Only Bad Mothers Don't Breast-Feed Their Babies?


World Breastfeeding Week can leave bottle-feeding mothers feeling guilty and resentful of society's judgemental pressure.


Picture this. A newborn child is brought to the mother for its first feed. Mother and child both glow with health and happiness as they bond over this age-old ritual, which has well-documented benefits.

But in the case of Simran Jha, 28, the experience wasn't quite like this rosy picture. "It was embarrassing as I tried to breast-feed but couldn't produce milk for over an hour," says the accounts executive. The fact that all her relatives were around, trying to figure out what was going wrong, only added to her woes.

Jha eventually opted for bottle-feeding a month after her baby was born but resents the labels that come with the decision. "Women who don't breast-feed their kids are accused of being selfish and lazy," she says. "To people who make such harsh allegations, I say: it is my breast, my milk, and my child."

The benefits of breast-feeding have been well established -- it is nutritious, economical, and boosts the immunity of infants, besides reducing the chances of breast cancer in women. But as a massive campaign to promote World Breast Feeding Week kicks off, it has left a number of bottle-feeding mothers feeling alienated and defensive.

Rina Bhatnagar*, 25, a homemaker, hates it when she watches TV and comes across an advertisement that encourages breast-feeding: "It is all fake; the mum looks happy, her skin is glowing and healthy -- very unlike what actually happened in my life."

Bhatnagar didn't have an easy delivery. After a caesarean section, her wound didn't heal for a couple of months. "While breast-feeding, you are asked to sit up straight and feed your kid. That was very painful for me. I have on many occasions given my kid a milk bottle as I didn't have the energy to sit up or feed him."

Dr Anjali Malpani, author of How To Have A Baby, says, "There are young urban mothers who are preferring bottle milk for a variety of reasons. But it is rare that society understands their position. These mothers are faced with societal pressure and feel guilty for not breast-feeding their children."

Doctors say that high stress levels and demanding jobs among young mothers along with fewer public facilities for breast-feeding are aggravating the problem. "The city lacks a breast-feeding culture and it is rare to find nursing rooms at public places where mothers can breast-feed their kids," says gynaecologist Rashmi Nair. "In restaurants, mothers are asked to use the most uncomfortable place to breast-feed their kids -- the toilet. So when out on parties or at work, if the mother happens to forget to pump her milk, she will usually ask the nanny to give bottle milk to the kid and, over a period of time, bottle milk replaces breast milk."

While most mothers insist that what they feed their children is a personal choice, the spiral of negative emotions can cause reluctance to seek support on bottle-feeding their infants. For Kurien, lack of information on bottle milk was a disadvantage. "I once placed the bottle with the milk inside the microwave to heat it. Later when I removed the bottle the plastic had melted. It is taboo to speak about bottle milk when you have a young child at home. If you try to speak to doctors and relatives about how to proceed with bottle milk, you get a lecture on breast-feeding instead. There is little information and literature available on what can be given to kids who aren't breast-fed."

For Jha, World Breastfeeding Week is not a happy prospect. It is likely to be filled with phone calls from relatives to tell her how wrong she is in not breast-feeding her child. "Neither my parents nor my in-laws live with me," she says. "So during the week, they will take the opportunity to remind me of my responsibilities."

Breast-feeding advocates are adamant, however, that there should be more promotion for breast-feeding as the rates are falling.

Shah Rukh Khan and Ash Jodi are back Together




Time heals all wounds, especially in the entertainment business' and none would vouch for this truism of life more than super icons Shah Rukh

Remember, they parted on a sour note after her hasty departure from his home production Chalte Chalte six years ago?

She had already canned a portion of the film when Salman Khan reportedly landed on the sets... and, well, the rest as they say is history.

Post that scene, SRK let Ash off the hook and took Rani Mukerji as his leading lady. And, since then, many big banners including Yashraj and Dharma failed to reunite the pair that created such magic in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas.

Subsequently, though the Bollywood Badshah wasn’t invited to the Ash-Abhishek wedding, King Khan and wife Gauri posed with the Bachchans for the shutterbugs at the Drona premiere last year. And more recently, at Karan Johar’s birthday party on May 25, the two couples — SRK and Gauri, Ash and Abhi — spent quality time together.

In the light of this thawing of relations, comes the news of cinematographer-director Rajiv Menon (whose Kandukonden Kandukonden in Tamil had Tabu and Ash) reuniting the SRK-Ash jodi. Menon is said to have flown to London to narrate a dramatic script (with Ash in mind) to Shah Rukh, which the actor liked.

At this point of his career, SRK is looking to do films that explore his dramatic intensity as in Devdas. He has no problems working with Ash and she with him. At Karan’s birthday, the Bachchans and Khans got along famously. Rajiv Menon’s film is being seen as a natural progression towards mending the bridges between two of the most powerful families of Bollywood.

8 steps to go about a Sexy Eye Make-up



Sexy eye makeup will only really be sexy if you know what you are doing. That means that before you can learn how to apply sexy eye makeup, you need to figure out what your best colors are. To do this, you can either experiment or ask an expert. Keep in mind that the colors you choose may also depend on what you are wearing.

Prep your eyes with concealer: Concealer can be used to cover dark circles or the bluish discolouration just under your inner eye. Apply three dots of concealer under each eye. Start at the inner corner where skin tends to be darkest, then under the pupil and the third on the outer edge. Pat until it disappears.

Apply eye base to your lid: Eye base is the secret to keeping your shadow in place for hours. Your eye shadow is likely to end up as a greasy line if you don’t prime your lid properly first.

Apply shadow: It’s great to use a three-toned shadow and build from lids to brow. Start with a light colour that almost matches your lid. Sweep the colour across the lid and up to your brow bone. Follow with a medium colour across your lid only. Build on this with a darker colour in the crease. Blend the colours well.

Follow with eyeliner: Dark eye shadows work great as eyeliners. Wet a slanted brush, and then dip in a dark eye shadow. Line eyes as close to the upper lashes as possible from the inner corner to the outer corner. Follow with liner on bottom eyes, but only line from the middle of the eye out. Smudge the bottom line with a cotton bud. You don't want a prominent line. For a smoky eye, use a brush to pat in a dark eye shadow along the upper lid and below the lid.

Brighten your eyes with a highlighter : This step involves only the inside part of the eye. With a gold or pink highlighter, draw a v-shaped shape that follows the inner corner of your eye from top to bottom. Blend with your fingers. This will help make eyes ‘pop.’

Highlight your brow: Take the same highlighter and dab it on your brow bone, concentrating on your mid-brow outward. Blend with your finger.

Curl lashes: An eyelash curler will make even long lashes look gorgeous. For added effect, you can heat the curler under a blow dryer for a couple seconds. Test curler before applying to lashes because you could burn yourself.

Apply mascara: Place the wand of your mascara brush at the bottom of lashes and wiggle back and forth. Follow with a few sweeps of the wand. Apply to bottom lashes as well.

"The Female Genitalia", If God made it, Why should Man remove it?




'They said they were going to give us ostrich eggs,' Esther Mbarga, aged 49, recalls. "'They're huge,' they said. 'Come and we'll give them to you.'" Aged ten or eleven, she and her friends had never seen an ostrich egg. They were really excited. They were taken deep into the bush and waited expectantly. Then, one at a time, they were led off to have their genitalia mutilated. Esther was pinned to the ground by four women and cut by a fifth. She limped away bleeding and crying. It was hard to walk and urination was incredibly painful for days afterwards. For some reason, the women weren't happy with the excision. On further checking they decided that there was more to cut. They cut more the following day and yet more a week later.

Esther lives in Burkina Faso where female genital mutilation is not legal but is still carried out covertly. Female genital mutilation comprises 'all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons'. Not only may the clitoris be partially or wholly removed, but also one or both of the labia. Sometimes the vaginal orifice is narrowed by cutting and repositioning the labia. The World Health Organisation estimates that 91.5 million girls over the age of 9 in Africa have been mutilated in one of these ways. According to the most recent U.N. statistics, 72.5% of women in Burkina Faso aged between 15 and 49 have undergone genital mutilation. In the majority of cases this procedure is arranged and carried out by the older women in a community.

As well as violating a woman's human rights and causing short term pain and trauma, a mutilated woman may suffer chronic pain and urinary infections for the rest of her life. Her sexual enjoyment is inevitably diminished, she may be unable to give birth normally and her child is more likely to die during or immediately after birth.

Some say that the practice began when men, going to war, wanted to ensure the fidelity of their wives. The reason given today is that it prevents women from being promiscuous. That was why Esther and her friends were cut: 'our parents believed that if a girl was not cut she would love boys a lot and be unfaithful to her husband.'

Certainly, sex is far less enjoyable for a woman who has been mutilated. It may even be very painful. Oumoul Koulsoum Bouda, aged 24, remembers, 'My cousin was married for two years. They couldn't make love. Each time it hurt her and she cried.' It seems paradoxical, when this practice is carried out for the sake of the husband, that men often cite the fact that a wife either doesn't want to have sex or isn't good at it as a reason for divorce.

In 2008 the World Health Organisation produced an interagency statement reaffirming a commitment to eliminate female genital mutilation within a generation. In Burkina Faso, the government has made a commitment to eradicate the practice through educational efforts. Joining the fight are numerous NGOs, such as RECIF, PromoFemmes and The Association of Women Jurists. However, governmental or institutional awareness that FGM is unacceptable is not enough – the men and women of Burkina Faso need to feel the same way. Attitudes to women must change.

As it stands now, the 'ideal' Burkinabe woman is submissive to her husband. 'Before you go to your husband's house, there's a little ceremony,' says Oumoul. 'The old women give you advice: don't disobey your husband… even if he does something you don't like, keep quiet about it.' After marriage, a woman's family may be unsupportive if she tries to stand up for herself. 'If a woman goes to her family with a legitimate grievance, they're likely to tell her to calm down and go home.'

A woman who does not conform to society's ideal is a source of shame to her family. Oumoul's grandmother wanted her granddaughter to be mutilated because she said it would be a source of shame to her if she wasn't. 'She said her friends would mock her.'

Isabelle Zongo works for Marie Stopes International in Burkina Faso. 'Shame plays a very powerful factor in promulgating social conventions,' she says. 'Even if a wife wants to leave her husband - be it for domestic violence, insistence on mutilating daughters or other reasons - there is really nothing she can do. She cannot leave and go to her family for support as she will bring shame on her family for acting outside social conventions. Because of the weight that shame carries, many women withstand domestic violence and are unable to seek any kind of help for fear of bringing shame on their family.'

The future isn't entirely bleak, however. Among educated men and women, at least, attitudes are changing. Mothers are beginning to refuse to have their daughters mutilated - Oumoul's mother was one of them. Oumoul herself believes that women must start to stand up for themselves and should never become dependent on a man. When asked which women she admires she replies, 'Ellen Johnson-Surleaf and Angela Merkel.'

As for Esther, she believes that the answer lies in Christianity. A woman, she says, should only be submissive to God and a husband should love his wife like Christ loved his church. She is adamant that she will not have her own daughter mutilated. 'Enough is enough,' she says. 'If it wasn't good, God wouldn't have made it. If God made it, why should man remove it?

Female Genital Mutilation: A Practical Guide to Worldwide Laws & Policies by Anika Rahman

Female Genital Mutilation: Legal, Cultural And Medical Issues by Rosemarie Skaine

Paris Hilton's Sermon to a Younger Sister





Paris Hilton wants to warn young girls from making "humiliating" sex tapes.

The blonde socialite was devastated when X-rated footage of her and ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon surfaced in 2003 and has vowed to stop other girls from agreeing to film themselves engaging in sex acts to please their lovers.

She said: "I want young girls to never put themselves in that situation I was in. Don't ever let someone talk you into doing something you don't want to do."

She added: "I was humiliated, embarrassed and in shock that it happened. It wasn't my fault, it was something that someone did to me, so I've just learned to be a strong woman and nothing can hurt me at this point.

"It was definitely very painful. When you trust someone and love someone - for them to do that to you, it's really hard. It's something that bothers me everyday."

The 28-year-old hotel heiress - who receives a percentage of profits from the footage, which was eventually released as a DVD entitled One Night In Paris - discussed the incident in a documentary about her rise to fame.

Paris wants to use the MTV program Paris, Not France to clear up misconceptions about her party-girl lifestyle.

She explained: "I think there are a lot of people that have misconceptions about me. They assume I'm just a party girl and they don't realise there's a business behind it. I've created this over the past 10 years.

"I think when people haven't met me they might think that I'm spoiled, that I'm a brat, that I haven't worked for what I have. I've worked very hard for what I've achieved. None of this was given to me. I've done it all by myself."

Miranda Otto, Frances O'Connor, Deborra-lee Furness, Victoria Haralabidou, Tasma Walton and Sophie Lowe in 'Blessed', opens September 10.

The chance to explore the complexities of the mother-child relationship in new movie Blessed was too much to pass up for mothers Miranda Otto, Deborra-lee Furness and Frances O'Connor.

The Australian actresses join forces in director Ana Kokkinos's film, adapted from the play Who's Afraid of the Working Class?

Furness plays Tanya, a married mother of a teenage boy and the family's sole breadwinner. Otto is Bianca, who is more like a sister than a mother to teenage Katrina. O'Connor is Rhonda, a welfare-dependent woman whose three children have different fathers.

They are joined by Russian-born actress Victoria Haralabidou, who plays Gina, a widowed and very religious mother who feels her son and daughter are a mystery.

Speaking before the world premiere of Blessed at the Melbourne International Film Festival yesterday, the four women said they were drawn to the project because of the powerful bond between mother and child.

"It's about mothers and children and I think that's something we probably all relate to," O'Connor said. "It's the first relationship you have and it's a very intimate relationship and it's something that influences you for the rest of your life in all your other relationships. So it's very powerful because of that."

Otto, Furness and O'Connor all have four-year-old children.

"It's a huge responsibility," Furness, wife of Hollywood star Hugh Jackman, said. "Because, if there's something dysfunctional that's going on, you are going to hand it on to that child and that child's going to hand it on.

"You look at the characters in this film, like Frances's character - you can see obviously her mother would have handed on not a very positive message."

Haralabidou is pregnant with her first child, and said she found it fascinating watching the finished film and taking notes. She found out she was pregnant at the time.