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Pro-breast feeding demo rocks city

Wangui Githugo @Wango_G

The management of a Nairobi restaurant caught in a furious breast feeding storm yesterday ate humble pie and apologised for kicking a mother out for suckling her baby in the facility.

Last week’s incident stirred anger which culminated in a pro-breast feeding protest in the city streets. The protesters, who presented a petition to the National Assembly and police chanted slogans in support of breast feeding saying; “we have breasts, not stones”, and that mothers should have the right to breast feed their babies when, where, and how…at all times.    

And speaking after demonstrations that were led by Nairobi County Nutrition Coordinator Esther Kwamboka, Olive Restaurant manager Moses Wambua said investigations are underway to identify the staff who mishandled the client, who would then be fired.

“This restaurant’s huge customer base is women and this is something that we do not take lightly. I wish the aggrieved woman would come and show us the employee responsible so that we can get to the bottom of it and deal appropriately with the person in question,” he said.

Nursing room

The eatery has since established a room where mothers will be allowed to nurse their babies as they feed, he added.

In line with this, the female protesters under Women of Kenya on behalf of their children, called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to sign into law the bill seeking to compel employers to provide breast feeding stations that include fridges and breast pumps for expressing milk.

The women called for action to be taken against those who infringe on the rights of children to breast feed.

Kwamboka said the unfortunate incident should initiate talks about the Breastfeeding Mothers Bill which was tabled last year by Murang’a County Women’s Representative Sabina Chege.

“The Bill lapsed with the 11th Parliament, hence, it will have to be republished for debate. Women in this country have to fight for things they deserve and it is unfortunate. Breast feeding is not something that can be sexualised and should be allowed at any public setting,” she said.

The protest had started at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner after which the women headed to Parliament to deliver a petition demanding the Bill be enacted into law.

The violated woman, identified as Betty Kim on social media, first posted her complaints on a Facebook group claiming the waiters humiliated her when she was breast feeding since she had not covered herself and asked her to either leave or nurse in the toilet.

The post aroused wide condemnation, especially mothers condemning the act.

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