This post was featured by #YouthKiAwaaz and received more than 60,000 hits. https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/03/why-should-i-feed-my-child-in-a-dirty-toilet-shamed-for-nursing-in-public/
Women are emotionally very vulnerable during pregnancy, nothing prepares you for how raw and exposed you feel post
Taking my own example, its been 3 months since I delivered and I haven’t gathered the courage to get out with my son because I know that if he is hungry, I have no place to nurse him unless I am back home. For me to start getting back to my normal life, run errands, start working again I need to have the freedom to nurse my child whenever and wherever. Breastfeeding is a natural act but there is so much stigma attached to it that the mother is automatically put on a guilt trip on, ‘ how can you flash it in public’. This is a massive issue which will take decades to behavioural change, all we need is some empathy and a secure space to nurse and not feel judged.
As a mom blogger I tried to make a list of areas reserved for nursing your child in public places and the results were as expected – Disappointing!
Few malls have a table reserved to change and nurse in the restrooms, we are expected to feed our child in the toilet, the most unhygienic place. A lot of mothers prefer feeding is hot car parks to avoid public attention. Most of the airports also follow a very similar pattern barring a few where there is a large area blocked for mothers to bond with their young toddlers while feeding them.
The problem is that we are living in a culture that has sexualised breasts so much that it is hard to look beyond it and accept the fact that they serve a bigger purpose in our lives. I am millennial parent belonging to the privileged, well educated section of our society yet I do not have the confidence to fight the stares and the unwanted attention that would come my way if I decided to feed in public. I am more comfortable staying home and waiting to lead a normal life until my child grows older but is this the right way to treat a yourself? Shaming women who refuse to nurse their child behind a dirty wall or a toilet is very judgemental especially because everyone has been a part of this natural cycle at some point in their lives.