BF'ing not "appropriate" at the gym? - Mothering Forums
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Lactivism > BF'ing not "appropriate" at the gym?
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 04:26 PM 07-17-2003
I go to a gym that is also a healthspa/restaurant/pool/snackbar/nursery.

Today I was picking my dd up from the nursery at 12 (when they close the nursery and shut off the lights). Dd really wanted to nurse and was pointing to the chairs for me to sit down. So I took her into the Lobby where they have these great big sofas and began to nurse. I talked with a few people as they walked by and then a manager walked by me and said "It is really not appropriate to be doing what your doing". I said "what am I doing?" She says "you're bf'ing and I thinks it's best if you do that in the nursery." She walked away and I didn't move.

Tomorrow I am going to tell her that what she said really upset me and then let her have it. Can you guys give me some good lines for her? Also, what are my rights about this? I could get plenty of my friends and moms to create a problem for her as well. Maybe I should just write her a letter telling her how much trouble she could be getting herself into.

Colorful~Mama's Avatar Colorful~Mama 04:54 PM 07-17-2003
whether you write her a letter or confront her physically there are a few things that should be said.

1. breastfeeding is appropriate anywhere, anytime the baby is hungry. period.
2. its what they're FOR and you'd think a place that is sposed to be all about health and fitness would recognize that.
3. it is legal for you to breastfeed in public. she has no right to ask you to move elsewhere.
4. if this establishment is anti-breastfeeding then maybe you, and your friends and anyone you feel the need to tell will be finding a new establishment in which to spend your time, and money?
5. perhaps the local media would be interested in the establishments anti -breastfeeding policy?

just a few random thoughts. hey, at least the manager (was this a man or woman btw?) didn't tell you to go nurse in the restroom

aolwife's Avatar aolwife 05:00 PM 07-17-2003
Oh I forgot to add that a woman was changing her baby's diaper on the couch across from me but no one said a word to her. I would think that changing a diaper is a bigger offense than bf'ing.

Yes I was happy she didn't tell me to go into the lockeroom!

I might send an email to our local paper or something about it. BF'ing is a hot issue lately!
lactationmom's Avatar lactationmom 05:07 PM 07-17-2003

Oh you go for it girl!

If we can help, post the gyms addy so we (I!) can write a well-written, very direct message to her about NOT being a neglectful parent by starving our children for the sake of her insecurities (he he, not very nice I know!!).

Do not let her get by with this one, people like this first need to see how wrong their comments are, by overwhelming them with breastfeeding literature (health info) then going into the legal issues of it, no one likes the thought of what they said to be a sueable offense! You'd probably get a BIG sorry letter and no more issues after the fact!

They need a "baby-friendly" establishment poster in their window, at the very least, don't you think???
Faith's Avatar Faith 05:11 PM 07-17-2003
I'm so glad you are going to do something!

There are less-experienced moms out there who would not stand up for their rights (and might not even know they have any). So, I think any time this happens to us, it is our absolute duty to try and fix the situation so it won't happen again.

Great ideas so far!! You could also...

~ print out a copy of your state's BFing laws and mail everyone who works there a copy, and post one of their bulliten board.

~ organize a nurse-in.

~ I would seriously look into who all her superiors are, and write them all a letter, right up to corporate headquarters asking for an apology. Explain the state law that she broke and how she violated your and your babies rights. Her actions were rude, improper, unnecesary and illegal.

The letter to the local paper is a great idea! I would mention the state laws, and the irony of a supposed health club shunning the healthiest choice for moms, babies, and society, and our enviroment!

People can be so stupid. If they were really interested in health, they would have commeneded you and would hassle the formula feeders.
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 05:38 PM 07-17-2003
my only thought is that she did provide me with an alternative that was not a bathroom. But like I said, they close it and shut off the lights and there are only hard chairs. The big puffy sofas are soooooo nice!
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 05:44 PM 07-17-2003
sorry duplicate post
mamaduck's Avatar mamaduck 05:56 PM 07-17-2003
Get ahold of your state laws about public breastfeeding. And print them out. Give them to her supervisor/corporate head with along with an explanation of what happened. Let them know that you expect it not to happen again!
Momtwice's Avatar Momtwice 06:57 PM 07-17-2003
Harrassing YOU was not appropriate.
Maggie05's Avatar Maggie05 07:08 PM 07-17-2003
You have the right to breastfeed anywhere that you have the right to BE. You were allowed to be in the big comfy chair because you are a member of the spa, THEREFORE, legally, you have the right to breastfeed in that chair.
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 07:10 PM 07-17-2003

See, you guys are great. I'm so much happier now, I almost feel bad for her ... not!
Momtwice's Avatar Momtwice 07:47 PM 07-17-2003
According to your website you live in NY, right?

NY breastfeeding laws:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding.
Not sure what the "notwithstanding" bit is about, but at the link below there's a nice bit about how encouraging bf is encouraging
"family values"

The promotion of family values and infant health demand putting an end to the vicious cycle of embarrassment and ignorance that constricts women and men alike in the subject of breast feeding and represents hostility to mothers and babies in our culture based on archaic and outdated moral taboos. Any genuine promotion of family values should encourage public acceptance of this most basic act of nurture between mother and baby, and no mother should be made to feel incriminated or socially ostracized for breast feeding her baby.
They wouldn't want a LAWSUIT now would they?
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 09:20 PM 07-17-2003
Palisadium Health Club and Spa
700 Palisadium Dr
Cliffside Park, NJ 07010

Attn: Owner/Management Palisadium Health Club

Re: New Breast Feeding Policy?

Recently, while breast-feeding my daughter Lucy on the very comfortable sofas in the lobby, I was told by manager, Jane Goldberg, that my breast-feeding was not appropriate and that I should go elsewhere such as the nursery (which at the time was closed).

Clearly she is not aware of New Jersey state laws (enclosed) protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed anywhere the mother is allowed to be. Her actions were rude, improper, unnecessary and illegal.

Breast-feeding is not a sexual or lewd act and should never be treated as such. No mother should be made to feel incriminated or socially ostracized for breastfeeding her baby. I would think an establishment focused on health would be commending me for making the healthiest choice for me and my baby instead of telling me it is something to hide.

I am very upset by this and believe the management owes me an apology. However, if the Palisadium is going to stick by this “new” policy I will be forced to send the enclosed letter to the local board of health so that they can issue a fine for breaking the law.


Joy Cristiano

I added a lot from all of your posts. Whad'ya think?
IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar IdentityCrisisMama 09:31 PM 07-17-2003
Letter sound good!
The law worke for me! I was told that I would have to cover up while feeing my daughter on an America West flight. When I refused they threatened to drape a airplane blanket over my seat (like a little black box). I told them what they were asking me was against the LAW and they totally backed down. Then, I called and wrote the company with helpful advice from the LLL legal council. Good luck…
Momtwice's Avatar Momtwice 11:04 PM 07-17-2003
very nice letter!

polite, to the point, well written!

I love the NJ law...I looked it up...the health dept. can fine them!

I personally would find out the NAME of the owner/manager and include it.

"Ms. Martha Stewart

Dear. Ms. Stewart....."

You can call and ask for it without saying why.
Jilian's Avatar Jilian 12:25 AM 07-18-2003
Great letter! Good for you! I wish all bf-ing mommas would stand up for themselves the way you did. Let us know what happens. Have you though about organizing a nurse-in?
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 01:31 AM 07-18-2003
There are 3-4 managers and 2 owners. I know all their names, but I figured writing all of them would be a bit much.
WickidaWitch's Avatar WickidaWitch 01:41 AM 07-18-2003
Very nice letter!!! Good for you!!
lactationmom's Avatar lactationmom 11:49 AM 07-18-2003

Great letter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing though, you have 'breastfeeding' as one word in one place and 'breast-feeding' in several other places. Put it as one word, more effective and, I believe, more natural appearing.

Just a nit-picky thing, I know, just wanting your letter to get the full effect it will and should!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Momtwice's Avatar Momtwice 01:25 PM 07-18-2003
There are 3-4 managers and 2 owners. I know all their names, but I figured writing all of them would be a bit much.


Makes sense, and no need to print out several copies....

again, I say, nicely done!
Faith's Avatar Faith 02:02 PM 07-18-2003
Hmmm, never noticed that, but 'breastfeeing' as one word does look a lot better!

Other than that, it is an AWESOME letter! Very, very well-written!
Maggie05's Avatar Maggie05 02:09 PM 07-18-2003
Great letter. I can't believe this happened in NJ. I live in Passaic County, grew up in Bergen County. WTF...I have never had a problem BFing in public in such a "Liberal" area. You could really cause a lot of problems for them around here. I may email them myself. Let us know how they respond.
mom2tig99Nroo03's Avatar mom2tig99Nroo03 03:27 PM 07-18-2003
awesome letter!!!
Meiri's Avatar Meiri 12:54 AM 07-19-2003
Myabe sending a copy to every manager and both owners would be overkill, but I think sending copies to the owners is very appropriate. They need to know that one of their managers is acting inappropriately and illegally towards a customer, and possibly putting them at risk for a fine or a lawsuit. How else can they enforce a change?

If you only send it to the offender she can just sweep it under the carpet with no one the wiser.
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 02:00 AM 07-19-2003
I made sure the two other managers got it on Friday and the "offender" wasn't working that day. I left before I could hear the reaction, but I'm sure it will be dealt with on Monday.

I might go as far as sending a letter, through the mail, to the owners. We'll see how it is dealt with first.

Lactationmom - My Word program always tries to make it hyphenated! I did correct it before i printed it out, thanx.
morgan's_mom's Avatar morgan's_mom 11:36 AM 07-19-2003

Oh, Momtwice, the "notwithstanding" part of the NY law just means that despite what any other statute may say (like about indecent exposure or whatever), a woman has the right to BFIP..... It's a good thing!
Momtwice's Avatar Momtwice 11:50 AM 07-19-2003
It's a good thing...LOL. Thanks.

If Martha S. hadn't had all these troubles this could be a nice bf slogan. Nursing in's a good thing.
CortLong's Avatar CortLong 12:57 AM 07-20-2003
Great letter!
Potty Diva's Avatar Potty Diva 08:51 AM 07-20-2003
How infuriating!

I showed DH the post and he couldn't believe that this would happen in a HEALTH club for goodness sake.

I loved your letter and hope things improve drastically in that club.

Good luck to you.
aolwife's Avatar aolwife 02:29 PM 07-22-2003
Ok, so today was my first day back and no one spoke to me about my letter. However, after picking up my kids in the nursery i saw a notice pinned to the wall.





First off I typed it exactly as it was written, mistakes and all.

Secondly, the womens lounge is the bathroom.

So who do I call to get a lawsuit going?
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