Kenyan Women marched out in their numbers on Tuesday in the Capital city Nairobi to protest against what they called discrimination on mothers who breastfeed in public.
The demonstration was prompted by a Facebook post on May 4, by a nursing mother Betty Kim who expressed her grievance on how she was asked by a waiter at Olive Restaurant Nairobi to cover up as she was breastfeeding her baby.
Women groups and mothers with babies participated in the march on Tuesday, with some carrying placards reading: “Respect nursing mothers’’ and “Breastfeeding mothers have a right.’’
Kim narrated her ordeal: “I was waiting for my order of beef stew, cabbage and mukimu [a mixture of mashed potatoes, maize and green vegetables] when the arrogant woman waiter who had taken my order told me to either stop or cover up.”
“I decided to continue breastfeeding my child when another waitress, who brought my food, calmly told me that what I was doing was giving a very bad impression,” she said.
“I then politely asked her where else I could comfortably nurse my child and she pointed at a toilet.
“At that moment I felt humiliated and stopped breastfeeding.”
The Kenyan parliament had in 2017, passed a health bill containing a clause stipulating that employers establish a lactation room for breastfeeding mothers and stating that women be allowed breastfeeding breaks every four hours.
Open breastfeeding is comon in rural parts of Africa, but it is however looked at as inappropriate in cities and urban areas.
The WHO recommends mothers including working mothers breastfeed their babies for the first six months in order to achieve optimal growth and development.