Breastfeeding ladies never seem to catch a break. While modern mothers may live in a perpetual “breast is best!” soundtrack, the minute you start feeding outside the confines of your home, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before somebody has to come over and police your boobs. Like 22-year-old Stephanie Wilby who was breastfeeding her 4-month-old son in the toddler corner of the Manchester Aquatics Centre. She was reportedly “in the water from the waist down,” but she was nevertheless told by a lifeguard that her actions were “unhygienic.” My knee-jerk reaction is, “it’s not like she’s peeing in the pool, guys,” but oh, no. They went there.
Wilby had apparently just started feeding when said lifeguard “rushed” over to shutdown the milk bar. Much like Lucy Eades, the awesome Texas mom who schooled an employee on her breastfeeding rights, Wilby pushed back and asked to speak to a higher up. The manager agreed with the lifeguard and furthermore threatened to CALL SECURITY if this THREATENING BREASTFEEDING LADY DID NOT PUT HER LETHAL BOOBS AWAY.
Stephanie, of Denton, claims the staff said her breastfeeding was ‘indecent exposure’ and similar to someone urinating in the pool.
And she says she was surrounded by staff shouting to stop and threatening to throw her out, which made her feel uncomfortable and intimidated.
“I would have still questioned their reasons but it would not have been as inappropriate. They made a real scene. They were saying me breastfeeding was indecent exposure. But I was covered more than most of the other swimmers.”…
Not only did the Manchester Aquatics Centre employees throw a fit over breasts that happened to be breastfeeding, but then they had the audacity to compare her feeding her son to URINATING IN THE POOL. Totes the same thing, ladies:
“One staff member also said he would stop a man urinating in the pool and that is why they did not want me breastfeeding in the water. I should be allowed to breastfeed where I want. I felt humiliated and it was very distressing. I even asked about feeding at the side of the pool but they said that was not allowed and said I should go to the changing rooms or toilet.”
While some ladies may be less inclined to breastfeed in a pool because — well — pools are filthy, the notion that nursing an infant is equivalent to a grown man making a potty out of the communal pool underscores the need for some serious breastfeeding education.
Wilby and her family have reportedly lodged an official complaint. Meanwhile, Manchester Aquatics Centre, which is run by Serco and Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust, is doing major damage control on the alleged incident, prompting an investigation and touting the whole “we support moms!” script:
Coun Rosa Battle, executive member for culture and leisure at Manchester council, said: “We have asked the Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust and Serco to investigate this incident thoroughly and to take action immediately if it is established that any members of staff behaved inappropriately towards Stephanie.
“We keenly encourage new mothers to use our leisure facilities and they have every right to breastfeed their babies when they need to do so, in line with existing legislation.
“We have also asked that the Trust and Serco review their existing policies, to make sure that they reflect the law.
“As a breastfeeding mother myself, I expect staff contracted to work in our leisure facilities to understand and respect women’s right to breastfeed in public places.”
A spokeswoman for Serco said: “We are fully supportive of mothers breastfeeding their child whilst in our centres.
“Serco’s operating practices are to encourage breastfeeding in a safe and comfortable environment for both the mother and child rather than it taking place in the swimming pool.
“We will fully investigate this matter and where appropriate we will amend our policies and put in place appropriate training for staff.
“We apologise for any inconvenience that was caused.”
(photo: wellington fl)