Breastfeeding is not a choice but a responsibility. When a baby feels hungry and cries for milk, a mother cannot deprive herself from this responsibility. This can restrict a mother’s mobility and freedom at times. While medical and society has advanced enough in terms of making breastfeeding a comfortable experience for mother and baby, our nation still lacks the support that a mother needs to breastfeed her baby in public places. Taj Mahal in Agra is all set to give this privileged comfort to mothers by setting up a baby feeding room in a first of India where conservative values still exist.
A regular tourist and visitor of the this incredible wonder of the world, Vasant Kumar Swarnkar got this idea when he saw a mother nursing her baby under a staircase. He could see the difficulty with which she was feeding her baby and immediately took this pain point and decided to address on urgent basis. As uncomfortable as it can get for a mother to nurse her child in public places, this comes as a relief for millions of mothers who visit or desire to visit this famous monument with babies. Swarnkar, who also is a top official at the Archeological Survey or India in Agra city, confirmed that the baby feeding room will be up and functional from the month of July.
Unfortunately, breastfeeding in public is still a social stigma in our country. This is forcing mothers to stay grounded till her baby gets older or switch to alternatives like bottle feeds or early solids, impacting baby’s health and nutrition. Mothers are now speaking up for their rights and the rights of their babies. There have been petitions raised on change.org by various mothers for their rights in different aspects of motherhood. Last year saw an immense protest from a huge community of mothers in Kolkata, against a mall where an employee asked a mother to use a toilet to breastfeed her child.
We often see mothers using dressing rooms, secluded corners (which are sometimes unsafe and unhygienic), trying to cover herself and the baby with multiple layers to avoid embarrassment resulting in absolute discomfort. A nursing room in one of the country’s most busy places, is a small gesture of support from society towards motherhood.
We hope many other monuments, malls, theatres and other public places like parks, bus stops, railway stations etc will also make these special provisions for mothers and babies. This will help retain a sense of sanity in our so called unreasonably deep rooted conservative society. This will also help create a sense of awareness in our society where mothers struggle to gain support from family and society members in her journey of motherhood.
After all when a mother says “ Its not my right to breastfeed bu my child’s right to eat”, nobody can challenge her power !#breastfeeding