I wasn’t able to exclusively breastfeed my kids. I’ll elaborate on that in another article I’m planning, but it was a physical issue, and as much as I wanted to, it wasn’t going to happen. However, I really did want to. I have no issue with breastfeeding moms, and I proudly support those moms who have had to fight for their rights to nurse in public.
However, some things kind of take it a bit too far, in my opinion. A woman in Newmarket, Ontario, just received a public apology after she was asked to leave the stairs of a public (although privately-owned) pool for breastfeeding her 20-month old while sitting there chatting with friends.
This wouldn’t bother me on the pool deck. It’s the fact that she was actually IN the pool. My guess is that she couldn’t get her daughter calmed down, maybe she wanted out of the pool, and mom didn’t want to stop talking, so it was just easier to nurse her than to get out and stop talking.
In other NIP disputes I’ve heard where people told the nursing moms to feed the baby in the bathroom, and the argument is, would you want to eat in a public restroom? So isn’t the same argument applicable here? Would YOU want to eat in a public pool? Would you be okay if someone sat down with a sandwich and started eating in the pool you were swimming in?
The fact is that if you want to say that nursing babies should be treated the same as anyone else who needs to eat, then shouldn’t they have to follow the same rules? Even nursing on the pool deck is technically pushing it, but for the sake of compromise I think this should be considered okay. You can’t even say that the child NEEDED to eat right at that moment. This was not an infant, this was a 20-month old toddler. I don’t care that the child was still nursing at 20 months old, but you cannot convince me that at that point you HAVE to feed them on demand.
Breast milk may be sterile, but it doesn’t mean that others want to swim in it. I know that it’s not necessarily true that any breast milk would have ended up in the water, but what if the mom had a really active letdown?
The other issue is would you really want your child eating in a public pool? I mean, breast milk in the water is really the least of the problems. What else is in that water? Chemicals, bodily fluids, bacteria? And now that’s on you, so you child is ingesting it off your body. Ick.