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Breastfeeding is an experience that a mother cherishes her entire life. It is more related to feelings rather than just a task. This is the first step towards building a relationship with your child once they enter the new world. As a child touches the mother’s body they get familiar with the new world. My experience of breastfeeding was a mixture of both good and bad feelings. Having gone through C-section, I didn’t get a chance to take my baby into my arms immediately. Hence, it took some time for her to adapt to breastfeed. But could not develop the habit of sucking the breasts.
Everyone around the house was worried about this, and they tried lending their support in whichever way possible. From trying out different postures to extracting milk in bottles for feeding, we left no stone upturned making her learn the sucking technique. Sometimes it was frustrating, but on the other side the thought of not being able to provide my baby with the best diet she required at that early stage irked me. At the end the support from my mother and granny, made our attempts to breastfeed my daughter successful. But, the problem did not end here; there was more coming to it. As we belong to a nation where breastfeeding in open is taboo and is not considered ethical. It becomes difficult to satisfy the demand of the child. Since, an infant’s hunger is something which cannot be controlled. You have to feed your child as per there requirement, when and wherever the child demands. Moreover, exclusive breastfeeding is what all the doctors recommend. Since in India, our culture does not permit us to openly do the same, breastfeeding evades faster and early.
Thereby, depriving the children of the valuable nutrients at a very early stage in life. I faced similar consequences, as I had to look out for amenities to satisfy my child’s needs, whenever I was out from home. Whether it was being indoor in a mall or outdoor in a market place. Sometimes left with no option but to feed her in restrooms. Which actually was completely unhygienic. Breastfeeding at work places is among other great challenges. Sometimes, the working hours and other circumstances create a not so friendly environment for your child.
In this case I was fortunate; as in our organization, there was provision to breastfeed your baby in the crèche area. Thereby spending, quality time with your bundle of joy. Times though seem to have changed a lot. People are now getting rid of this stigma.
There are cities like in United states, where breast feeding in public is legally allowed. In Germany, female employees are provided with spacious and well maintained areas to breast feed their child in office premises. Also, it is a mandate that 25% of their office time gets utilized in feeding their babies.
Recently, a female Brazilian parliamentarian was in news for publicly breastfeeding her baby while making an animated statement in the national assembly. There were eyeballs rolling and tongues wagging, with both appreciations and discomfort shown by public.
However, mostly people came out applauding the fact it encourages young mothers to act in the best interest of their babies. Many western countries have come forward supporting and advertising to promote breast feeding.
While on the other hand African and Asian countries are still confused of the idea of public display of breasts and often discourage the same. Though in such developing nations, breastfeeding is not criminalized unless and until it is being done in aesthetic manner. For which again, need for special amenities arises.
Breastfeeding is not a choice but a responsibility. It might not be in our hands to legalize breastfeeding in public through state and national laws, but this should not stop mothers from giving their children the healthiest fast food in the world.
I was fortunate enough to be a part of the event organized by mycity4kids, supported by Nestle Start Healthy Stay Healthy. Nestle Start Healthy Stay Healthy is opening up breastfeeding rooms in the city, and with this initiative... they are clearly setting an example for the developing nations.
As mentioned in my article above, we do need to take some initiatives at grass root level to empower women and mothers to breastfeed exclusively.
The event was joined by some elite members from the medical fraternity apart from the bloggers and mothers. The air seemed very familiar with very common issues being highlighted by moms, which could easily be related to the core. And the queries were very patiently answered by the experts.
A lot of myths and illusions were negated, which cleared out the minds of the breastfeeding mothers. Myths like a breastfed baby is more immune to surroundings then a baby who is not breastfed, breastfed babies should look chubbier than their counter parts, what a mother eats directly goes to the baby in the form of breastfeed and likes were some of the issues discussed.
Apart from the above, common feelings and circumstances faced by the mothers also psychologically helped others and they got the assurance that they are not the only ones sailing in the boat. Facing challenges while trying to prepare their child initially for breastfeeding, to various weaning techniques, it all appeared to be a known phenomenon and was very re-assuring for all the mothers. In a nutshell; Breast feeding empowers you and accomplishing it requires a lot of dedication. So keep calm and pump on!!!