By Akanksha Gupta Last Updated:
Breastfeeding – a topic that is still considered taboo because of some shallow-minded people, who just cannot accept the fact that breasts aren't objects but a medium of nourishment for a newborn baby. Former Femina Miss India and MTV Roadies fame, Neha Dhupia is a strong advocate of breastfeeding and how it should be a mother's choice to feed her infant, whenever and wherever, without any judgement. In 2019, Neha started an initiative, 'Freedom to Feed', in which they advocate the importance of breastfeeding, break the stereotypes and aim to create awareness about the health benefits of the same for mothers and infants, encouraging it with her support.
Neha Dhupia had embraced parenthood in 2018 when while cherishing a lot of firsts in her life including becoming Mrs Angad Bedi, she had given birth to a little angel, Mehr Dhupia Bedi. To mark Mehr's second birthday in November 2020, Neha and Angad had posted heartfelt notes for their 'little Simba'. While Neha had posted throwback pictures from their Maldives vacation and captioned them as "Our little baby girl... may you always be curious, sing even if you don’t know the lyrics, dance like no one is watching, forever be eager to learn, chase butterflies, spread joy wherever you go, light up the room with your adorable smile and roar the loudest caus deep down you will always be our little simbaa! #happybirthday our doll @mehrdhupiabedi #2yearsold", Angad captioned his birthday post for Mehr as "Today at 11:25 am you were born to us... Happy birthday to our baby girl "Mehr" she turns 2 today. Our lives have been a blessing since you arrived. We are lucky to have you. Thank you for choosing us as your parents. @nehadhupia #satnamwaheguru forever grateful."
In her attempt to eradicate sexualisation from breastfeeding, Neha Dhupia shared a screenshot of the woman, who replied to the troll asking her to post her breastfeeding video. Sharing her own breastfeeding picture on social media, Neha wrote, "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 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. (krrishtherocker1987)."
Speaking of how such insensitive comments on breastfeeding are sexualising it while they're working each day towards normalising the act, Neha Dhupia continued, "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. ... let's normalise breast feeding, not sexualise it."
In a 2019 interview with The Indian Express, when Neha Dhupia was asked if her campaign is exclusive to breastfeeding, she had retorted, "No. That is why it is #freedomtofeed. Whether you are expressing milk to feed your child, giving him or her formula feed, or breastfeeding, you have the right to do so in a small, private space, anywhere. I am only giving a voice to the dilemma faced by thousands of mothers. Breastfeeding is the healthiest, of course, but one must never ever get judgmental as the situation is different for each mum. I want to give each one a hug and say "I am there for you, with you"."
Acknowledging the role of her husband, Angad Bedi in being a hands-on dad to their daughter, Mehr Dhupia Bedi, Neha Dhupia had remarked, "My husband is an incredible man (laughs). I don't think I would have been able to do half the things I do in my life, if it weren't for him. Angad is more hands-on than me. Apart from breastfeeding, there is no other parental chore that he doesn’t chip in with. From changing diapers, to burping, to feeding breakfast…he just 'gets it'. It is inexplicable. There is no 'taking turns' with Mehr, as a mom or dad, between me and Angad. It is a seamless transition. If I am at the gym when Mehr wakes up, he readies her and gets her food in, hands her over to me and I take over from there. Or vice versa. It is that simple."
What are your views on Neha's thought-provoking note? Let us know!