Visitors to Garuda Mall in Bengaluru were witness to a rather unusual sight, as a group of women, all carrying babies, broke into a flash mob around 5pm on Sunday. The group was celebrating the third anniversary of Breastfeeding Support for Indian Moms (BSIM), a breastfeeding and baby-wearing Facebook support group with over 17,000 members.
The group, started by Adhunika Prakash from Pune in 2013, has since spread globally, operating mostly as an online forum for mothers of infants. “The idea is to support women in the crucial post-pregnancy phase. We also support extending breast-feeding beyond six months according to World Health Organisation recommendations,” said Medha Dixit, the organiser of the event. The WHO recommends exclusive breast feeding for the first six months and continued breast feeding for two years.
The flash mob also aimed to create awareness about baby-wearing or the practice of carrying a baby in a sling or a carrier in the correct manner. “Science says baby-wearing has an impact on breastfeeding. When a baby is in skin-to-skin contact with the mother, milk production is more,” added Medha.
Among the majority of mothers with one infant, Charu was conspicuous for the effortless ease with which she danced while carrying two babies. Charu, it emerged, is the administrator for a spin-off closed group called Breastfeeding Support for Moms of Multiples India, created specifically to answer queries by mothers with multiple babies. “We also promote tandem wearing (wearing two children at once). We have our hands full managing the babies but by carrying the babies along with us, we can do things that we otherwise could not do. Keeping the baby close to us also increases the bond between the baby and the parent,” said Charu.
While any mother can join the Facebook group, the support network also has an offline presence in the city, meeting on the second Saturday of every month.