Illinois Mom Told Breastfeeding Not Allowed in Public
A Moline, Illinois mom, identified only as Nicole, talked to her local station WQAD about her concerns after an employee of her local Two Rivers YMCA told her she could not breastfeed in public.
Nicole was at the YMCA with her family enjoying an evening of swimming when she got out of the pool to feed her baby. A male lifeguard walked over and told her she could not do that, but that if she wanted to go into the restroom to nurse her baby, he was willing to keep an eye on her other children while she was gone. Nicole told WQAD, “I thought, â€˜Iâ€™m not going to take her into the bathroom and feed her, because I donâ€™t even eat in the bathroom.â€™â€
Nicole sought out a manager who admitted he was unsure of the Y’s policy. However, Illinois is one of forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands that have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Illinois law states:
“A mother can breastfeed in any public place where she is otherwise authorized to be.”
The Two Rivers YMCA met on Thursday to discuss the situation. They announced, “We have set aside facilities specifically for nursing mothers and encourage them to use them as we try to take into consideration the comfort of all our guests.”
Nicole and other mothers say that the issue is not about the place, it’s about everyone knowing and following the law in that place. The YMCA is checking with YMCA USA for further clarity. I’m thinking that the state law should bring clarity enough, but I also think it is ridiculous that we need to have laws regarding where a mother can feed her child.
Photo credits: viralbus