I watched a video clip on Facebook which showed a grown man getting angry over a grown woman breastfeeding her child while travelling via train. He started shouting at the mother telling her to do it somewhere else and that he found it very disgusting, not in those exact words but he looked very angry from the video.

The other day my sister came to visit me and while we were catching up and enjoying each other’s company, she took out her breast and started breastfeeding my little nephew. For me it wasn’t something new as I have watched women in my family give birth and breastfeed their children. But it made me remember how that grown man on the train was treating that woman breastfeeding her child. Although my sister was doing it inside the house, I was still standing in front of her when she did it. Yes, it was uncomfortable in the sense of should I stare at my nephew sucking the breast or should I look at the wall behind her, mind you I don’t have a problem with either, but how should one react in such a situation?

I took my uncomfortable and confused thoughts straight to Google and also asked a few people just how they felt whenever they watched a woman breastfeeding her baby in public. One of the guys I work with said that he would prefer if the woman covered herself and the baby while breastfeeding because it’s an area that should not be exposed. He said that she wouldn’t want a man randomly touching her breast every time she took it out so then she should cover it as it’s a place that tends to sexually arouse most men.

Also, women in the office said that they do not mind if the women breastfeed in public as long as they cover up. We all know that you must feed the child because you can’t exactly tell the baby to wait until you get off the train or until you get home, but at least cover yourself while doing the deed.

I must say I agree with what’s been said.

But as I carried on my research I stumbled upon a debate site which was discussing the same topic. There are a lot of people who simply do not agree with women breastfeeding in public. Some even suggested that women with babies should pump the milk before leaving the house then use the bottle instead of breastfeeding in public. I know some of you mothers out there would probably have a problem with this, as my mother who is very old school told my sister once when she found her pumping the milk to preserve for later.

“It is wrong. How can you feed the baby with old milk? Unless you can’t breastfeed by some medical reason, then you should never pump milk and keep in the fridge, it’s unhealthy.”

Well I guess many people might argue with that, but what can the poor mothers do if they can’t breastfeed in public?

As a FunDza reader, do you think that it is acceptable for women to breastfeed in public? Why? Why not?

Written by Phoebe Sibomana


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