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April 9, 2009

Breastfeeding controversy in public pool in Calgary

According to a story recently posted on Yahoo! News, women in Calgary are planning a breastfeed-in over some women being “harassed” for breastfeeding in a public pool. Apparently women have been asked to come out of the pool and/or go into the changing room to breastfeed their children rather than doing it right in the pool, and the women are outraged.

These mothers contend that if their children are hungry while swimming in the public pool, they will feed them instantly, and do not feel they should have to leave the pool to do so. The lifeguards at the pool have spent the last couple of years dealing with different breastfeeding women, warning them that the children could accidentally swallow pool water while trying to swallow breast milk, and they could also vomit or defecate in the pool after being fed.

While I do support a woman’s right to breastfeed her child if she chooses to do so, I don’t support her right to do it wherever and whenever she feels like it. A public swimming pool doesn’t strike me as an appropriate place to breastfeed; there’s no reason they couldn’t go into the change room to do it, right? It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to ask breastfeeding women to feed their babies OUT of the water , but apparently not everyone sees it that way.

The management, not surprisingly, is caving to the requests of these women, rather than standing firm on their policy. “The city’s aquatics manager, Jim McDonald, said it is a misunderstanding on the part of some lifeguards mothers can breastfeed in or out of city pools.”The intention of the staff is to provide information to the mothers just to prevent the possibility of ingestion of water,” he said.” (

I’m not a prude, but to be honest, I’d rather not see some random woman’s breast at the public pool. It’s not about being “ashamed” about a natural function, but rather about a little dignity; do these women want strangers looking at their breasts? I think breastfeeding is great for babies and parents; it’s healthy for the children, and cost-effective for the parents. However, I don’t feel the need to partake of the moment with these mothers, simply because I happen to be in the same swimming pool. It’s not like their child is starving to death, and the need to feed is URGENT – they can wait to at least get out of the water ladies, sorry.

The truth of it is, I’m sick to death of people not giving any thoughts to those around them. People seem to think the world is a free-for-all where we should all just do whatever the heck we feel like, regardless of how it may affect other people. Parents, forgive me, you are some of the WORST offenders! Case in point: a couple of weeks ago a girlfriend and I were out for dinner at a roadhouse-style restaurant. I looked behind my friend to the table (booth style) directly behind her, to see a mother changing a poopy diaper ON THE SEAT of the booth! Right there, on the seat! Why?! The restroom was 10 steps away! But hey, she’s a parent, she should be allowed to do whatever she wants, right? Who cares about things like etiquette, thinking of others – and in this case, health and safety?!

Mothers: Yes, your babies are beautiful, precious miracles, and I’m so glad you love them and are caring for them as best you can. But please, on behalf of the general public, keep your boobs to yourself! (or at least whip out a receiving blanket!) Whatever happened to a mother’s dignity?

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2 Comment(s)

  1. freeatlast | May 1, 2009 | Reply

    Yes, you are right. It does concern me that the baby could ingest pool water, vomit or poop. The lifeguards should warn them about feeding in the water. I don’t agree that a mom should have to go to a changing room to feed—she should be allowed to feed on the deck. Strangers look at men’s breasts and hairy chest so I don’t think women are any more indecent then a hairy man. A very hairy chested man is more disgusting then a woman that has no hair. Just go to a French beach (many other countries also) & they do not think women are indecent. It just seems to be the Christian & other religious countries that are so backward. I wish more people knew about the Topfree Equal Rights Association or read their FAQ. I do agree that changing the baby’s diaper on the seat is unsanitary and stinks—I would tell her to do it somewhere else.

  2. Amy | May 1, 2009 | Reply

    Hi freeatlast, I absolutely agree with your comment. Women should be able to breastfeed their kids on the deck however, santization is always a concern. You are also right about the hairy chested man – EWWWWWWWW

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