New Delhi: As a part of the World Breastfeed Week special, team Banega Swasth India speaks with actor and founder of the Freedom to Feed initiative – Neha Dhupia. From talking about why we need to have more conversations around breastfeeding, how breastfeeding is beneficial for both mother and her baby to sharing her own personal experiences, the actor touched upon various topics. She said,
“Breastfeeding is such a large conversation that needs to happen, therefore vocalising it is very important.”
Talking about her initiative Freedom To Feed, which she started in 2019 during World Breastfeeding Week that focussed on providing the freedom to new mothers to feed their babies without any judgments or stares, she said,
When I started breastfeeding initially, I faced a lot of problems. I couldn’t understand why it is not normal to breastfeed your child, I couldn’t understand, why I need to hide inside toilets and why aren’t there enough facilities for breastfeeding mothers.
Stressing on the need to normalise breastfeeding as a practice, she added, “The only way to do this is by having more conversations around it. We need to normalise breastfeeding by not sexualising it.”
Actor Neha Dhupia, who is about to become a mom once again further said that one also needs to understand that if the mother chooses not to or cannot or doesn’t want to breastfeed their baby that doesn’t make them a bad mom. She added,
Breastfeeding should be done without any judgments. We need to give mothers their space, we need to understand everything a mother does for her child is normal & amazing in its own way.
Speaking about World Breastfeeding Week that is being marked from August 1 to August 7 and the theme – “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”, the actor said,
Breastfeeding is a shared responsibility, it should not be taken for granted and thought like it’s only a mother’s job. It is not something to be done in isolation and without any support.
Highlighting the importance of breast milk for newborn babies and breastfeeding donations/milk banks coming out in support in unprecedented times of COVID-19, the actor said, “Breastfeeding is like liquid gold, the kind of nutrition breast milk gives to the newborn babies is something you cannot replace with anything. It is very unfortunate that children have lost their mothers, there are a lot of babies that need breast milk, especially the ones in the newborn intensive care unit.
I would like to urge mothers who can or would like to donate breastmilk should come forward and just do it, this will benefit a lot of babies. At a time like this, every drop of breast milk matters.”
Signing off and sharing her World Breastfeeding Week message with everyone, the actor said,
Breastfeed as much as you can, it is great for the environment, your baby, and the mother itself. And if you can’t breastfeed, even that is alright.
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.