Breastfeeding in Public Places
Braving Breastfeeding in Public in India
Exclusive breastfeeding simply means consumption of only human milk by a baby during first six weeks of life with no supplementation of any type (no water, no juice, no nonhuman milk and no foods) except for medications.India is having a huge burden of having very high rates of infant mortality mainly due to under nutrition. Evidences have suggested, that initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and introduction of appropriate and adequate complementary food at 6-9 month of age, are available to prevent under nutrition in children and to improve infant and child survival.
As per the NFHS- 3 data, the initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth was only 24.5%, and exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of six month to be only 46.4%. Interpretation of age wise data also reveals that exclusive breastfeeding rapidly declines from first month to sixth month, and only about 27.6 % children continue it by six month, giving a real low figure of exclusive breastfeeding.
One of the main reason leading to this poor breast feeding rate is negative perception of breastfeeding in social settings due to discomfort amongst the women when breastfeeding in public. Even given a legal right, some mothers are reluctant to breastfeed.
For most of the new moms Breastfeeding in public is a matter of great concern. New moms become self conscious while feeding in public. However, this is something that cannot be avoided for long. Staying indoors all the time to suit the infants feeding times may not always be practical. Here are some useful ideas which will make breastfeeding in public a little easier for the mothers.
Comfortable Clothes: To breastfeed easily must wear clothes which will help you to feed comfortably and discreetly in a public place the first thing you need to buy is a breastfeeding bra it allows you to drop down a cup at the front easily and quickly. It is best if you wear at least a couple of layers of clothes. For example wear a vest and a top. Vests made of Lycra are really useful to wear under any other garment like a blouse or a top. This will cover your breasts and tummy when you open up or lift the outer top for access.
Breast Feeding-Friendly Places: Now a days many shops and malls have special arrangements and designated space assigned for breastfeeding moms. One should look out for such places when you wish to feed your baby. Ascertain if a feeding place or a changing room exists close to where you are. This will make sure that the entire experience is a pleasent one for both your and the baby.
Company of other moms: This will be a great confident booster in the initial stages till time such that you get used to feeding in public. Alternatively you can also make your husband or mom stay with you while feeding in public.
Plan Your Outings : Plan your journey in such a way that you are always close to feeding friendly place. As far as possible travel by your own car so that you can comfortably feed in the privacy of your car or You can also explore the option of going over to your family or friends place who may be residing close to your area of visit to feed the baby.
Bottom line is that you must attempt to tame your inhibitions if you want to feed in public. As a new mom your hormones must already be creating lot of troubles in your life hence do not add to your troubles by being self-conscious while feeding your infant. You must understand that to breastfeed the baby is something very natural and appropriate for you to do and you must remain calm and stop being embarrassed. Breastfeeding in public is not something that will happen instantly, it is perfectly alright for you to take some time to get used to the idea.