Despite people pushing to normalise breastfeeding in public, it continues to be a stigma, not just in India, but also in many countries around the world. But actor Neha Dhupia, who is quite vocal about her experiences and struggles raising her daughter Mehr, has been advocating to destigmatise breastfeeding for a while now, mainly through her parenting initiative called ‘Freedom To Feed’.
She recently shared a strong post on her Instagram, and also on the Freedom To Feed page, calling out people who look at “breastfeeding mothers in a sexual manner”.
“The journey of a new mum is something only she can understand. While we all hear the happy side, it is also a huge responsibility and emotionally draining. It’s hard enough to be a mum and do all that there is to do,” the caption read.
It accompanied a black-and-white photograph of Dhupia holding her daughter as she breastfeeds, and a screenshot of an exchange between digital creator Anandita Agrawal, and a person, who asked for one of her breastfeeding videos.
“The last thing we need is to be questioned, mocked and worst of all trolled. I went through the same beats and I know how hard it is. Thank you @crazylilmum for sharing this and calling this individual out,” the caption continued.
It stated that “a mother has her choice of how and where she chooses to feed or breastfeed her child”.
“However, time and time again we see people looking at breastfeeding mothers in a sexual manner. @freedomtofeed We work each day towards normalising the act of breastfeeding in our communities and are extremely sensitive towards new mothers and parents and as we think everyone should be.”
“This insensitive comment is an example of why it makes it awkward for moms in our country. They must be called out…” the post read.
Dhupia, who had welcomed Mehr in 2018, with her husband actor Angad Bedi, had previously spoken about the difficulties faced in finding “secure spots” to feed her.
She was quoted as telling Mid-Day in 2019: “Once when we were on an outdoor shoot, I had to go behind a tree to feed Mehr… The facility of nursing rooms should be made mandatory in public spaces. Often, mums quit breastfeeding soon after giving birth, because they have to go to work. I would feed Mehr on set and fortunately, everyone around was so understanding.”