…as a friend calls it, was on my mind on Sunday. A trip to the Accra Mall at 7p.m. brought up these thoughts. The mall was full of people (on a Sunday evening, what’s up with that?) so as I was walking my eyes wandered all over the place, somehow trying to determine why people were crowding at the mall. As I scoured the crowds, my eyes landed on a woman breastfeeding on a bench by the Game entrance.
Now I am all for breastfeeding in public. After all, it is a completely natural thing. Nobody should blame a woman for ‘whipping them out’ when her hungry child screams for food. And as for those who compare it to the sexual assault of a flasher, well that says more about their sick minds than the mothers nurturing their children.
And yet I couldn’t help but flinch at the sight of the woman on the bench facing the crowds exiting Game with her breasts hanging bare and a baby sucking on to the end of one nipple. What happened to the cute and practical breastfeeding tops? Or the budget option of a top over a tank top for easy access with a bit of concealment? Or just a little scarf or simply some discretion (even by a hand or arm), to conceal the baby’s head and give the whole feeding session some privacy?
It’s not the first time. Actually, most of the people I have seen breastfeeding in Ghana have done it in very unattractive ways, using their own hands to pull, tug and squeeze at their breasts, as if they were water sachets. And seeing that unappetising scene of the woman pulling her tank top down to her waist, exposing both drooping breasts, in that second, it felt more like an assault on my eyes, albeit not a sexual one, but an assault nonetheless and for a second, I forgot the ‘beautiful’ natural act she was performing.
Then again, I may not pay any thought to the attractiveness of it all, if it is my baby screaming for food.