A Quad City, Illinois, mother was outraged when she was told to breastfeed her baby in the restroom at the swimming pool of her local YMCA.
The mom, who identified herself as Nicole to radio station News 8 WQAD, said that she was attending a family swim session at Two Rivers YMCA in Moline, and got out of the pool to breastfeed her baby girl, who is 7 1/2 months old. According to Nicole, when she was done feeding her daugher, a male lifeguard came over to her and said, “You can’t do that here, but if you want to feed her you can go into the restroom over here and I will watch your kids for you.”
Nicole was horrified to be told to feed her daughter in the restroom, and to be asked to leave her other kids with a complete stranger. She had breastfed her kids before at the same YMCA pool with no issues, so she went to find a manager. When she finally tracked one down he said that he “wasn’t sure” what the Y’s policy is on breastfeeding in public.
Wendy Bonilla, the YMCA’s Director of Brand Engagement told News 8, “We have set aside facilities specifically for nursing mothers and encourage them to use them as we try to take into consideration the comfort of all our guests. It is not our intent to violate the law.”
The COO of Two Rivers YMCA Randy Groff met with Nicole to discuss the incident. Nicole says that Graff assured her that employees at his facility will not tell her “or another mother where, when, or how to nurse again.” Bonilla reports that on a national level, YMCA leadership has met to discuss the issue, and “We have changed our policy to confirm with the law.”