By Sizile Makola

I was instructed to do so at the nurses’ station behind a curtain as a complaint was lodged by a patient.

After my consultation with the doctor, I then decided to raise the matter with her and the manner in which the staff dealt with me.

The doctor’s response was even more shocking

She told me that as a mom and doctor she supports breastfeeding BUT I must understand that Medicross caters for all cultures. She continued to say there are some cultures that considered being naked the norm but in the western culture it’s not acceptable, hence the need to breastfeed behind the curtain in order to not offend others.

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I then asked her, if by saying that, does it not promote or support one culture over the other? Her response was that they accommodate breastfeeding moms by creating privacy for them.

Our conversations led to the doctor telling me that “my thinking is very progressive”. But, why is it that Netcare, being a progressive organisation as mentioned on their website  (“Netcare Group provides innovative, quality healthcare in South Africa and the United Kingdom. We are committed to providing our patients with the quality care, underpinned by living our values and investing in our people, state of the art facilities and the latest technology”), does not support public breastfeeding?

We are surrounded by posters everywhere in medical centres that urge mothers to breastfeed, yet when it is done publicly then there is an issue

I believe that as moms we have different comfort levels when it comes to breastfeeding. Some will want to do so in a private, others prefer to cover up while others, like myself, don’t have a problem with breastfeeding publicly.

Daily, the media exposes us, the audience, to women wearing underwear only, naked bodies, revealing dresses (e.g. JLo and Beyoncé at the 2015 Met Gala) and yet people will complain about a mom feeding her child with the same breast they see in the media. Frankly, if you have the off chance of catching the view of a nipple, you simply have been staring a tad too long.

We should start calling breastfeeding baby feeding

Anne Reneau of Scary Mommy, suggests that we should start calling breastfeeding, baby feeding because you are feeding a baby because that is exactly what it is, feeding a baby and not feeding a breast.

Some people have come up with the argument that if babyfeeding (I did say I support the name change, remember) is considered to be a natural thing, so is defecating and having sex in public as they are “natural”. But for crying out loud, these cannot be compared to babyfeeding.

To those who are bothered by babyfeeding moms, feel free NOT to look or better still, go to the nurses’ station and sit behind the curtain until my baby’s done.

Let’s normalise breastfeeding anywhere and anytime #BreastfeedAnywhereAnytime with a picture of you breastfeeding anywhere and anytime.

By: Proud babyfeeding mom, Sizile Makola (@sizilemakola)