Lok Sabha elections 2024 | Empowering motherhood: Shiv Sena’s Yamini Jadhav's vision for a national policy on baby feeding centres

18 May,2024 01:11 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Ronak Mastakar

Yamini Jadhav`s journey into politics is a testament to her resilience and commitment to serving the people

Yamini Jadhav. Pic/X

In the bustling political landscape of Mumbai, where every election season brings forth new narratives and fervent debates, one name has been making waves is Yamini Jadhav, the formidable candidate representing the Shiv Sena in the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency for the Lok Sabha elections 2024. With a blend of youthful energy, grassroots connect, and a vision for inclusive development, Jadhav has emerged as a prominent figure in Maharashtra's political arena.

Yamini Jadhav was born and raised in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, where every corner tells a story of resilience and ambition. Growing up amidst the kaleidoscope of cultures that define the city, she imbibed the values of inclusivity and solidarity from an early age. Her journey into politics was paved with the stones of education and social awareness.

Yamini Jadhav's journey into politics is a testament to her resilience and commitment to serving the people.

Jadhav's foray into politics wasn't driven by personal ambition but by a sincere desire to amplify the voices of the marginalised and underprivileged. She has steadfastly championed gender-based issues. Additionally, Jadhav has tirelessly worked to address a spectrum of challenges, from women's empowerment to the overall development of South Mumbai.

As a breast cancer survivor, Yamini Jadhav is keenly attuned to the struggles women endure. Among these challenges is the plight of mothers with newborns who lack a suitable space to feed them. Inspired by this concern, she initiated a specialised feeding centre in Byculla Zoo and now aims to replicate such centres nationwide through the implementation of a national policy.

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Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2024, Jadhav shared her vision for a national policy on baby feeding centres in India.

When asked what inspired her to propose such a policy, she explained, "In a nation as diverse and populous as India, the experiences of motherhood differ greatly. From bustling urban centres to remote rural villages, mothers encounter numerous obstacles when it comes to breastfeeding their babies. Limited access to clean and private spaces, the social stigma surrounding breastfeeding in public, and the pressures of returning to work shortly after childbirth all contribute to the intricate web of challenges faced by new mothers."

"As a woman, a mother, and an elected representative, my journey toward advocating for a comprehensive national policy for Baby Feeding Centres (BFCs) in India began with a single poignant moment a scene that struck a chord deep within my heart," she added.

She shared that a visit to a local temple inspired her to formulate such a policy. "It was a scorching afternoon when I went to visit the Mumbadevi temple. Amidst the hustle and bustle of devotees, I noticed a group of lactating mothers sitting on the temple steps, desperately trying to feed their infants amidst the chaos. The sight was both heartbreaking and eye-opening. It was a stark reminder of the challenges faced by working mothers, especially those without adequate support systems," Jadhav said.

"Being a woman myself, I could empathise with the struggles of these mothers. As I interacted with them, listening to their stories of juggling work, household responsibilities, and childcare, I realised the urgent need for accessible and supportive infrastructure to empower mothers to breastfeed their babies without compromising their livelihoods," she added.

Jadhav said that as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra, she understood that it was her responsibility to take action. "Inspired by the mothers I met that day, I embarked on a mission to establish a baby feeding centre in my constituency. After months of planning and coordination with local authorities and healthcare professionals, I proudly inaugurated the first baby feeding centre in the Byculla Zoo (Rani Baug). The centre provides a safe and nurturing environment for lactating mothers to breastfeed or express milk for their babies. Equipped with comfortable seating arrangements, privacy screens, and hygiene facilities, it aimed to remove the barriers that often hinder mothers from breastfeeding in public spaces," she added.

Her vision for this policy extends beyond the borders of Maharashtra. "I firmly believe that every mother deserves the right to breastfeed her child without fear or inconvenience, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic status. A national policy for BFCs would not only level the playing field for all mothers but also foster a culture of support and empowerment for breastfeeding women nationwide. Apart from providing essential support to working mothers, it will also promote the health and well-being of infants by ensuring access to breast milk, especially in the crucial early months of life. Such a policy would entail a multi-faceted approach, encompassing the identification and establishment of baby feeding centres in key locations across the country, along with targeted initiatives to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding and dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding it," she said.

Shedding light on the implementation of the National Policy for Baby Feeding Centres in India, Jadhav said, "From an implementation standpoint, it would require collaboration and coordination among government agencies, healthcare providers, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and local communities. I applaud the work of NGOs like The Child Help Foundation (CHF), which has demonstrated significant progress in establishing BFCs in states like Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal. Additionally, it would involve initiatives to raise awareness and sensitise the public about the importance of breastfeeding. Providing education and training to support mothers in their breastfeeding journey is crucial."

While discussing systemic change, Jadhav said, "My personal experience serves as a testament to the transformative power of grassroots initiatives in driving systemic change. By taking action at the local level, we can pave the way for broader policy reforms that prioritise the needs of mothers and children nationwide."

Jadhav expressed her commitment to furthering this policy in the Lok Sabha. "However, my endeavours do not conclude here. As I embark on my journey as the Lok Sabha candidate for Shiv Sena, I pledge that regardless of the election outcome, I will persist in advocating for a national policy to address this issue. As I continue my advocacy journey, I remain dedicated to championing the cause of breastfeeding mothers and working towards a future where every mother has a safe haven and every child has the best possible start in life. Together, we can build a more inclusive and supportive society where motherhood is celebrated and supported, one baby feeding centre at a time," she added.

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Shiv Sena mumbai mumbai news Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Maharashtra Lok Sabha elections 2024
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