Lack of breastfeeding rooms in Banke government offices inconveniences manyThe nursing mothers at the office have been demanding that a suitable room be allocated for breastfeeding.
A room near the women’s toilet in Nepalgunj Sub-metropolis’ office has been designated for breastfeeding. However, nobody uses the room, as it is bare, with no children-friendly infrastructure, and the air is permeated by the foul smell of the restroom next door.
Shivaratri Chaudhary, an employee at the office and a mother of a five-month-old infant, said she has to breastfeed her baby multiple times a day, but she has yet to use the breastfeeding room.
“The stink from the restroom is unbearable; I go up to the rooftop to feed my baby,” she said. “Breastfeeding on the rooftop is difficult in the rainy season.”
The designated room for breastfeeding has never been used by nursing mothers, whether they be office employees or service seekers.
Currently, three female employees of the sub-metropolis are new mothers. All three complained about not having a proper room to nurse their babies. Pabitra Puri, an employee with a six-month-old baby, said she brings her mother-in-law to the office to take care of her child.
“I have to go up to the terrace to breastfeed my baby. I can’t keep my child with me in the office because we don’t have a children-friendly infrastructure,” said Puri.
The nursing mothers at the office have been demanding that a suitable room be allocated for breastfeeding.
Manju Pandey, chief at the women and child development unit of Nepalgunj Sub-metropolis, said, “The sub-metropolis has allocated Rs 100,000 in the current fiscal year to set up a breastfeeding room in the office. But we haven’t been able to do so because the office does not have a spare room.”
The municipality has repeatedly assured female employees at the office of setting up a fully equipped breastfeeding room, but nothing has been done about it, said Pandey.
According to Hari Prasad Pyakurel, the chief administrative officer of Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City, his team is looking for space on the office premises to set up a breastfeeding centre.
Most government offices in all eight local units of Banke district do not have breastfeeding rooms, leaving female employees and service seekers in hardships.
“We don’t have a breastfeeding room in the office. I go behind the office building to feed my baby,” said Sabita Chaudhary, an employee of Kohalpur Municipality.