My Opinion | Oct 10,2020
October 2 , 2021
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at email@example.com. )
Halfway into my walk the other day, I saw a lady with a long dress struggling to nurse her baby. She did not want to lift her skirt up, but her baby was crying louder every second. She had to do something, like distract the baby by giving him a pacifier. This did not work – neither did rocking him to sleep. Her last resort was to feed the baby. Unfortunately, her dress did not have any buttons or cuts at the front; she had to tear the front of her dress. People looked at her like she was crazy.
One might argue she should have worn something comfortable that would have allowed her to nurse. But sometimes, we throw on whatever we can find and go. As a mom, I know the feeling. I do not feel comfortable nursing my baby in public places unless I have no other choice. Usually, I take a bottle with me. But some babies prefer drinking directly from the mother.
Some mothers do it modestly by covering up when nursing in public, while others do not bother as much. The lady I encountered on my walk was probably one of the former. As she sat down feeding her baby, she had a scarf over her shoulders to cover herself and the baby’s face. This did not stop passersby from staring at her, although mothers' nursing is not a strange phenomenon in Ethiopia.
A few meters from her were two young women in their early 20s. The women were talking about how inappropriate it was to nurse one’s baby in public and they would never do it. They said they would rush back home or get a cab and do it there even if they had to. Obviously, neither are mothers: it is hard to see one’s child cry out of hunger. Babies are also not like adults. They cannot tolerate being hungry. When they are, they want to be fed immediately. Otherwise, they become irritable.
As I was listening to their conversation, my mind wandered to an article I read a week ago. This woman decided to breastfeed her newborn baby in a restaurant in Washington, United States, but the owner kicked her out and was even called an animal just because she was nursing. This action has made many mothers angry. One would think that in a country where it is common to see people walking around with only a swimming suit on, the mere act of a mother feeding her baby would go unnoticed. But one would be surprised by how people treat mothers who nurse in public; they regard them with disgust as if they are doing something out of this world.
Meanwhile, celebrities are going around saying ‘free the nipples,' in a social movement to allow women to be topless without their breasts being censored.
A woman wearing something that exposes her body and walking into a restaurant fazes no one. But a mother feeds her newborn and, suddenly, it is a crime.
I do not understand how society operates sometimes. We shame women for breastfeeding in public but encourage them to expose their body parts in revealing outfits. It is different in Ethiopia. We might not encourage showing too much skin and might not get goosebumps when seeing a woman breastfeed, probably because we grow up watching our mothers do it publicly, but we still stare. That makes nursing mothers very uncomfortable.
Breastfeeding is a natural act designed to fulfil a child’s basic needs and there should be nothing embarrassing about it. Mothers should be allowed to do it whenever and wherever without being bothered or violated by passersby. Women already get many comments on how to behave from society; let us not add nursing in public to the long list.
PUBLISHED ON Oct 02,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1118]
My Opinion | Oct 10,2020
Fortune News | Oct 23,2018
Radar | Oct 23,2018
Verbatim | Jan 16,2021
Fortune News | Oct 02,2021
Radar | Feb 02,2019
Fortune News | Sep 26,2021
Life Matters | Jun 22,2019
Fortune News | Apr 30,2021
View From Arada | May 08,2021
Fortune News | 41495 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 35341 Views | Sep 01,2021
Photo Gallery | 27570 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 25901 Views | Mar 17,2019
Commentaries | Oct 09,2021
Life Matters | Oct 09,2021
My Opinion | Oct 09,2021
Sunday with Eden | Oct 09,2021
Agenda | Oct 09,2021
Editorial | Oct 09,2021
August 28 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
The streets of Addis Abeba are as varied as they are many, although too many of them have yet to be named. From the narrow alleyways of the...
August 7 , 2021
There are a few without an opinion on Ethiopia’s federal structure, which is arranged along lingo-cultu...
July 24 , 2021
There was an alarming increase in the price of Teffin August 2017. It suddenly skyrocketed from 2,000 Br...
June 26 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI and SAMUEL BOGALE
This past Monday was the second time Belay Zerihun, a second-time voter, has had to stand in a long queue...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country’s most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or tw...
October 9 , 2021
Public offices have been having a field day in the past few years. From the Prime Min...
October 2 , 2021
Ethiopia`s Parliament will pick up a Prime Minister on Monday, October 4, 2021. The i...
September 26 , 2021
There are two editions of The Economist on Africa influenced by the narrative on the...
September 18 , 2021
It could be customary to wish well for the holiday seasons. If only the New Year cele...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
Ethiopia is experiencing a nationwide social crisis unlike any other the young genera...
We have all heard it said, “looks can be deceiving,” which is often used to refer to something that seems good on the outside but does n...
October 9 , 2021
From Arat Kilo to Mesqel Square, October 4, 2021, was a busy day. At the former, Parliament opened its first business of the next five years...
October 9 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
The state monopoly over the logistics sector will end soon, with federal authorities allowing up to five...
Federal authorities gear up to amend compensation and premium rates for third-party motor insurance polic...
October 9 , 2021 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
The state-owned Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE) is one step closer to acqu...
Or see contact page