#noshameinbreastfeeding: Public Nursing A Matter Of Pride And Social Stigma

Know Why Public Nursing Is A Matter Of Pride And Social Stigma!

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograPublished at: Aug 05, 2019
#noshameinbreastfeeding: Public Nursing A Matter Of Pride And Social Stigma

How do I feed my baby;

Everyone is looking at me!

Should I just give her a milk bottle?

Must be the thoughts running in a mother’s mind trying to feed her hungry baby. Breastfeeding, a necessary human act is a taboo in a progressive nation like India. You may see many mums trying to breastfeed in metro, buses or cars, restaurants, malls, etc., continuously trying to hide her bosoms from lingering stranger’s eyes who see her as if she is committing a crime feeding her child in public.

All these places have been a site of a skirmish over a women’s right to nurse, forcing her to feed even in a public washroom to avoid embarrassment. Even with so much awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding how much it is important and life enrichment for both mom and her baby, it is still seen as a social stigma.

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Lactating mothers need to be acknowledged and said that they are doing a great job and it is not something to be ashamed of. Women trying to nurse their children are often told: “I told you to start using powder milk to avoid such situations in public”. Such people need to be explained, that breastfeeding anywhere in public and private is a woman’s legal right. However, nursing women are regularly scolded, shamed, given side-eye, harassed, embarrassed, and made to leave public and private spaces by those who find this practice inappropriate. Some do this subtly by suggesting that she would feel more comfortable while hidden from view of others or she must “COVER-UP”.


Because of these social touches of melancholy many nursing mothers are forced to give in to mix feeds with powder milk besides breastfeeding. It starts with one feed a day followed by a vicious circle of a greater number of powder feeds than breastfeed and eventually facing decreased mothers supply. Lesser is the baby’s suckling on breast, lesser is the supply.

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Breastmilk is considered as liquid gold: and by offering this complete nutrition to the child, we are saving the future by providing them lifetime immunity from various life-threatening diseases like cancers, diabetes, hypertension, respiratory disorders, just to name a few.

Rather than offering them powder milk or any other prelacteal feeds to the child, a mother should feel free to express her breastmilk, thanks to the variety of breast pumps available commercially today. This is also highly beneficial for working moms. Expressed breast milk (EBM) is always healthy and easily digestible to the baby rather than any other feed till 6 months of age. EBM kept at a room temperature of 25-28 degrees is consumable within 4-5 hours of expression. If stored in a refrigerator can be consumed within 24 hours and should be offered only after thawing.

This world breastfeeding week, let’s take a pledge to break all taboos and create a welcoming and comfortable environment for nursing mothers and next time we see anyone body shaming a nursing mother by their words or eyes, tell the mom that we are so proud of her and that they are saving the future generations and showering the love through your milk beyond all barriers.

(With inputs from Dr. Pallavi Verma (PT), Lactation Consultant, women health physiotherapist, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka)

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