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Breast in the Open…

Bororo woman breastfeeding

Bororo woman breastfeeding

She said, “…slapping a doctor or pharmacist. Which could be more easing when your lover is on the sickbed?” Since eleven years, Daddy had hated the statement, “everything will be fine.” Something never become fine. He’d argue. Melinda Gates breastfed two children herself. My wife did three. She almost went back to slap a pharmacist after he had given her wrong prescriptions to deworm our kids. Thank God we went to school. UNESCO reports that each extra year of a mother’s schooling reduces the probability of infant mortality by 10%. A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past age five.

Beautiful are women particularly from their hearts. Nice to be around. Always. Always. Less but also necessary is their protruded dichotomies, difficult to let go. Naturally part designed to bore sweet fruits of offspring which they suckle. Over the years, they’ve learned to upscale this with several adornments. Clothes served the dual roles of important covering garments and an adorable apparel for a calling outing. Sadly, most female clothing isn’t designed to support breastfeeding. Yes. There are accessories like the nursing bra -with a zip to pull at the nipple base, and caping materials to ease nutrients flow for our children but this scarcity enjoins these markets. A nursing woman wearing a necked top, gown or styled blouse would require a shawl or full-blown iro and buba to conveniently suckle her child.

Walking around Lagos, I’ve been with women that cared less but only to shove their nipples in their infant’s mouth. They almost always saw past a stranger, stepped up, an acquaintance talked and watched as they breastfed their baby. Bororo, the Niger women, paints hope for Africa, as I’ve seen them flipped their breast to the side while their babies keyed to it in an ancient emotional exchange. With their fully stacked, step grown curly hair to help support the traditional bowl, they’re carrying. They would smile with deep confidence as they go about with their businesses. Sell me henna.

A modern high school or college graduate would be flaccid to be involved. Why? Class. Sometimes, socioeconomic statuses or personality push these. But not in all cases, some multimillion naira women would take it up, shove it in, and with respect, they’ll feed their child. In their minds, they’ll say, “look all you want.” Smiling, “my child is getting the necessary nutrients to function in normalcy.” How dare you look?

Breastfeeding takes time, commitment and emotional energy, especially for working mums. It’s so difficult except for those in the teaching and nursing profession where time ethically freezes. But in the 9–5 cubicle life, hell is set loose on earth. Giant organizations in developed countries are making ways around this by providing flexible schedules for mums. Exclusive breastfeeding takes a minim of six months but maternity leave is just three months. Can we please make maternity leave a year in Nigeria? Maybe 9 months.

I have a beard, not a breast. At least, not for suckling. I want my kids exclusively breastfed but I don’t have much to give. Washing and drying the bottles and breast pump parts at night is fine. Distraction and chats while you slowly fill the bottles are fine too. I can help with those.

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