“Breastfeeding is the normal way of feeding babies with milk from a woman’s breast in order to provide young infants with the nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development,” reads the definition of breastfeeding. Wondering why am I suddenly defining it here? It’s just to remind everyone that ‘breastfeeding is normal’!
Breastfeeding in public has always been a taboo, especially in India. People not only stare differently at women who breastfeed in public making them feel uncomfortable but some people also call them out, shaming them.
But mothers visiting the Taj Mahal need no longer worry. All thanks to the Archeological Survey Of India!
In a progressive approach, the Archeological Survey Of India has taken a step forward to curb the stigma around the act of breastfeeding babies in public. The ASI has confirmed that it will set up a separate breastfeeding room at several heritage monuments in the country beginning with the Taj Mahal.
The prestigious mausoleum, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, hence, becomes the first ever Indian heritage site to have a breastfeeding room for lactating women, reports TOI.
ASI confirmed that the room will be set up by July to help and make the ‘millions of mothers who visit with their babies’ feel comfortable.
They will also provide the same facility at Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri after Taj Mahal for the visiting mothers. The ASI aims at providing such facilities for mothers at all the 3,600 plus heritage sites in India.
Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, an official at the ASI, said that the decision was taken after observing the difficulties faced by mothers who visited the monument.
“The situation turns even more ’embarrassing’ on days when there is a rush of tourists. Considering this, the ASI decided to provide some space for them,” he said.
Netizens have welcomed and lauded ASI’s move in favor of women.
This tweet HAS to be "Wah, Taj!", no? 🙂https://t.co/3rxJtbjQUF
— Urmi Chanda-Vaz (@URM1) May 23, 2019
— Nikole H. Allen (@NikoleHAllen) May 22, 2019
It led the way as a monument dedicated to a woman, now the Taj Mahal marks another first as first Indian monument with a breastfeeding room. https://t.co/yopxJGB2Fq
— Belinda Goldsmith (@BeeGoldsmith) May 21, 2019
Taj Mahal – Temple of Love 💕…and now #breastfeeding. With the #TajMahal adding an accommodating space for mothers to comfortably feed their babies, hopefully more historic landmarks will soon follow suit. #Space4Lactation #India 🇮🇳 https://t.co/WI0HamMUWV
— Roger Mathisen (@MathisenRoger) May 22, 2019
Several Bollywood celebrities like Lisa Haydon, Padma Laxmi also empowered mothers by sharing pictures while breastfeeding their babies on social media.
View this post on Instagram
I've gotten loads of posts asking about life after having my son… esp to do with weight and fitness. Seeing as it's World Breastfeeding Week- time to give some credit where credit is due. Breastfeeding has played such a big part in getting back into shape after giving birth to my baby. Breastfeeding has been challenging+time consuming (literally hours spent everyday trying to stimulate milk supply) but it's such a beautiful way to bond and connect with your child plus all the nutritional benefits that your child gets from your milk. Look out for my blog post on mycityforkids.com on breastfeeding. Happy #worldbreastfeedingweek
Moreover, according to the latest amendments in the Maternity Benefit Act, organizations with over 50 women employees were ordered to set up creches at the working space. As per the law, a lactating mother can take up to four breaks to visit the creches to breastfeed their babies apart from the regular breaks in addition to two nursing breaks until the child turns 15 months old.
This step by ASI certainly comes as a remarkable initiative in normalizing breastfeeding in public. We hope more such steps are taken by the authorities to eliminate such taboos and make women feel comfortable in the country no matter what!