Breastfeeding your child is natural and is not news, however when a woman in Queensland was forced to leave an aquatic centre it becomes news and an issue. It is 2013 and women have the right to breastfeed in public and it is not against the law.
The woman in question had her other two older kids at the pool and she was feeding her 11 month old baby girl while she had her feet in the pool to keep cool from the heat. A staff member came up to her and told her that she had to stop feeding in the open.
The staff member offered alternatives such as going to a change room or putting a blanket over the baby. As it was a very hot day a blanket would not be appropriate and according to the article the baby pushes them off so it would not have worked. The older kids were happily playing in the pool and if like me you are the only adult to supervise; this would mean making the other kids get up and come into the change room with you so you can feed the baby. Not ideal at all.
Breastfeeding in public is legal and that should be that. In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald it discusses that asking women to leave or move while breastfeeding is still happening, although it is inhumane.
I think the lady in article, Liana Webster should have stayed there and refused to move. I would have. What would they have done, call the police? I do understand wanting to leave and being so upset that she just upped and went home. I can relate. It is not the same, but my local aquatic centre has stopped one of the sessions for the crèche, which means that days that I have the kids and a fitness class is on, I cannot go. I was in tears as I only got told after paying to go, to then find out that I was not able to do it due to no child care. (I got my money back thank god for that, but I am still very upset about it and left the centre in tears)
I am amazed that we are still so backwards in our thinking. We can look at the naked body, or a woman in a bikini but a woman feeding a baby is bad and considered something to cover up. I for one think that a mother feeding their child to be a great sight and a lovely image.
Breastfeeding is covered under Australian Federal Law and this is an excerpt from the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s website:
“In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.
Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding. Direct discrimination happens when a person treats someone less favourably than another person. For example, it is discriminatory for a waiter to decline to serve a patron who is breastfeeding. Indirect discrimination happens when an apparently neutral condition has the effect of disadvantaging a particular group, in this case women who are breastfeeding. For example, an employer may impose a requirement on all employees that they must not make any breaks for set periods during the day under any circumstances. Such a condition would particularly disadvantage women who need to express milk” (https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/breastfeeding-and-law/legalright)
Organisations should follow the law and not create a climate that makes mothers want to leave, if any other patrons of the pool had an issue with it they should either move away or look away for the required time it takes to feed the baby. Why is it that the mother needs to relocate, why it can’t be the person who finds it offensive? I for one don’t think it is offensive but if you don’t want to be around it, leave. Why make the mother and the kids leave. She has every legal right to be there and so has everyone else, we just need to have a broader acceptance and understanding of others.
Has this happened to you when you were breastfeeding? What did you do? Send in your comments.