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Another Mom Asked to Stop Breastfeeding in Public

By carolyncastiglia |

public breastfeeding, massachusetts law, ma medfordWe’ve covered lots of stories in the past few months about moms getting flack for breastfeeding in public, and news items on the topic continue to crop up.  Yesterday a Boston-area YMCA employee was reprimanded for asking a mother to stop breastfeeding her infant in the child-care area of the fitness center.  Some employees were reportedly concerned about the other children seeing Elizabeth Gomez’s exposed breast, but the worker in question cited the “no food or beverages” policy as an excuse to ask her to leave.  (Massachusetts passed a law in April 2009 providing for breastfeeding in any space open to the general public.)

The Stir posted an open letter by Gomez, in which she states that when informed about the incident, the director of the YMCA threatened to revoke Gomez’s membership.  The letter says:

When I spoke to the director about this issue, Amy Turner, she assured me she would look into the issue for me, and she seemed to take my complaint seriously.  During our initial conversation, when I informed her that the YMCA’s actions were illegal, she also made it a point to tell me that my “membership can be terminated at any time, for any reason.”  This statement concerns me very much, because I value my YMCA membership, and do not want my membership terminated.  On the other hand, I do not want to be pressured by the threat of losing my membership to not follow up on this violation of my legal rights, and I feel strongly that staff education on this matter is of the utmost importance.

World Breastfeeding Week begins this Sunday, August 1st.  This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the World Health Organization/UNICEF’s Innocenti Declaration, created to nurture a “breastfeeding culture” around the world.  As a result of the declaration, the United States Breastfeeding Committee was formed in 1998, and is now comprised of over 40 member organizations, including the AAP, La Leche League International, Lamaze International and the USDA/WIC Program.  I know many of our readers are vocal breastfeeding advocates.  Do any of you have plans to participate in lactivist events next week in the hopes of curbing incidents like this?

Photo: Tim & Selena Middleton via Flickr

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About carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at MarieClaire.com and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Another Mom Asked to Stop Breastfeeding in Public

  1. Beccaness says:

    I was asked to stop breastfeeding my son at walmart in Maine. She told me to go to bathroom and that .

  2. goddess says:

    As long as it wasn’t in the pool or hot tub, the YMCA was wrong.

  3. Andrea says:

    Maybe it’s just locally or just my experiences, but I’ve always found the YMCA to be an oddly un-child friendly place, at least until they get well into elementary school. Here, none of the locker rooms, including the family locker rooms, have anything like a table that could be used to change a baby or toddler, and the child care center almost invariably brings my otherwise happy to be left just about anywhere toddler to me mid-work out. A couple of friends have had the same experience at a couple locations in town. I guess I’m just not surprised to hear that; the organization just strikes me as really not interested in that first part of childhood. It’s too bad, because we really can’t afford the other super expensive gyms around here that offer child care.

  4. Linda says:

    I love working out at the YMCA, but IMO, the quality of their childcare staff sucks. I’d never leave a child there for an extended period of time. I ocassionally leave my five year old there so I can work out, and I’ve had some less than stellar experiences ~ Just things like staff being immature and ignorant of basic child development.

  5. klg says:

    I understand that it needs to be done…but why not cover up with a blanket?

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