My best friend emailed this article to me:
“Nursing your baby: Not cool in the pool?”
Uproar is sparked after a mother is asked to stop breastfeeding her 20-month-old in a public swimming pool. ARTICLE
She then sent me the following question to ponder:
What do you think? There are two sides to this story – ORHC and Ministry of Health.
Here’s my opinion:
I agree with the Ontario Human Rights Commission – it’s her right. I’m proud to live in a Province so supportive of a mother’s right to nurse her baby – anywhere and anytime. While I agree that a woman should be allowed to nurse where ever, and that it is within her rights, I would have to agree that she should have just gotten out of the pool itself and nursed on the deck for the safety of the child (I’d be afraid of dropping Brooke, risking her drowning in the pool). I think the real uproar is because she was approached and asked to nurse elsewhere, which violates her rights to nurse anywhere. Yet I wonder if she was looking for a fight when she could have easily gone to somewhere more private to nurse?
The pool owner was in a damned if you do, and damned if you don’t predicament. What isn’t stated in the article was whether the pool owner was responding to the reactions of the other swimmers. She/He may have asked the mother to nurse elsewhere as the owner didn’t want clientele to perceive the pool as “dirty” because nursing was allowed IN the pool. As well, the pool owner may not have been aware of the OHRC stance on nursing. I would also think that the age of the “baby” may have influenced the pool owner’s decision to request that the mother nurse elsewhere as nursing is often offensive to people, particularly when the “baby” is older than what people consider to be acceptable to be still nursing (in this case the baby was 20 months old – almost 2).
Brooke and I are now facing this challenge, as we continue to nurse in public – people that would have walked by paying no attention to us when she was younger, gawk at us because of her size. I used to be quite comfortable nursing discreetly in public, but now that she’s older I almost feel embarrassed and ashamed even though I’m fully aware that the WHO (World Health Organization) advocates nursing PAST 1 yr of age. Also, now that Brooke is 16 months old I find that I need a very comfortable couch to sit in to nurse, so when we were out together last Thursday, and she had refused her cup all day and hadn’t peed in 12 hours, I was more than happy to nurse her on the vacant couch I found in the mall common area. Previously I would search for a quiet bathroom stall when Brooke was at that awkward stage where she wouldn’t allow any blanket over her head while nursing.
As for the Ministry of Health – As a nursing mom, I know that breast milk is not “leaked”, Brooke certainly ensures that by nursing well beyond when the flow of milk has stopped. If breast milk in the pool is truly the issue than ALL lactating moms shouldn’t be allowed to even swim – and how do you monitor that? Do you pinch their nipples to see if any milk comes out?
I, of course, could go on and on about my personal opinions on nursing in public and extended nursing – instead I will turn this over to you, dear readers, what do you think? There are two sides to this story – ORHC and Ministry of Health.
PS: Here are some more articles related to the incident, as the plot thickened when the breastfeeding mother attempted a Nurse-In:
The Toronto Star
Ann Douglas – The Mother of All Parenting Blogs