To aid working women in Maharashtra, who often have trouble finding a private space for breastfeeding their infants, State Women and Child Welfare minister Pankaja Munde announced that the government had decided to dedicate a room and a cradle at government offices.
"It is very important for a child's health to get mother's milk. Thus it is necessary for all government and private offices to have a separate room and cradles for breastfeeding working women," Munde announced on Thursday.
Maharashtra's initiative follows one by Tamil Nadu, a few months ago.
According to a study by the breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and the Public Health Resource Network (PHRN), more than 14.5 million babies, which works out to slightly more than half of newborns in India, are deprived of optimal feeding practices after their first year.
As regard practices on infant and child feeding (IYCF), India scored a dismal 78 out of 150, way below poorer countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Munde said that she had instructed officials from her department, the General Administration department and the Public Works department (PWD) to implement breastfeeding rooms at the earliest.
The previous government too had conceived such plans, which went nowhere.
(With inputs from PTI)
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