A Tanzanian MP has expressed alarm about men who, she claims, are competing with their children for the nutritious breast milk.
Jacqueline Msongozi, a Special Seats legislator, presented the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups’ plans for the year 2022/2023 on Monday.
She told the house that in Kenya’s southern neighbor, incidences of males drinking their wives’ breast milk were on the increasing, at the expense of newborns who were missing out on important nutrients from breast milk.
“This has been observed in several places. I request that the Ministry conduct research. “These older men are eating on their children’s property,” Ms. Msongozi remarked.
“In order to receive the necessary nutritional ingredients, they suck the milk of their breastfeeding wives instead of the baby sucking.”
The congressman pleaded with the government to launch public awareness programs to inform males about the hazards of their conduct to the wellbeing of their children.
“I request that the ministry implement strategies and provide comprehensive education so that these fathers do not breach their children’s rights,” she added.
It is not unusual for men in the country, as well as in other parts of Uganda, to feed on their partners’ breast milk.
In a similar fashion to Ms. Msongozi, Uganda’s minister of state for health, Sarah Opendi, broke the silence in parliament in 2018, warning against “a growing culture of men requesting to suckle,” which was creating a problem for some breastfeeding moms and their babies.
Most of these ‘breastfeeding’ men drank before the infant was fed, usually once a day or more, and for roughly an hour at a time, according to a 2020 study by Kyambogo University in Kampala and the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, in which boda boda operators were interviewed.
They described it as energizing to researchers. “It keeps me going, I come home for lunch, and it reduces stress in the middle of the day,” one remarked.
“Breastfeeding makes me feel like I’m being cared for like a child, and it’s addictive.” Another respondent remarked, “I feel like a prince.”
It was also revealed that the practice was usually coercive, with the women fearing that if they didn’t let them suckle, their husbands would abandon them or, worse, beat them.