I was not surprised when the survey conducted by the ministry of health revealed that majority of mothers in urban centers lead the list of women who do not want to breastfeed their babies.
While the survey claims that most urban mothers do not breastfeed because they are women of the working class whose schedules are always busy, I on the other hand totally disagree.
The only reason according to my observation that restrains urban mothers from breastfeeding is the issue of sagging breasts. This is one subject that the ministry of health has ignored to explore yet it is the main issue that has prevented women from breastfeeding. While many tolerate them, no woman on earth wants to have sagging breasts.
By now it should be common knowledge that beauty means everything to many women especially if it concerns pleasing men. So, if breastfeeding can cause a woman’s breast to sag, why would anyone expect her to breastfeed if it means looking unattractive to her man and losing him later?
Therefore, to say that they are always busy at work is just an excuse to defend their selfishness. What they really fear is to look unattractive because I have seen so many busy women create time to breastfeed their babies.
One example is my former lecturer at UMI whose name I won’t mention. She would always disappear in every evening class she conducted for at least 10 minutes leaving us questions to discuss in her absence. At first I thought that was her way of teaching only to realize that that was the time she breastfed her child in the evening.
I discovered this on the day I went out for a short call only to find her breastfeeding her child in her car. Yes, it was a big surprise as well as a beautiful moment because it helped me see a beautiful side of being a mother.
Can we still say that working women are too busy to breastfeed their babies? The answer is no. a woman who cares for her welfare of her baby will always find time to breastfeed it. It doesn’t matter whether in the morning before leaving for work, afternoon or evening after work.
So for those who had an idea of increasing maternity leave from 60 to 90 days, I suggest they let go of the idea. Even if those days are increased, it can change nothing especially if those women don’t have a genuine reason for not breastfeeding.
So, my advice to the ministry of health is that while they continue to sensitize mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding, they should also find a way to smooth that their fear of sagging breasts.
Secondly, given that many women refuse to breastfeed in order to stay attractive to their men, I suggest that the ministry also sensitive the men on the importance of supporting their women and appreciating their efforts of breastfeeding. Otherwise if that fear remains in many women, this problem of urban women not breastfeeding will still continue.