I Am A Privileged, Millennial Mom, Still Expected To Hide In A Toilet To Feed My Baby

Women are emotionally very vulnerable during pregnancy. Nothing prepares you for how raw and exposed you feel post childbirth. When a woman enters motherhood, the learning curve is massive. She is not just creating a new life but is also completely responsible for their wellbeing and nourishment. New moms struggle with a lot of self-doubts, lack of body confidence and guilt mainly because we are unsure about everything.

It takes a while to figure out that there is no right or wrong way of dealing with parenting issues. Breastfeeding in public has always been a touchy topic, and being shamed for nursing your child in public is not a rare incidence.  Apparently, a woman feeding in public is more offensive than a man eve-teasing in bright daylight. 

Taking my own example, it has been three months since I delivered and I haven’t gathered the courage to go out with my son because I know that if he is hungry, I have no place to nurse him unless I am back home. For me to start getting back to my normal life, run errands, and start working again, I need to have the freedom to nurse my child whenever and wherever. Breastfeeding is a natural act, but there is so much stigma attached to it that the mother is automatically put on a guilt trip. “How can you flash it in public?” This is a massive issue which will take decades to change, but all we need is some empathy and a secure space to nurse and not feel judged.

As a mom blogger, I tried to make a list of areas reserved for nursing your child in public places, and the results were as expected – disappointing! Few malls have a table reserved to change and nurse in the restrooms; we are expected to feed our child in a public toilet, the most unhygienic place there is. A lot of mothers prefer feeding in dark car parks to avoid public attention. Most of the airports also follow a very similar pattern, barring only a few where there is a large area blocked for mothers to bond with their young toddlers while feeding them.

The problem is that we are living in a culture that has sexualised breasts so much that it is hard to look beyond it and accept the fact that they serve a bigger purpose in our lives.  I am a millennial parent belonging to the privileged, well-educated section of our society. Yet I do not have the confidence to fight the stares and the unwanted attention that may come my way if I decided to feed in public.

I am more comfortable staying home and waiting to lead a normal life until my child grows older, but is this the right way to treat yourself? Shaming women who refuse to nurse their child behind a dirty wall or a toilet is very judgemental, especially because everyone has been a part of this natural cycle at some point in their lives.

You can check my blog 30ish and my Facebook page.

Similar Posts

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below