About an hour at a time

Oh look, a new way to torment women, and starve their babies while you’re at it.

Men drinking their partners’ breast milk is not uncommon in some areas of Uganda, and in parts of Tanzania and Kenya. It is now being linked to gender violence and coercive behaviour and there are concerns over the impact on babies’ nutrition. Little was known about the practice until Uganda’s minister of state for health, Sarah Opendi, broke the silence in parliament in 2018 and warned against “a growing culture of men demanding to suckle, which was becoming a problem for some breastfeeding mothers and their babies”.

Or, you know, all breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

The preliminary research suggested that men often drink before the child is fed, usually once a day, sometimes more frequently, and for about an hour at a time.

An hour…but no doubt there are still gallons and gallons left for the baby, and the mother has nothing better to do than let the man use her as a beverage dispenser.

Women did not seem to have much choice in the matter. “It appears to be a hugely coerced behaviour from the people we spoke to,” added Merritt.

When asked what might happen if she said no, one woman replied: “I fear that my husband might go elsewhere if I wouldn’t let it happen.”

How about he buys a cow or a goat?

Health professionals, including midwives and nutritionists, told researchers about cases where babies had to be given formula milk because partners wanted the breast milk, and where women came to clinic with infected or bitten nipples caused by a man suckling. There are also risks to babies of cross-infection from the man’s saliva.

Oh well, it’s only women.

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