Friday, 25 February 2011

Breast-feeding in the US and in Ghana

Those interested in Michelle Obama, US politics, or breastfeeding in general (I'm guessing that'll be Mum-folk) will know that Michelle Obama is calling for barriers to women nursing at work to be removed. Heck, she even took Sasha to a job interview, so that if she needed to be breastfed, she would be right there with her!

This - I love!

Skipping from the US to Ghana...but sticking with the issue of breastfeeding..there appeared to be some real benefits for Mums who take their children to work with them - on their backs I mean. I've no idea what happens with women who don't carry their kids this way. 

I've not included a picture of a baby, or a breast, or even a breast-feeding woman here because I'm sure we can use our imaginations... : )
Anyway, a working Mum that I met, was sitting by the roadside selling roasted plantain. We were at a busy bank across the road and I spotted the plantain and thought 'I need some of that!'. She prepared two pieces for me, and get this - she was breastfeeding at the same time! When we went to hand me my change, her breast slipped from the baby's mouth and before giving me the change, she placed her breast straight back in her baby's mouth and continued - as though it was perfectly normal. I asked our hosts about this. I wondered if she was just a bold woman or if in fact in Ghana it was perfectly normal to do that if you work with your child. I was told

'If the child needs to eat, what should come before that?'

Now I don't know if this was the opinion of our host or if its more widespread than that BUT I know one thing - I liked that idea.

'If the child needs to eat, what should come before that?'. It has such a sweet ring to it, I wish I could bottle it and just give it out as a freebie!
It also got me thinking of how I used to cover up with a muslin cloth, or wear a special blouse, so that I could discretely breastfeed. I'm sure that even though I didn't make a song and dance about it - pretty much anyone within 2 metres of me would have known that I was breast-feeding. And, even with the cover-ups, I still wouldn't have felt comfortable to sit at the side of the road, opposite a major bank, with constant flows of traffic and just flip out my breast like that - much less with a complete stranger standing in my face.

At home, depending on who was visiting that day (and you just can't underestimate the flow of visitors when you have a baby!), I sometimes 'excused myself' to another room - all to avoid having to get my mahoosive jugglies out in front of people who I didn't think needed to be seeing my jugglies! I was worried about embarassing them! I myself wasn't that embarassed about the issue. 

I'm not entirely sure why I was so affected by this random incident, and it's not as though I've never seen anyone breastfeed in a public place before, it's just that she was doing it as though it was THE most natural thing in the world. And you know what - it probably was one of THE most natural things in the world - and it was simply beautiful.

Mrs O


  1. Breastfeeding in Ghana is a no-brainer. A mother will whip out her boob for her child in no time, its really not a big deal.

  2. Very glad to hear it Dora. I think women worldwide should feel the same freedom!


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