Coming from Africa I am surprised that breastfeeding in public is an issue

(photo: Aurimas Mikalauskas via Flickr)

I was saddened by the video I watched on Facebook (if that is really happening), showing women standing up to fight for rights to be able to breastfeed their kids wherever and whenever it is convenient for them. I was surprised why that can even be an issue. So let me get this straight.

The person does not flinch when watching porn or looking at half dressed people, but that same person finds it disgusting to watch mother breastfeeding her baby?

I can not even bring myself to understanding it, it does not make any sense at all. I come from Africa and breastfeeding in public is not among the rights women have to fight for. This is not because we are less developed, it is the best thing to do. When someone is hungry, grabs something to eat and can eat while standing, walking or sitting somewhere near others.

(photo: Aurimas Mikalauskas via Flickr)
(photo: Aurimas Mikalauskas via Flickr)


I did not know it was a big deal to breastfeed in public, until I watched that clip and read comments. I also  realised that from the time I moved to Europe, I have not seen any lady breastfeeding anywhere. Some comments after the video clip suggested that breastfeeding is done at home, others in rest rooms and some said that the mother has to ask those near her if they are ok with her breastfeeding, before she feeds the baby.

To my surprise, most of the negative responses came from ladies. I did not know what to say because how many people have been comfortable eating in the restroom? If someone does not say hello to a person sitting next to, is he/she going to ask for permission to eat near them? How many times have we received memos when the celebrities embrace us with their almost nude pics and they appear everywhere. No one seems disgusted but people want to look like them and live like them.

One lady wrote a comment saying that she travels with her kids and it is not ok for a child to look at a woman breastfeeding. I do not want to question someone’s parenting skills. But a child knowing that a baby is breastfed when hungry, is it really the worst thing that the child can be exposed to? I would be more comfortable to explain that to my child, than why someone has to wear something and leave the ass out.

Everyone out there does not own a car. If a mother is to travel all day with the baby in public transport, is she supposed to carry around a bottle of packed milk in the morning? Does she have to breastfeed from some restroom, what is she supposed to do?

We really have different ways of how we see things. Back home a mother can not leave a child to starve, the people around her can not even allow her to do that without suggesting breastfeeding.

When a baby is crying or is unstable in any way, people always say “muyonseko”, which means “try breastfeeding”. This can happen anywhere, on a bus, in a church, at waiting areas at the doctors office … And no one is bothered by it at all, because it is the right thing to do.

If this means we are still behind, then I am happy to be part of the undeveloped continent, which puts a life first.


catherine nakato
Catherine Nakato

Author: Catherine Nakato. She comes from Uganda. Writes a blog xPlorCity, She recently started to co-present on Radio Študent on programme sunrise Africa. Loves fashion and is passionate about Meetups for business, culture and women empowerment.

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