City MCAs want all hotels to have breastfeeding zones
Businesses in Nairobi County risk losing their licences if they do not set up breastfeeding zones if a motion by MCAs is adopted by the executive.
On Tuesday, the MCAs passed a motion compelling the executive to make sure businesses such as hotels have designated breastfeeding areas, which will be licensed by the county.
They also said the motion was in reaction to recent incidents where mothers have been prevented from nursing their children in the establishments due to lack of a designated area.
In her motion, nominated MCA Doris Kanario argued that breastfeeding mothers often feel uneasy feeding their babies in public due to the possibility of objections by other people, negative comments, discomfort and harassment.
She called for the challenges to be immediately addressed, saying breastfeeding offers a bonding opportunity between a mother and her baby.
“This is a right every mother is entitled to. However, the lack of designated nursing areas has become a hindrance to many mothers who want to breastfeed their children while going about their daily activities,” said Ms Kanario.
Her remarks were supported by MCA Leah Naikane who called on the county government to follow the example of cities in developed countries which have implemented the same.
“Everyone in this House was breastfed at a young age so they know that this motion is very crucial and I would like to urge members to adopt it,” said the nominated MCA.
Ms Anne Thumbi, also a nominated MCA, said Nairobi should set an example to other counties by implementing the proposal.
“Nairobi, as the capital city, should prove it is sensitive to the needs of mothers. It is high time the executive becomes sensitive to the needs of mothers and puts in place laws to address this issue,” she said.
Three years ago in 2015, MPs approved a clause in the Health Bill that made it mandatory for employers to provide breastfeeding stations for mothers at their workplaces.
The aim of the clause was to ensure mothers brought up healthy babies by allowing them enough time to breastfeed.
Under the Bill, employers were to establish lactation stations within office premises, which were to be adequately provided with necessary equipment and facilities, including electric outlets for breast pumps and refrigerators.