Friday, January 13, 2006

File under "huh?"

Every now and then you see a news item about a woman who's been told she can't breast-feed in some public place. Usually somebody or other is offended by such a "scandalous" display of infant nutritional needs being met. Other times public breast-feeding is held to be a violation of some official rule or policy. This story reported in the Ann Arbor News on Wednesday is of the latter type. Via MLive:
An Ann Arbor woman is upset that the YMCA will not allow her to breast-feed her baby in the swimming pool area.
Kelly Fuks said she was told it's a distraction to the lifeguards.
The Y says it is a health issue because it violates a "no food and drink'' rule in the pool area. Officials say she can breast-feed in many other parts of the building...
... The issue arose Dec. 22 when Fuks took her 6-month-old daughter, Ansley, her 3-year-old son, Maxwell, and a friend swimming at the Y in downtown Ann Arbor. Fuks said a lifeguard approached and told her she could not breast-feed Ansley on the deck of the family pool.
When she queried Y management later by phone, Fuks said, she was told that breast-feeding by the pool is forbidden because it's a distraction to lifeguards ...
... Diane Carr, senior programs director at the Y, said all food and drink is forbidden in the pool area, and that exceptions can't be made for breast-feeding.

Yeah. A breast-feeding 30-something mom is way more distracting than a gaggle of bikini-clad 16-year-olds. Oh, and that breast milk just might get spilled and put unsuspecting swimmers at risk of slipping and falling on the pool deck. Not to mention the sticky mess it would make.

Like I said, "huh?"
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Grand Rapids bloggers: Did you take the poll yet?

3 Comments:

Blogger Jennifer said...

Actually, the director of the Y said that the "distraction" was not that she was nursing, but that the lifeguards had to deal with someone that was breaking the rules. (Because they had to take time to go explain the rule to her and ask her to leave, thus distracting them from their duties.)

I'll fight anytime anyplace for a woman's right to nurse in public...but this isn't a story about that. It's a story about a mom that couldn't feed her baby in a certain area. The same thing would have happened if she'd been trying to bottle feed.

1:34 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

OK I'll give you the distraction clarification. But I'll take issue with your take on what the story is about. It's not about proper place. It's about the Y's interpretation of the food and drink rule, which was obviously meant to cover things hand- and/or container-held that might cause some kind of hazard in the pool area. You're right though, a bottle feeding mom would be asked to leave, making her both a distraction and a rule breaker. Which points up just one more advantage of breast-feeding, don't you think? :-) Thanks for your comments!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

"You're right though, a bottle feeding mom would be asked to leave, making her both a distraction and a rule breaker. Which points up just one more advantage of breast-feeding, don't you think?"

Ha! I love it. :)

5:25 PM  

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