Lactating Mothers And Public Decency


As the year 2013 kicks off with excitement on the many faces I have seen, I am optimistic it’s going to be a good one. There is the rush of renewed hope, powerful zest and reinforced courage to take the bull by the horns and aspire to touch the clouds. However, success has many strings attached and one is the societal factor. There has to be a radical change in the way this aspect is handled by the individual if he would breakthrough in the New Year in such a way as he hasn’t in the past year. It’s no news that societal values are fast depreciating and even the voices that spoke out in antagonistic tones against these vices are waning whilst others have been hushed to the side-lines. Yes, we speak about the turn in the entertainment industry as being one of the greatest ills our young generation has had to combat, which fight it is definitely losing. Another is the fashion trend that is rapidly returning us to the edenic culture of nakedness. How about the corruption of the political class that is bedevilling our polity and pointing the youth to “become less human if you wanna make it”? But amazingly enough, I am not picking on any one of these crying issues as my focus (Of course, I am not a member of these hellish bandwagons and yet I am not losing it)  but on something less spoken about but equally an unaddressed societal anomaly.

You leave home this Monday morning in a rush to get to work, take a public transport. He has his day all laid out in his mind’s mind or better still in a handy tablet. By happenstance, you get to sit right next to a young, beautiful nursing mother with her baby strapped to her back. Nigerian roads as they are (afterall all, would just transform into motorable ones because we are in a new year without the decisive efforts of government?), a little bump badly managed by the driver and the baby’s peace is disturbed. He begins to cry foul as if to ask; “what part of the world could be for goodness sake?” Baby wouldn’t just let go until poor mother unstraps him, tries to placate him and fiercer becomes the cries. To immediate forestall further public disturbance, what next? She reaches for one of her mammaries and without a thought for the young man seated right next to her, she brings “it” full load and inserts the tip into baby’s crying lips. Worse still, she doesn’t care about covering up a little but leaves bare flesh for the public view. You can imagine the rest of the scenario! In the middle of the thriller baby and mother action, the young man’s inner equilibrium has been unsettled. Now the baby is happy but a man is unnecessarily aroused. Isn’t this a common sight at our public parks, classrooms(higher institutions, especially), market places, homes, airport lounges, etc? Yes! Even our scantily dressed young ladies do not throw open the amount of flesh like we see nursing mothers do. It is a height of public indecency on its own and must be addressed if we are to enjoy a sane society.

As much as our babies must be breastfed, should we point our young unmarried men in the wrong (let’s assume the married men can handle that much exposure)? Oh! Maybe the impact of this single act is not immediately seen but here are possible implications. An indisciplined youngman’s mind begins to wander in fantasy. He imagines all sorts of romantic scenes; he takes the next available relationship opportunity to explore the world of sex because he possibly can’t contain the unconsummated feelings or worse still ends up raping the minor next door. He probably ends up being an unprepared father. Whose fault is it? Its not the devil, please! A young girl’s dream is dashed, more imbalance is caused to the society because a weakling saw what should have jealously protected from public view.  Dear Nursing mother, please keep your mammaries (or the breasts, in a more explicit term)  out of sight. When you breastfeed that beautiful baby in the public, not minding if it’s a man or woman close by, don’t throw it open. Protect your body from public glare and keep our society sane. You know you can stylishly put the baby to it and still cause no inconvenience to  the man next to you. His thought lines remain undisrupted and you are not an unknown accomplice to a rape that would be perpetrated the next day or week, or the lady whose dream might be destroyed from a pregnancy the next month or a baby that would be born in tem months by unprepared young parents. This is one source of societal ills never accounted for.

I appreciate nursing mothers who keep the dignity of their bodies while breastfeeding. Those who realise that being a lactating mum is not enough to go flaunting naked breasts all around. What ever happened to all the years of decency before the baby came? I give kudos to nursing mothers who respect the feelings of others around. They should keep keep being exemplary as our generation needs them to help keep the society less menaced. This, as negligible as it seems, is no joke even if the discontent is not voiced by the young man beholding. Even if it pleases him to see naked mammaries, it is still an evil pleasure and should not be encouraged.

This is an appeal to nursing mothers; Let’s put on some decorum while lactating in the public. You might even want to start practising ways to do this right from your bedroom. If you are not yet a nurse, remember to observe this when you finally bring that baby into our world. As for our shining examples of decent, decorum-conscious and body-dignity-preserving nursing mothers, let’s show other women and our young girls how it is done. I wish the society a new year of reduced social delirium. Happy New Year!

13 thoughts on “Lactating Mothers And Public Decency” by Joshua Oyeniyi (@evangprince2008)

  1. Well, this is a nice article, and though the topic is a bit controversial sometimes due the way lifesyles are changing, it’s good, and important

  2. Please leave the nursing mothers be, you can close your eyes instead, a yelling baby can befuddle your mind that covering will be your last option. Visit a typical Nigerian hospital and see the nurses lambast women for daring to cover up…

    1. @elly, you should realise that every one has a right to their opinions and that is a fundamental human right that should be respected. I have only just expressed what I felt is an anomaly. Thanks though for baring your mind on the subject matter.

  3. I like the literary ferment of the piece and the issue raised is contextually relevant. I’ve actually seen women who want to maintain so much public decorum that they become helpless when the kid’s need was overwhelming. I wouldn’t impose my opinion, but when my wife was breastfeeding, we had to rely on breast milk extractor to obtain needed breast milk for use, especially when she was bound to be in the public. But I won’t begrudge those who choose otherwise. I’ve my heard to turn away

    1. Meant to type “head” instead of “heard.”

    2. @Carlobasi, I appreciate the contribution. Your stance on the matter is plausible. The fact remains that we must speak for the right and see that the society lives upto expectation based on the generally acceptable mode of conduct.

  4. Well…a mother sacrificing her “dignity” to satisfy the need of her baby is a thing to be praised: mothers really are golden! For the young dude that gets aroused, he really is undisciplined and indecent: staring at another man’s wife in public! Shameless.

    He should look away and have respect for the woman’s body. A woman is not a sex object: you shouldn’t see a woman and all you think about is sex or erotic thoughts.

    And if he now goes on to rape a young girl or practice unsafe sex leading to societal problems, then he really has issues! If someone puts a bucket of acid in your way, will you bath with it?Let’s not hide behind indecency of the womenfolk to perpetuate our unholy and perverted thoughts and fantasies.

    There is only one person that is responsible for how we act, and that is ourselves!

    1. Thank you so much. I have nothing to add to this. I was so disturbed by reading this piece. Must everything be the fault of a woman? Do these young men have no self control? Are they animals? And this author suggests public breast feeding as reason for rape and paedophilia? Please check yourself.

  5. @carlobasi, the woman who was trying to tend to her baby, probably didn’t think of covering her breast because her baby was her priority. The guy who gets aroused by a breastfeeding woman is the one who has a problem.
    A lot of women have been discouraged to breasfeed by a lot of different factors. Beastmilk is very important for the baby because it contains antibodies that make the babies resistant to diseases and infections. We should always encourage women to breastfeed and not be worried about how they are doing it.

    1. Sorry I meant to address this to @evangprince2008.

  6. @evangprince2008. I’m sure you’ve got the rebuttal to your piece. Tell your young men that it is rude to look. They should mind their business and watch where they are going, or read a book or something else, instead of staring. How women breastfeed is women’s business, not men’s.

  7. Huhuhuhuhu make I laugh in portugese small. I know it isn’t right to bare, but t isn’t also right to stare.

    Well done, author. I get you though, and at times I feel unhappy with women that bare their breasts in public. But I think you should understand too, not minding your sex drive. They have a reason, at least. What do you now say about the ones that aren’t breast feeding yet, it’s out there for public viewing.

    Chill man, o

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