Kenyan women protest public breastfeeding discrimination

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Dozens of Women demonstrated in Kenya’s Capital on Tuesday protested against what they say is discrimination against mothers who breastfeed in public.

The demonstration was prompted by a Facebook post on May 4, that saw user Betty Kim accused an up market Nairobi restaurant of discrimination after she was asked by a waiter to cover up as she was breastfeeding her baby.

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Women’s groups and mothers with babies participated in the march on Tuesday, with some carrying placards reading “Respect nursing mothers’’ and “Breastfeeding mothers have a right.’’

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Activist Mildred Awiso said restaurant case was not an isolated incident, and called for “punitive measures to ensure that there is action taken against those infringing the breastfeeding right.’’

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In 2017, the Kenyan parliament passed a health bill containing a clause stipulating that employers establish a lactation room for breastfeeding mothers and stating that women be allowed breastfeeding breaks every four hours.

In rural parts of Africa it is not uncommon to see women openly breastfeeding, but in westernised urban areas it has become somewhat taboo.

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With infant mortality still a problem across the continent, the WHO proposes breastfeeding for the first six months in order to achieve optimal growth and development.

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