Provide a room for breastfeeding women to express breast milk at their work place

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Should a baby be breastfed in a toilet? 

NO!

Similarly, should a mother express breast milk (extract milk from lactating breasts) in a toilet? 

NO!

This is a situation that many mothers in India are dealing with today because rooms are not being provided to mothers to express their breast milk for their babies under 1 year of age!

Sneha Sindhia's baby was 9 months old when she resumed employment after her maternity break. She began working at a Public Sector Unit Bank.

She was determined to breastfeed her baby for at least 2 years as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and yet- there was no room in the bank where she could express breast milk.There was no sick room or any room without a CCTV. 

On her first day, it had been more than 4 hours and she was unable to find a place to express her milk. Her breasts had become heavy and had started leaking. She rushed to a mall close to the office and started looking for a breastfeeding room. She was redirected to a toilet. 

In this helpless state, she started asking shop owners in the mall if she could use their changing room. One shop owner agreed to help her. She sat on the floor and pumped milk because there was no chair to sit. 

She had to pump milk again in a few hours, but she did not have the courage to request the shop owners again. 

"That evening, I cried as to what would I do everyday and how would I pump."

Thereafter she started going to different trial rooms everyday in the same mall to pump her milk because she felt awkward about asking the same shop owner everyday. 

One day, on a weekend, when she went to the mall, nearly all the trial rooms were full. Her breasts were full and she was dealing with painful engorgement. She had no option but to go to the toilet to express her milk. 

"I went to the toilet and I just hand expressed for relief. I didn't pump that day and then suffered the whole day from the anxiety that what would my baby drink tomorrow."

Should any breastfeeding mother be put in a situation where she loses her dignity and her peace of mind because she wants to breastfeed her baby?  

Breastfeeding is not just good for the health of the baby, but it also good for the health of the mother. It brings down healthcare costs of the nation.

Women are prematurely ending their breastfeeding journey because of inadequate facilities in offices.

As the number of women increase in the work force of India, we need to have more laws to enable and support these women who resume employment and wish to continue their breastfeeding journey. 

The only way for a woman to continue breastfeeding is if there is a room provided when she can express milk for her baby. The room should:

1. Not have any CCTVs

2. Have a comfortable chair for the mother

3. Have the possibility to lock the door from inside

4. Should not be a toilet

No woman should have to choose between employment and providing her child with the optimum start in nutrition.  

Sign this petition if you feel that women should not have to express breast milk in toilets. Maternity Bill of India should mandate a room where women can express breast milk.