A group of women yesterday held a demonstration to protest against the humiliation suffered by a breastfeeding mother at a city hotel.
Betty Kim, 26, said in an online post she was disgraced at Olive Restaurant last week for breasfeeding her baby. She said a waitress told her to cover herself or nurse the baby in the toilet.
The demo was organised by women’s organisation Her-Voice and Kenya Association for Breastfeeding. Women, among others.
The mothers marched from Freedom Corner to Parliament and eventually to Olive Restaurant.
Manager Moses Wambua yesterday rejected Betty’s account. He said the hotel management was unaware of the complaint until it saw the post.
“No woman was told to go to the toilet. It’s a lie. There is somebody behind it. We will confront it head on. We love our women. We gain nothing by chasing them away, after all we need their money,” Wambua said.
He said the victim should make a formal complaint. The hotel has CCTV, but the manager said cockroaches have eaten the wires, making it difficult to find evidence.
The incident was shared on a Facebook group and the post went viral. It has sparked a debate on women breastfeeding in public places.
Gilgil MP Martha Wangari, who received a petition from the women outside Parliament Buildings, said she will present it to the House.
Wangari said she would put pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to sign the Breastfeeding Mothers Bill 2017 drafted by Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege.
Chege said,”Can you cover your food when eating? Do you want us to suffocate babies? When women expose cleavages it is never an issue, but breastfeeding becomes disgusting? Shame on that restaurant.”
Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura backed the protest. He proposed women be given six-month maternity rest.
The women demanded that the President signs the breastfeeding Bill. It requires employers with more than 30 women employees to set up a breastfeeding station.
Nursing mothers should spend time with their babies for at least 30 minutes every four hours, the Bill states.
“We won’t breastfeed our babies in washrooms. We’ll breastfeed when we want and how we want,” they said. Some women carried their babies and nursed them during