Kamuli men compete for breast milk with babies, authorities say

Adequate breast feeding counseling and support are essential for mothers to mainitain optimal breastfeeding practises. PHOTO | FILE

Men in Kamuli District have started competing for breast milk with their babies, with reports of the bizarre habit reportedly being rampant in Nabwigulu, Kisozi, Namasagali and Bulopa sub-counties.

This was revealed during a cascade nutrition project training organised by Aids Education Group for Youth (AEGY), with support from CARE Uganda, in Kamuli municipality.

“While babies in their first critical days depend on their mothers for care and support, men have started competing with them for breast milk,” Ms Christine Owagage, the Namasagali female district councilor, said.

Ms Owagage, who said she was being backed by health workers and Village Health Team officials (VHTs), added that women have confided in authorities during health dialogues and antenatal visits that their husbands have become “a crazy burden”, while reportedly demanding to also be breastfed during the night alongside their babies.

A health worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Mothers approach us in confidence, lamenting that their husbands have started encroaching on the babies’ exclusive food and, too, taken on breast feeding.”

Senior Psychiatric nurse at Kamuli District General Hospital, Mr Julius Otai, however, said such men suffer from “social arousal”, a sexual-related disorder, he said is a “manifestation of deprived love”.

“It is a sexual disorder and often competing love deprivation occurring to baby boys and by the man sucking out the nutrients meant for the baby, such babies are likely to suffer deformities,” he further explained.

Noel Kansiime, a senior nutritionist with the Ministry of Health, says breast milk contains antibodies and is a complete food, the reason expectant mothers are always told during antenatal visits to exclusively breastfeed for six months.

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“There is nothing scientifically wrong with men breastfeeding, but he is not the primary beneficiary; actually, he is depriving the baby of nutrients, causing shortage and taking the wrong food for his age,” Mr Kansiime said.

According to Mr Kansiime, such men “disturb the peace and cause emotional disturbance that leads to reduction in milk production”.

Mr Kansiime further noted that breast milk is naturally designed for the baby’s digestive system, not man; and by men ingesting it, their babaies will end up malnourished with stunted growth.

AEGY nutrition officer, Ms Joweria Namugwere, said the health well-being of communities is at risk because they don’t feed well, productivity is reduced and Gender-based Violence (GBV) is on the rise.

Mr Owen Kyakulaga, who presents a late show on a local radio station, said he was overwhelmed with callers during his midnight programme, who openly confess that breastfeeding was an extension of love to the mother and makes them (men) “stronger and healthier”.

Mr Emanuel Babalanda, the Deputy Royal Prince (Isabalangira) of Bugabula chiefdom, blames Western influence, including TikTok, and drug abuse for the unusual behaviors in families.

Source: Monitor

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