- Breastmilk is like liquid gold: Neha Dhupia
- Breastfeeding week is celebrated every year during August 1-7
- Breastfeeding is very important for a baby's growth: WHO
New Delhi: Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia has been a strong advocate of breastfeeding and the choice of a mother to feed her baby anytime, anywhere. In 2019, she even started a campaign ‘freedom to feed’ focused at providing the freedom to new mothers to feed their babies without any judgements or stares. During the ongoing World breastfeeding week that is observed every year from August 1 to August 7, she has urged people to encourage and empower breastfeeding women. In a video message shared by her with NDTV, Ms. Dhupia asserted that it is important to talk about breastfeeding not only during the breastfeeding week but all round the year.
In her message, the Femina Miss India 2002 said that she started ‘Freedom To Feed’ after she faced challenges in feeding her daughter in public which made her realize the lack of a support system for breastfeeding mothers in the country. The campaign aims to call for a change to make it easy for mothers to breastfeed their children by building hygienic places for mums to feed their babies in public and changing the outlook of people towards breastfeeding. Ms. Dhupia said,
How and in what way a mother wishes to feed her child should be entirely her choice. Be it breastfeeding, bottle feeding or formula milk. She should not be subjected to any judgment. A mother knows what is best for her child and she will never do anything to jeopardise her baby’s health and safety. That’s why I started the initiative called ‘Freedom To Feed’. Breastfeeding is a large part of our conversation under this initiative.
She further said that through breastfeeding, the mother is providing food to her baby and compared the breastmilk with liquid gold. Ms. Dhupia, who has breastfed her daughter Mehr exclusively for the first six months of her birth said,
Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing. You are providing food for your child. Us mums, we call breastmilk as liquid gold. But, you know, the kind of spaces that are there in our country, and the fact that there is no talk about it too much and there is a stigma around the breastfeeding, and you are stared upon when you go out in public and you want to breastfeed your child, I feel that these things need to be fixed and that is why I am having this conversation. We are celebrating the breastfeeding week right now but we should be respectful of the mother who is spending all her time feeding and taking care of her child.
Earlier this week, Ms. Dhupia, who actively promotes breastfeeding, started discussion via live sessions on Instagram to mark the World Breastfeeding Week 2020. She said in the Twitter post,
World Breastfeeding Week starts on August 1st and has been created to raise awareness and galvanise action around breastfeeding and related themes. I will be hosting insta live talks all week long to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and invite you to join us at #freedomtofeed
World Breastfeeding Week starts August 1st and has been created to raise awareness and galvanise action around breastfeeding and related themes. I will be hosting insta live talks all week long to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and invite you to join us at #freedomtofeed pic.twitter.com/GUdNVGCkTP
— Neha Dhupia (@NehaDhupia) August 2, 2020
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), breastfeeding is one of the effective ways to ensure child health and survival as breastmilk is the best source of nourishment for infants and young children. It recommends that mothers must initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth and infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. However, nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months, as per WHO.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.