For all those who are unaware, this week is known as the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) which is held annually from the 1st to the 7th of August. On that note, did you know the process of breastfeeding varies not only from person to person, but also culture to culture? Well, if you didn’t, then here’s taking a quick look at some unusual breastfeeding practices around the globe.
The Bishnoi tribe in India, who reside in the Western Thar Dessert, believe in the “praan daya” way of life and living (compassion for every living being). As a cultural practice, lactating women usually breastfeed an orphaned or injured deer, in order to nurse it back to health.
One of their unique breastfeeding practices (developed by Sotomi Oketani, a Japanese midwife) include a ritual which mothers are supposed to perform on the day they decide to stop feeding. Mothers are supposed to draw bright faces onto each breast so as to discourage a child from wanting to be breastfed.
In Kenya, the Luo and Luhya tribe’s women believe that if they quarrel with their family members or neighbours, their milk will become unsafe for the child to consume. So in order to purify themselves, there’s a cleansing ritual they have to undergo where they make use of the ‘manyasi’ herb before resuming the practice of breastfeeding.
In Mongolia, public breastfeeding efforts are always praised and it isn’t only limited to babies. Most Mongolian women also ensure their spouses are not left behind, when it comes to consuming breast milk.
A tribe known as the Aka tribe (a pygmy tribe) in the Republic of the Congo, practice a bizarre ritual where men breastfeed their children only for the purpose of comforting them through their nipple.