Indian Mothers Campaign To End Breastfeeding Stigma

Public breastfeeding carries a social stigma in much of the world a situation that World Breastfeeding Week until August 7 hopes to change but in highly conservative India it is particularly taboo.

This photograph taken on July 25, 2018, shows a nurse holding a packet of breast milk stored in a freezer at a milk bank at Fortis La Femme hospital in the Indian capital New Delhi. Public breastfeeding carries a social stigma in much of the world but in India it is particularly taboo.
Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Hundreds of millions of women in India are expected to dress modestly, and even a glimpse of a breast during feeding is a strict no-no, all too often inviting disgusted demands to desist and even unwanted sexual advances.

So this is what a petition brought in little Avyaan’s name — by his middle-class lawyer parents Neha and Animesh Rastogi — and currently before the Delhi High Court is aimed at chipping away at.

“I was flying to Bangalore and my co-passengers were male. My son was exclusively on breast milk and it was so difficult to feed him there,” Neha Rastogi, 30, told AFP at her home in Noida, a satellite city on the outskirts of Delhi.

“We want the government to set aside space in flights and at all public places because we can’t feed in the open simply because the breast is just seen as a sexual organ.”

The signs are good that the case may make some progress, with the court demanding city authorities come up with a response at the next hearing day on August 28.

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