Offices will soon become breastfeeding friendly. Here’s all you need to know
The movement to break the taboo around breastfeeding has gained momentum around the world, and India will soon join the revolution - with BabyChakra (India's largest platform for parents) and RoundGlass Blossom (India's premier child wellness ecosystem).
Now, this is good news for all the working, breastfeeding mothers, who until now had to frantically scout for a safe and private place to either breastfeed or pump breast milk.
Corporate offices might soon take the pledge to become breastfeeding friendly with well-equipped lactation rooms.
The idea which is first of its kind in India - is an initiative by Naiyya Saggi, BabyChakra and RoundGlass Blossom. The duo came together and decided to push the agenda to make offices more friendly and sensitive towards lactating mothers, especially after the Maternity leave was extended to 26 weeks in India.
The movement as explained by Naiyya Saggi of BabyChakra aims at making it easier for new mothers to return to work, without having to neglect their children, which is only possible if workplaces are well equipped to support lactating mothers to breastfeed and pump breast milk and store it in an appropriate temperature to carry it back home.
By taking a pledge to become breastfeeding friendly, corporate organisations would have proper lactation rooms for mothers to not only breastfeed their kids but also pump and store breast milk at proper intervals to not disrupt the breast milk supply.
Dr Parag Patel, Paediatrician (US), Partner, RoundGlass Blossom pointed out how India is lagging behind in its facilities for lactating mothers at workplaces, he referred to Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act - Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision in the US, which allows enough time to mothers to cater to the needs of their children without having to stay away from work.
In India, due to the lack of breastfeeding friendly space at workplace, most of the lactating mothers are left with no other options than leaving work or compromising on breastfeeding their children, which in turn adversely affects the emotional and physical well-being of both the mother and the child.
It's only a few days back that Actress Lisa Haydon was trolled - slut shamed, when she posted a picture of herself breastfeeding her child to honour Word Breastfeeding week, and this is where sensitization is needed so that providing nutrition to a child does not become a hectic task for a mother.
Naiyya pointed, "The taboo around such a natural and important aspect of mother-child bonding and child nutrition has to go away, breastfeeding should not be considered vulgar for the sexual connotation of breasts and corporate organisations must talk about this openly and extend their support,"
"By 2018 we plan to have 300 corporate companies on board to sign a pledge to become Breast Feeding Friendly," she added.
Pre and Post Natal Consultant, Dr Rolly Sapru elaborated on how workplaces have to a pivotal role in helping working moms in maintaining balance between work and catering to the needs of the child and how it helps to increase productivity of a mother who has just given birth.
She stressed the importance of breastfeeding and said that breast milk helps in the child's IQ building and that breast milk is the only food that a child will never say no to.
Sapru said that it should be a give-and-take process where the organisations will help a breastfeeding-mother to cater to the needs of her child, and in turn, the mother will give her best to the organisation out of gratitude.
Celebrity Mom, Kamal Sidhu, Miss India - Canada 1991, Partner of RoundGlass Blossom said, "I think there is a real problem with prioritising a child's nutritional needs versus society's insecurities of sexualising the breast as opposed to recognising it for what it actually is, which is a nutritional source for the day at a time it is required."
OneIndia also approached working moms and dads for their thoughts, and this is what they had to say:
Shreyosi, Corporate Lawyer: Suckling is healthy for a babys physical health, of course, but it is immensely important for the mothers emotional health. Working mothers who are forced to opt for alternative methods, like breast pumps etc, suffer from a lifetimes guilt. Societal norms of good & bad add to her woes.
Gauri Kulkarni, Practicing Lawyer: Suckling is mother's satisfaction. She is not only feeding she is imparting her love, warmth to the child.
Joyanto Mukherjee, Founder, Tutored and Trained: It's for the time when a new mother is expected to be in office and the child cannot be left alone -- so are our workplaces equipped to take care and provide support. Answer is no. And it should be done proper, about time.
Monalisa Roy, Software Engineer: While working and away from the child, she sometimes has to throw it away or pump and store. Apart from the questionability of nutritional value of such 'pumped' milk, a mother's heart aches as she misses caressing and loving the baby while feeding.
BabyChakra and RoundGlass Blossom celebrated the International Breast Feeding Week - Breast Is Best: Nourish to Flourish on August 10, 2017 at J W Marriott, International Airport, Mumbai, and over 250 expecting and new moms attended the event, including celeb moms.
The event conducted a Panel Discussion on "Breastfeeding away from Home" and explored if the present policy in organisations allow new moms to breastfeed het child even at work, which eventually led to the conception of the idea of breastfeeding friendly offices.
Breastfeeding is the most important and the start of the parenting journey, during which a mother has to overcome various obstacles to meet the requirements of her child, especially if she is working. Apart from corporate organisations, each and every citizen of the country must join the movement to make not only offices but the entire nation breast feeding friendly.