President's daughter's photograph sparks breastfeeding debate

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A picture shared by the daughter of the Kyrgyzstan President has triggered a debate about breastfeeding.

Aliya Shagieva, 20, responded to critics after she faced a backlash for sharing an image of her breastfeeding in her underwear.

The intimate photograph of her and her one-month-old son Tagir was posted on Instagram in April with the caption: “I will feed my child whenever and wherever he needs to be fed.”

But after she was attacked on social media and accused of “sexualisation”, she took the image down.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Shagieva argued that the body she had been given is not vulgar but functional.

But her parents, President Almazbek Atambayev and his wife Raisa, disapproved.

“They really didn’t like it. And it is understandable because the younger generation is less conservative than their parents,” she said.

Kyrgtzstan is a mainly Muslim ex-Soviet republic and is socially conservative but breastfeeding in public is acceptable.

Ms Shagieva gave birth to her son six months after she wed Russian husband Konstantin. 

She added: “When I’m breastfeeding my child I feel like I’m giving him the best I can give. Taking care of my baby and attending to his needs is more important to me than what people say about me.”

Ms Shagieva’s post attracted widespread attention with some users commenting that there was no need to post such an intimate photo, while others praised her for breaking taboos surrounding women’s bodies.  Read more

It is illegal to ask a woman in the UK to stop breastfeeding in a public place, such as a park, café or on public transport. 


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