Motherhood is a beautiful and life-changing experience for women, but you should also be ready to get countless suggestions from people around you. This scenario can be traumatizing since even people with no experience will have a piece of advice to give.
Do not get anxious, and remember that sometimes the best approach is to hear and ignore. Suggestions to hold the baby correctly and make him sleep at the right time will continue. But the most irritating advice you may listen to daily is to cover up when breastfeeding in public.
Hearing such comments, especially from family and friends, is highly frustrating. Today, we will discuss this struggle and find appropriate solutions to overcome the social attitudes of people around us and feed comfortably in public.
The Cultural Context
Breastfeeding is not new to Indian mothers. For decades and ages, women of all sections have been feeding breast milk to their babies. Even the queens and royal women were believed to breastfeed in private rooms where no one else was allowed. This practice was deeply instilled in our Indian culture, and people started following it and stated breastfeeding in public places as a taboo.
Breastfeeding is crucial for infants since it contains all the essential nutrients that boost their immunity and growth. It is a natural process, but sadly, social attitudes towards breastfeeding in India pose challenges for new mothers already trying to cope with many changes in their lives.
Recently, women influencers and celebrities have started sharing their opinions about breastfeeding in public in India. Women are bolder and more vocal about their thoughts, and thus, there have been small yet positive changes in attitudes in society. We expect and hope that breastfeeding in public places will no longer be considered wrong.
Common Concerns Among Indian Moms
When discussing breastfeeding, Indian moms have some concerns when feeding in public. Some common ones that make mothers nervous are:
- Judgment about exposed skin: The primary concern about breastfeeding etiquette in Indian society is that mothers are expected to feed their babies without exposing their skin, or else you may hear passing comments and glares.
- Making babies wait to eat: Anxious moms tend to avoid feeding their babies in public, which means keeping the little ones hungry if a mom is not top-feeding formula milk.
- Finding private space: Breastfeeding in malls and public spaces is a big concern for new moms since finding personal space in these overcrowded places is impossible.
Also Read: Stress Management Tips For New Moms In India
Tips for Comfortable Public Breastfeeding in Public Places
We know every new mom struggles to tackle the public breastfeeding challenges in India, and therefore, we have shortlisted some crucial tips that would help you feed your munchkin comfortably.
- Dresses with zip enclosures: Fashion brands today have designed clothing lines, especially for breastfeeding mothers. These dresses are practical and comfortable with zip enclosures near breasts; thus, there are no more struggles handling kurtas and blouses. Just unzip and feed easily without compromising the fashion quotient.
- Stay confident and focus on baby: As a mother, you want the best for your little one, and sometimes, it is best to ignore what others say about your way of baby care. After all, you are the best decision-maker for your child.
- Nursing Cover: The best way to stress-free breastfeeding in public areas is to use nursing cover. These are modern cape-style covers that come in various attractive prints and colours. You can carry the cover in your bag anywhere and just put it on whenever your baby needs to feed.
- Dedicated nursing rooms: Public places these days have dedicated spaces where mothers can feed their babies and change diapers. So, whenever you visit a public site, look for such rooms as these are peaceful and allow the baby to feed without disturbance.
- Support from the Partners: Discuss your problem with your partner and try finding a solution. Let your partner handle comments from people around since people will eventually stop interfering once he responds appropriately to such remarks.
- Alternate of Feeing Rooms: If you are not sure about feeding rooms in public spaces, try reading and gaining knowledge about them, as it will be beneficial during your motherhood journey.
Promoting Breastfeeding Awareness
India is changing, and so are its women and mothers. This is clearly depicted in the thought process and voiced opinions from Indian celebrities like Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Kareena Kapoor, Lisa Haydon, and others joining the drive. These celebrities have been strongly sharing the need for women to ignore social hurdles and focus on providing the best baby care to their little ones.
Reputed organizations like WHO and UNICEF are running campaigns promoting breastfeeding awareness in India. They are joining hands with local bodies and organizations to reach out to remote locations and discuss the importance of breastfeeding, irrespective of place and time.
It is time that all women join such campaigns and voice their thoughts so that feeding mothers stay strong and get answers to all their concerns.
Social Change Toward Acceptance
Indeed, breastfeeding in public in India is still challenging; slowly but steadily, changes are occurring. There have been constant applications to introduce a law stating that lactating moms have the right to feed their babies in public without any harassment and embarrassment, as it is set to alter the way people see public breastfeeding.
Nursing rooms at airports and malls are becoming a trend, allowing an increasing number of moms to feed their babies safely. The topic is now openly discussed on all social media platforms, and even experts are addressing the significance of removing the taboo tag from this natural process.
Also Read: Breast Milk Vs. Powdered Milk
Breastfeeding Support in Indian Cities
Various breastfeeding support groups have emerged to support lactating mothers in different Indian cities. These extend complete support and guidance whenever someone has a concern or query.
So, breastfeeding infants in public is every mother’s choice, and no one has the right to call this wrong or pass any comments. As moms, you should take pride in breastfeeding whenever your baby needs it.
If you have ever had a similar experience in the past, please share it here so that all mothers can learn and be aware of the significance of feeding.