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Breastfeeding is natural as it can get for a mother and her child. However, when it comes to breastfeeding in public spaces, women have to hide the act behind a nursing cover (In India, it is usually dupatta or saree pallu) or find a secluded space such as lavatories. Several states in the US and countries in Europe have enacted laws favouring public breastfeeding. However, in most countries, including India, it is considered a social taboo.
Picture Courtesy: News 18
Fortunately, many private facilities have started providing exclusive rooms for mothers who want to feed their kids or change their diapers. But, public infrastructure such as railway stations, bus stands and airports still do not have any such provision. However, nursing mothers will now have it easy at least at the railway stations.
All thanks to the initiative of Woman and Child Development Ministry (WCD) minister Maneka Gandhi. In a letter to the railway minister Suresh Prabhu, she brought forth the problems faced by lactating mothers travelling by trains and how uncomfortable it was for them to feed their babies due to lack of necessary amenities.
All zonal railway authorities have been instructed to allocate designated nursing corners in waiting rooms and equip them with a table and a chair along with an appropriate screen or partition around it. As of now, 100 railway stations across the country have been provided with this facility.
Maneka Gandhi says, “Breastfeeding is extremely important for the health of a child. We stand for clean, safe and exclusive areas in public places where women can breastfeed their children peacefully. I hope this facility will be extended to all railway stations.”
We are sure this new decision will bring a big respite to breastfeeding moms and they can now nurse without feeling embarrassed, judged or criticized. Can we please request the authorities extend this law to other public and private places in India, and make life more convenient for mothers?
Cover Image Courtesy: Paras Hospitals