Last Saturday, I attended the annual Waldorf Eco Fair.
The Eco Fair is an annual event that showcases initiatives revolving around the environment, recycled products and stuff around sustainable energy resources. It’s generally my curiosity that drives me to such events because I like seeing what’s new and innovative.
So as I was strolling around the place, pitched with lots of tents and interesting entrepreneurs, I came across this sign that immediately caught my eye.
So I followed the arrow as I had never heard or seen anything of the sort. When I got to the destination, I was impressed. Some very thoughtful person had taken into consideration the needs of breastfeeding moms who come with their tots to such events.
The aura of it all was cool, I loved the African theme and the bright colors, and the poofs. It was quite a relaxed atmosphere –perfect for breastfeeding.
Now, we always read about events that target the whole family, where parents are also encouraged to bring their kids along. But many nursing moms often engage in personal debates on whether to attend these events when they think of all the hustles that come along with carrying a breastfeeding baby. However, if you’re one of those moms who have no qualms whatsoever whipping out your boob in public to nurse, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.
I know that atleast in the African setting, we can nurse anywhere, -we do it in restaurants, in public transport, we can even be chatting visitors and then voila –the boob is unleashed (without warning). I see market women all the time nursing their babies even as they pick out and wrap fruits and vegetables for you . Some moms even do it as they work in the farms gardening, or walking home while beating stories.
But if you’re one of those who struggle with public feeding because you don’t find it ‘private enough’ and feel unsettled, apprehensive and uncomfortable, then you know what I’m talking about. The kind that would rather walk back to the car and breastfeed baby there, or cast their eyes around the place and identify an isolated spot, or retreat to a corner of the room and nurse baby. Or if all else fails, just struggle with unbuttoning your blouse and latching baby on (hoping no one is noticing) and cover baby with a shawl. Truth be told, things would be so much easier if there could be a secluded place set aside for this.
Interesting that some places even object to breastfeeding in public. I remember there is a mom I recently read about who said she had an unpleasant experience at an outdoor restaurant in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi. When she attempted to nurse her baby, the waiter politely told her that this was not allowed. Naturally she was irked and when she raised the issue with the supervisor, she was informed that doing so ‘distracts clients’. Okay!!!
Back to the Waldorf Eco Fair, that’s why I was quite pleased to see a breastfeeding-friendly zone.
When I enquired on who was responsible for this, I was informed that it was the initiative of the outfit ‘Infant Massage’ who were exhibiting at the event. Infant Massage is run by Amimo Agola, a lactation expert. Makes sense. Even though I didn’t take Kitty with me to the fair, I was happy that someone had thought of moms like me who are still nursing their tots.
My hope is that this trend can be replicated everywhere and in ‘family oriented’ public events where nursing moms are likely to attend with their babies. I’m sure it will be appreciated by breastfeeding moms, and it’s not something that should just be offered by those in the mother/baby sector like Amimo Agola, but generally all those who organize events where breastfeeding moms would wish to attend, more so those who are uncomfortable with doing so in public.
I think it would also be a good idea because besides nursing their babies in this room, they can even get to chat and inform each other on different issues because they are swimming in the same pool and so they have similar concerns and experiences.
You all know how we women love talking and learning from each other.