A friend was told by the owner of her older children's karate school that she couldn't breastfeed her baby in common areas of the building.
Here is her story:
"I had heard of this great place to take my children for Ninjustu training here in Kalamazoo from a friend of mine. So we observed a class and the next week we signed up. It cost $358 for both kids, for 6 weeks. During each session, I would watch my 5.5 and almost 4 year old while chasing around my spirited 18 month old. On our third session, Zoe was feeling a bit overwhelmed so she asked to nurse. I took her to a comfy spot on the floor where I could lean against the wall. (There were no chairs or anything, only Japanese-style seating on pillows at low tables.) She nursed for less than 5 minutes, just for comfort and we went back to playing and watching big brother and sissy. Two days later, I received an email from the instructor (also owner) saying that my nursing had made several of the parents uncomfortable and they had come to him with the concern. I was floored by his next statement. "You are more than welcome to use the bathroom area if you would like, and if you need a more private setting than that I would be happy to make some other accommodations if need be."
Why on earth would I need a more private setting, or any other accommodations?? NURSE IN THE BATHROOM!?!? I think not.
I politely, yet firmly refused, pointing out that I wouldn't ask him to eat in the bathroom, even though he said he tries to keep it clean and tidy. We went back and forth, again keeping it polite, yet firm. He suggested we speak in person at next week's class. I took the kids in and as they were participating in the class, I noticed the instructor had put up a "nursing policy" stating that there was to be no nursing in the common/viewing area, and any one who wanted to nurse would have to use the bathroom or women's changing area. Boy, was I mad. After class, another BF supporting mom and I asked him to clarify his statement. Was he indeed saying that he does not welcome nursing moms in the common/viewing area? Yes, yes he was. And was he willing to loose 4 children in his class because of his discriminatory actions? Well, apparently, because that day both of us pulled our children out of class, totally 4 kids.
A few days later I requested my refund, and he refused because of my "contract" that stated no refunds. I'm going to be taking action against him because his "nursing policy" was not public when I signed up. And I'm staging a rally on November 6th to publicize his discrimination against nursing moms."
If anyone's interested in more details I'll keep you updated!
Yet another reason we need HB-5515!!!!! Civil rights protections for nursing babies and their mothers!
Very blessed mama to one bouncin' boy (12/07) one who didn't get to stay (6/09), one potty learning, mess making diva(4/10), and one cheerful milk monster. (12/11) Happy partner to the love of my life.
mama to Gavin (March '03), Claire (June '05) & Oliver (hb April '08)
Whew! I've been busy...
But it went well. YES! The cops were called, and YES I did my homework, so we were fine. And, guess what? We're at it again this weekend. Brrr... But that's ok!
He never said anything to me about it. After this rally, I'm going to email him and see if he has anything to say. Still working on getting the media in on it for more "oooompf".
Date: December 11th at 10am. Same place! Bring a sign! :) Park across the street at Michelle's restaurant. They were so cool about us parking there last time, and we all went to have coffee and brunch after. :)
email me for more info!