feeling uncomfortable in breastfeeding, I make sure it is not because of me.”

The new generation of mothers feels shy about breastfeeding babies. Here is where the husbands come in to play.

Recently, I came across a couple sitting next to me in a hospital when the lady told her husband about the baby being unfed. She asked what she should do, what her husband said completely amazed me. I still remember exactly what he said, “So why are you feeling shy? It is about our baby, just go on and don’t worry about the crowd.”

I felt that if people could think like a father (even if they are not the ones) then maybe, the scenario might change.

BE CONFIDENT AND COMFORTABLE

I can recall another incident that made me feel that if a lady is confident, conscious and comfortable, then people don’t even exist. It is all about her little child and a fact that she/he is starving.

Once I was travelling in an auto full of men and just three females- me and two ladies holding their respective babies. Suddenly one of them whispered something in the other one’s ears and she gave her a dupatta. The lady put the dupatta over her body and started feeding her child without any hesitation.

This is what our country has to be like, women not feared or hesitant over a ‘pure and natural act’.

The open breastfeeding scenario is all about the mindset of people that cannot change. We have to stuff it up and move further without caring of what people say or think.

Otherwise, for the new generation mothers, who feel shy, always remember that this is not wrong; there’s nothing extraordinary about breastfeeding. Women in India have been breastfeeding since ages. People’s vulgar thoughts are not as important than your baby but always be conscious of your surroundings because not everybody has a good eye.

Breastfeeding is not a taboo but a pure act of love a mother has for her child.


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