Dia Mirza: Public breastfeeding in India triggers shame and judgment

Dia Mirza talked about the difficulties new mothers like her face while breastfeeding publicly in India. She said that it triggers shame and judgment and also expressed her concern about rural India.

Dia Mirza recently opened up about the challenges new mothers face while breastfeeding their children in public. The actress said that there is a lack of ‘safe spaces’ and also in India public breastfeeding triggers shame and judgment.

New mom Dia Mirza and her husband Vaibhav Rekhi welcomed their first child in May. They named the prematurely born baby boy Avyaan. On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week celebrated between August 1 and 7, the actress spoke to Mid-day about the issue. She said, “I have become more acutely aware of the lack of safe spaces for new mothers, especially if they are socially and economically marginalized. Why have we never [highlighted] how hard it is for underserved mothers to feed their babies on construction sites, farms, and roadside stalls without any privacy?”

Talking about the condition of new mothers in India, she said, “In Belgium, breastfeeding in public is protected by law, but in India, we need to bring about a systematic shift in societal attitude. Feeding a child should be considered a natural act, but it triggers so much shame and judgment when done in public.”

The actress also expressed her concern about rural India. “World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months as infants who are not breastfed are six to 10 times more likely to die in the [early months]. Rural mothers may not have this critical piece of information. It should worry us that India continues to have one of the highest rates of malnutrition and infant mortality,” she added.

Dia Mirza had revealed the birth of her child on July 14 by posting a picture of the baby’s hand. She wrote, “A sudden appendectomy during my pregnancy and a subsequent and very severe bacterial infection could have led to sepsis and proven to be life-threatening. Thankfully, the timely care and intervention by our doctor ensured the safe birth of our baby via an emergency C-section.”

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