In praise of the breast – Emeka Nwolisa

In praise of the breast – Emeka Nwolisa


The breast, since the beginning of time, has been adored, appreciated and praised for its diverse architecture, size, shape, contour and the milk it produces and freely makes available to mankind. Bras have also over time gone through several evolutions to provide cover and finesse for this all important part of the human anatomy.

 Breast milk, easily the milk of life, has over centuries provided nutrition for the newborn. Studies have shown that just breastfeeding alone is not enough but rather, exclusive breastfeeding should be the ideal,  adopted and supported. Exclusive breastfeeding involves giving the newborn breast milk only for the first six months of life – no water and no infant formula.  While most mothers accept and practice breast feeding the contention has always been with breastfeeding exclusively.

The general belief, and rightly so, is that every human being needs water to stay alive. True, very true but the fact is that over 80% of breast milk is water so that contention is settled.  The other worry is the impact of exclusive breastfeeding on the architecture and “structural integrity” of the breast.  The sojourn of the breast can be humorously described using Nigerian’s geopolitical region. Every breast begins life in the South West zone and then at the fullness of its glory and ascendency, it is proudly North-central and then it moves South-East and eventually South –South.  So if at the fullness of time, the breast will move South –South why not exclusively breastfeed your child with the tremendous advantages it confers  so that when it finally goes  South –south, the breast can boldly and proudly  proclaim……..’  I came, I served and I blessed humanity’

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And for the oga at the top, I plead on behalf of junior that you let him have his six months lease on the breast without encumbrances, distractions, and disturbances. May I also plead that you permit easy renewal of his lease at the expiration of the initial contract for another six months.  Yes I know it’s your ‘ valued asset’ but be magnanimous and large-hearted. This is one scenario where there is no joy in sharing because it is usually unfair to the baby.

A revered Professor of pediatrics and former health minister made allusions once to the unfairness inherent in the sharing formula.   In most cases, while Junior had the daytime shift, Oga at the top had the night shift. The resultant effect was that most times Junior had nothing to do in the mornings because Oga at the top had over the night shift drained both the reservoir and severely depleted the production line.

Another important issue is the use of breast milk as a drug. In the traditional setting,  breast milk has been used over the years for treating sundry maladies.

Mothers have over the years dropped it into the eyes to treat eye infections, into the ears for ear infections and into  the nostrils to treat nasal congestion and obstruction.  While scientific studies have proven that breast milk has antibacterial properties, these properties are not potent enough to combat the bacteria causing these infections. So breast milk as food  …… Yes, but as drugs, not yet. The jury is still out.

Finally, can all men of goodwill obviously, charge their glasses and raise it in a toast to this wonderful structure that anatomically lies astride the 2nd to 6th intercostal space and has provided wholesome nutrition and unquantifiable hours of sucking pleasure and delight to mankind.

Oya breast, chop knuckle.


Photo Credit 


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