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Asked to go to a locker room to breastfeed

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

Today I was at the YMCA swimming with my kids when my dd got hungry. I went to sit in the shade to breastfeed her and I had covered up part of my breast but my dd was restless and it was windy (FYI I don't usually cover up) so the cover kept flying off. Anyway, a lifegaurd came up to me and said "I don't mean to be rude, but can you go to the locker room to do that?" My first thought was to ask if she ate in the locker room. I replied "Um no and actually what you are telling me is illeagal. I have the right to breastfeed wherever I am." She then said that a little boy was looking and told me the Y is a Christian organization and asked if I could at least cover up. I told her that I was doing the best I could to cover up and that I was going to continue to feed my daughter where I was and if people were offended they could look away. The lifegaurd should have been happy I wasn't sitting in the pool nursing because usually I sit in the shallow end and nurse her.

I then went to the front desk to inform them of what happened so that they could properly educate the lifegaurds on the law. I was told that the reason I was told that was because the Y is a family organization. I am wondering what part of breastfeeding is not "family oriented." Why do people refer to breastfeed as "that"? It really just fires me up! Not only that I was a lot more covered then many of the teenage patrons in that pool. I plan to write a letter to the Y and include the Kansas law. I just don't understand why people are so offended or worried about their kids seeing a mother breastfeeding! How is that not a good thing?!
post #2 of 17
That sucks. I have no advice, but lot's of momma's here will.....
post #3 of 17
Hi Ruthie-

I know girl. I was there with you and I thought you handled everything very well. I was going to suggest that you write it to the manager, Josh. They call it "that" because it's not gyrating in front of them to give them sexual pleasure. I guess that's more "family oriented," or maybe the Playboy bunnies we saw on Wednesday are more so. I don't think they'll EVER tell you (or me) to go to the locker room again. If they do, my brother knows a great lawyer. Hang in there girl and show me the letter before you send it!
post #4 of 17
I know many people that identify as Christian that breastfeed their babies, there are many posters on here. If anyone that identifies as Christian says anything tell them Jesus was breastfed until he was 3 yo and Mary was never asked to cover up. Breastfeeding is feeding a child, not a sexual thing. I have a hard time with all of this. In Sweden, it is common for entire families to go swimming naked, with other families. No one thinks it odd. Why are people so afraid of nudity and breasts? We are all born naked. I breastfed today at a skating rink full of children. I did see a few young boys looking my way from the other side of the rink. I do not use a cover. I am glad they get to see the way babies are fed. Good for you standing your ground and informing them of the law. I will be happy to write a letter to the YMCA, on this behalf. There have been issues with them and NIP in the past I have read. Feeding our babies is a central theme of the family. Maybe organize a nurse-in? I am nowhere near Kansas, but would love to attend a local nurse-in.
post #5 of 17
My YMCA is a real family organization. This week I had my toddler on my lap while in the lobby talking to the head of the fitness classes. My DD was pulling at my shirt, and I kept trying to distract her. Eventually I asked the woman if she'd mind if I nursed while were were talking.

"Mind?...I was wondering when you were going to and honestly I was going to suggest it."

I'm so sorry your YMCA has such UAVs running it. Good for you for standing up for our rights! Breastfeeding was good enough for Jesus, how on earth could it conflict with Christian values?
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by karika View Post
hmmm Christians don't have breasts? I know many people that identify as Christian that breastfeed their babies, there are many posters on here. If anyone that identifies as Christian says anything tell them Jesus was breastfed until he was 3 yo and Mary was never asked to cover up. Breastfeeding is feeding a child, not a sexual thing. You weren't dancing while you were doing it, were you? (I was raised Southern Baptist). I have a hard time with all of this. In Sweden, it is common for entire families to go swimming naked, with other families. No one thinks it odd. Why are people so afraid of nudity and breasts? We are all born naked. I breastfed today at a skating rink full of children. I did see a few young boys looking my way from the other side of the rink. I do not use a cover. I am glad they get to see the way babies are fed. Their mother (sister, aunt, cousin, etc) should have been the one to show them, but obviously not. Good for you standing your ground and informing them of the law. I will be happy to write a letter to the YMCA, on this behalf. There have been issues with them and NIP in the past I have read. Let's teach them what families are about, and feeding your baby is a central theme. Maybe organize a nurse-in? I am nowhere near Kansas, but would love to attend a local nurse-in.
I consider myself quite conservative as far as morals and whatnot go. I nurse in public uncovered all the time. It's not an issue to me.
post #7 of 17
Please review the Lactivism Forum Guidelines and edit your posts accordingly.

I will come back and check on this thread later.

Stick to the facts, discuss what you can do remedy the situation at this particular Y without criticizing people or being snarky.

Thanks!



tinybutterfly
post #8 of 17
post #9 of 17
The YMCA has come up many times in the past for not being bf-friendly.
My toddler had been taking gymnastics there and I would sometimes have to nurse her little sister. I was never approached but I wondered what I would do if I were... in MO the law protecting bf isn't very good. Plus, they DO have a sign outside the children's gym stating no food or beverages... so to be honest, I can see the point. (though if they gave me a hard time, they better give the parents of other kids who had snacks a hard time too!)
post #10 of 17
Seriously, I think this particular Y just has issues. If anyone else here lives in Wichita, KS, it's the north Y up by K-96...when I went there with my son and I was trying to get him acclimated, I went down one toddler slide with him and the lifeguard told me I was too big to go down the slide. Then I put him on my nephew's lap...nope, one kid at a time! Then we went to another Y and I saw a mommy slide down with her toddler, no problem. And Babyruth and I both nursed in the pool at another Y and were not approached at all.

Seriously, if breastfeeding is ever going to be normalized in our society, it's going to take more people nursing in public like this so "that" isn't stigmatized anymore!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you Emmeline II for the link. Those were great pictures. I would LOVE to have a nurse in, I think I might be the only one who would show up. Thanks for all the responses. My main goal is to inform the YMCA of the law and inform them that breastfeeding IS family oriented and breastfeeding Mammas should not be forced to cover up or feed their babies in an uncomfortable locker room away from their 2 other swimming children.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Babyruth348 View Post
Thank you Emmeline II for the link. Those were great pictures. I would LOVE to have a nurse in, I think I might be the only one who would show up. Thanks for all the responses. My main goal is to inform the YMCA of the law and inform them that breastfeeding IS family oriented and breastfeeding Mammas should not be forced to cover up or feed their babies in an uncomfortable locker room away from their 2 other swimming children.
Girl, you know I'd show up! That is, if this baby of mine ever shows up!
post #13 of 17
Wow, how sad that BFing is seen as unfamily like.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SallyN View Post
The YMCA has come up many times in the past for not being bf-friendly.
That was my first thought - the Y has been mentioned a lot on this forum. I'd really suggest to write a letter to the local manager and to go up in the ranks if you don't get a decent response. Obviously, there's some educational work still to do?
post #15 of 17
Can anyone find the official statements that previous Y's have made rescinding their anti- breastfeeding policies? Because I know they have apologized. This could be good ammunition for Babyruth to take with her, or include in a formal complaint letter.

Always complain in writing. I'm not sure why but it always gets taken a bit more seriously that way.

And let me tell you it's not all YMCA's that have this issue. The NYC Y's even have breastfeeding support classes.

Maybe there is a way we can get the more enlightened Y's to send letters of support? (or is that just a fantasy)
post #16 of 17
GOOD JOB MAMA!

I responded in the local area chat with information I guess you do not need (you were more vauge there, now I know you stood up for yourself! WAY TO GO!!!)

I would defintely write a good article on breastfeeding being family oriented and send it to their location and a copy to the kansas branch and to the national branch of the YMCA. I personally cannot beleive at a POOL where people wear next to nothing that the back of a baby's head and some cleavage got people all riled up!!!

As far as being family centered, what is MORE family centered than being a good mother and feeding your baby the best thing possible? It sounds like they are so sexually obsessed that it makes them uncomfortable to see a breast doing what it was actually made for....which BTW YMCA is NOT filling out a swimsuit!
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I really believe it is not all YMCA locations who have issues with breastfeeding. And I actually believe that this particular lifegaurd was not informed of the law. I also think she probably had no idea that breasts are for FEEDING babies. She kept calling it "that" and told my friend who was with me that she wouldn't want her kids to see "that." It bothers me most is that breastfeeding my baby is called "that" as if I was doing something completely obscene! It also really fires me up that the person "in charge" told me that I was told that because the Y is a family organization as if bf is soooo non family. It's simply misinformed people who think breasts are merely to intice the opposite sex and not meant to nourish babies. I did tell the front desk person that I might find some of the swimsuits people wear to the Y offensive and innappropriate but I don't ask anyone to cover up.
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