The recent photo controversy of the cover of Malayalam women's magazine Grihalakshmi which featured the photograph of a woman breastfeeding an infant, sends the message loud and clear. “Mothers tell Kerala, 'please don't stare, we need to breastfeed,'” says the headline. The cover story is part of the magazine's “breastfeed freely” campaign to mark International women’s day that is celebrated in the month of March every year.
Though the Government supports and creates awareness among the people encourage breastfeeding, this is often being shamed or the breastfeeding mom in public places like buses, trains, rail stations, bus stands and even in airport lounges are stared at by men around her. Not only in India, in many countries across the world Breast Feeding in public is considered an act of shame though it is a natural act that takes place between the mother and the baby.
The law also requires that all government offices must provide a nursery so working mothers can breastfeed. The present controversy on Kerala Magazine launching campaign on breastfeeding in the open has started receiving comments and opinions from all quarters. The magazine has pictures of two women breastfeeding infants (one of them is a model), and a case has been registered against the model and the publishers for indecent representation of women.
It was a welcome move when Nestle India came up with nursing stations as cubicles set up in various clinics and hospitals where nursing moms can just get absolute privacy to feed their babies while waiting for their turn to meet the doctor. The idea to set up exclusive nursing rooms originated from the understanding that breastfeeding outside home is one of the major challenges that mothers face.
The mindset of the people and the society calls for a change to let mothers to nurse their babies in public places and a law to this effect be enabled in India soon so that the natural demand and right of the baby and the mother is respected and dignified.
Despite recent campaigns like breastfeeding in the open which definitely has reached all sections of the society managed only to get a mixed review with men and women reacting for and against it. Though women folks welcome the bold move of breastfeeding in open without a sense of guilt to feed the baby, it is the conventional mindset of men who do not agree that the baby’s demand is its right.
It is important to note that there are many products like Feeding Cloaks, Scarves, Nursing cover or a blanket which is very helpful and easy to use for the feeding moms during travel and outing and awareness to this effect should thus be created.
Image Courtesy: grihalakshmi