'Parents should be educated about breastfeeding': Jincy Varghese

She filed a petition for hospitals to ask for consent before feeding formula to baby


Jincy Varghese,

engineer, Mumbai

Jincy Varghese was four months pregnant in 2016 when she saw a WhatsApp message that a bill had been passed in Rajya Sabha approving six months of maternity leave. When she asked someone from her company's HR department whether this was true, they said that it would have to be passed by the Lok Sabha before it could become law. So, she started a petition to make this happen. It went viral, getting dozens of signatures. She wrote to Maneka Gandhi and got a reply from her. In March 2017, the bill was passed. Now, she is asking the government to make it mandatory for hospitals to ask for consent before they feed formula milk to newborns.

The change I want to see

My baby, who was in NICU, was fed formula without my consent. I realised this happens to a lot of mothers in India, so I started a petition in collaboration with BSIM (Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers). But now I am doing it in collaboration with BPNI (Breastfeeding Promotion Network Of India). It is not as straight-forward as the maternity bill, because sometimes it is vital for the baby's life to be fed formula. Another ask of the petition is to educate parents about breastfeeding. We don't realise that it can be difficult for a lot of people. So, awareness is important.

-Sumitra Nair