Breastfeeding - The African way
Have African women become westernised when it comes to breastfeeding?
As a group of moms we had a heated debated about breastfeeding in public. Some felt that it was totally not acceptable to do so and moms should also respect those around them and not whip out their boobs in public view. Others felt that this was unfair, what is a mom supposed to do if the baby is hungry?

Imagine a hungry and crying baby and amid those screams you need to get a place to breastfeed rather than find the nearest chair and feed your baby. I personally do not see anything wrong with breastfeeding in public. It is really a mother providing for the well-being of her child. I grew up seeing mothers doing this and not once did I see it as being offensive.

Yes, you can have a cloth to cover your breast but I know that when you go to the most rural of areas you do not get to see that. If the boob disgusts you then look away but I do think that we can be a bit unfair to the mothers. Yes, we now have bras that are designed to make the process easy but really are we going to be that sensitive about a mother providing for her child.

As an African woman I seen absolutely nothing wrong with it and I am tempted to say that some of us have become Westernised when it comes to breastfeeding in public. Who are we to take that right away from the mother? I cannot comment from a man’s point of view but I know that from my days of taking a taxi, a woman with a baby would whip take out her breast and feed the child. I did not see men in the taxi being uncomfortable unless I missed it maybe some men can shed the light on how they feel. The Transkei born woman in me sees nothing wrong with this at all, whether a mother covers her breast or not. If I can still find men peeing in street corners then really let the women breastfeed in public at least they are not causing a health hazard unlike some smelly street corners we see. 

Not every mother can afford a breast pump and not all mothers can afford to buy formula as well, we know the financial state of our country. A mother surviving on a child grant will not afford these.

Some comments from the mothers went as follows:

“It’s selfish for a mother to flash in public what is supposed to be private; I think she has no self-respect”.

“She must stay at home and not go out in public or use a bottle to feed her child when in public places, there are options”.

“A mother has a right to breastfeed her children whenever she wants to”.

“We are being unfair to the mothers, let them enjoy being mothers and let’s not restrict on what they can or cannot do”.

I think we need to give mothers a break.

What are your feelings about breastfeeding in public?

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