It's good news for breastfeeding mothers who take public transport regularly. The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is planning to launch women’s lounges which will have separate spaces for lactating mothers to feed their babies.
These special lounges will have waiting rooms, toilets and drinking water facilities. The BMTC has requested a budget of Rs 2.25 crore from the Centre under the Nirbhaya fund for this project.
“These lounges will have a separate room for breastfeeding mothers in order to provide them with some privacy. It will also benefit women staffers of the BMTC, especially conductors. There is a lot if space in the traffic and transit management centres where these lounges will be set up,” BMTC PRO V Nagaraj said.
Two years ago, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa had introduced breastfeeding rooms in bus stations in the state.
The move had gained popularity and was widely appreciated by travelling lactating women who had faced difficulty while breastfeeding their babies in public spaces.
“We had received several suggestions for a space for breastfeeding at bus stations. Many travelling women wait at bus terminals for long hours, but there are no facilities at most places for them to be able to feed their babies privately. Tamil Nadu has it. It is a good plan and appreciated by many. So, we have decided to set it up in Bengaluru,” a senior BMTC official said.
These are specifically required for women who travel frequently by metro and public transport giving them little or no access to breastfeeding their babies.
The senior official said that the move was also to help women conductors and staff working at the bus terminals.
“We don’t have breastfeeding rooms in train stations or bus stops. It is not just commuters but also the female staff who are being inconvenienced due to lack of privacy. These will work only if it is maintained in a hygienic manner, because it is of utmost importance for breastfeeding mothers and their babies,” the official added.