Is Breastfeeding an Act of Shame?

This late evening, When I was watching my mother reading a book on women, I started wondering how powerful mothers are? They go through a lot, right since a child is in their womb until a child turns into an adult. No words can describe the kind of care and love she has showered. Isn’t it special? Well, this phase of mothership undergoes few hardships.

The very important part of this phase is ‘breastfeeding’ and of course, it is the most special thing too. A mother needs to be very careful while breastfeeding her child.

Photo credit: Dakota Corbin

A child can’t eat so he/she is purely dependent on breastfeeding. Even after knowing this fact, people are still not open to the idea of breastfeeding in public.

What if a child is hungry while the mother and the child are travelling? Well, packed milk isn’t the answer, as we all know the importance of breastfeeding!

This month marked a beautiful week in the calendar, World Breastfeeding Week! August 1 to 7 is observed as World Breastfeeding Week. On account of that, let’s celebrate motherhood and of course give more power to the breastfeeding campaign!

Grihalakshmi, a famous magazine, posed a model breastfeeding a child on the cover page in the March issue. The magazine came up with this wonderful thought of pushing the campaign which encourages mothers to breastfeed in public. This would surely encourage the breastfeeding in public and hopefully many will end up changing their mindset! As it’s a social taboo and an act of shame for many.

Few people have managed to impose their backward thought by saying that the photo is indecent. Men usually stare when a woman breastfeeds her child. Isn’t that indecent?

The woman, however, gets nervous and uncomfortable and somehow try to hide under a towel or a cloth. The thought behind the campaign of breastfeeding in public itself is amazing. It’s shocking to see how the negativity is growing around such an amazing thought.


Recently, model Mara Martin walked up the ramp – Miami Swim week, while breastfeeding her five months old daughter, Aria. People have criticized this act and tagged it as a publicity stunt.

Mara Martin says, “I did this casting for Sports Illustrated and [Aria] was part of it because I’m a stay-at-home mum and I didn’t have a babysitter so I just took her with me to the casting. They wanted to do a ‘mummy-and-me’ thing where I wear a bikini and we had a matching one for her.

Backstage she got hungry because the show kept getting pushed back and back and the editor of the magazine came over and said ‘If you want to take her out there while your breastfeeding I support it’, and I thought to myself ‘Yeah let’s do this’ and I just walked out there with her.”

Is Breastfeeding an Act of Shame?

How is feeding a child indecent or an act of shame? If a child is hungry, what is a mother supposed to do? Breastfeeding shows an amazing bond between a mother and her child. More power to this wonderful campaign.

Just a few days back, an act of mothership and kindness was witnessed when Celeste Ayala, a police officer from Berisso, Argentina, breastfed a malnourished baby who was neglected by the hospital staff. She was on duty at the Sister Maria Ludovica children’s hospital when the baby was brought in suffering from malnutrition.

She has been praised for this act. Absolutely, a selfless act and this shows the power of the women. How beautiful is this, isn’t it? Celeste Ayala says, “I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth, so I asked to hug him and breastfeed him. It was a sad moment, it broke my soul seeing him like this, society should be sensitive to the issues affecting children, it cannot keep happening.”

But few incidents happening around the world are disturbing and makes one think about the mentality of the society. It’s harsh that people still question women over their act of something which is just as pure as motherhood.

Amy Marchant, a 29-year-old mother of three, had a very bad experience to share with, she claims that she received messages over social media from church leaders shaming her for breastfeeding her one-year-old daughter inside the Naz Church in Detroit. She was asked to cover up or leave the church and go to a nursing area for breastfeeding.

Is God against breastfeeding?

Obviously not! But the perception of the society is something which is quite triggering. “Of all the places, it is most hurtful when it comes from your own church, that you are going to cause guys to lust after you,” she told The Livingston Daily.

How can one question motherhood? Why is the society mum over such a big issue over breastfeeding in public? Does a woman have no right to feed her child? How does public breastfeeding cause so much unnecessary fuss?

These questions are surely bothering you too, as we all know that mothers have more ideas on when to feed and where to feed her child, how can society raise a question? Let us raise our voice and not stay quiet about such an important topic.

After all, happy mothers are the reflection of happy kids and the face of a happy future!

 


EDITOR’S NOTE: THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE BY IMPAKTER.COM COLUMNISTS ARE THEIR OWN, NOT THOSE OF IMPAKTER.COM  Cover image: Photo by Tanja Heffner
About the Author /

Amrata Joshi is an engineer, poet, performer and a story teller. She is currently working as the Associate Manager at HDFC Life and has previously worked with organisations like Lettrs and Women's Republic. She is the founder of Vorfreude Community. Her articles have been published in various magazines. She strongly believes in gender equality. She is highly inspired by her grandmother.

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