A 23-year-old British mother was told to stop breastfeeding her 10-month-old son at a public swimming pool because the manager feared her actions would “contaminate” the water, reports Daily Mail.
Rebecca Hough was enjoying the day at Lux Park Leisure Center in Cornwall and swimming in the pool with her son, Max. The child became hungry, Hough says, so she got out of the pool and began to nurse him – a few feet away from the water.
The site’s manager reportedly approached Hough and told her to stop breastfeeding him because he could get throw up in the water and potentially contaminate it, reports The Mirror. She was told to use the changing rooms nearby and was instructed not to return for at least half an hour so Max would have a chance to digest his food.
“I felt really embarrassed at being asked to leave when I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Hough said. She added that she was not exposing her body to anyone. “He’s a breast fed baby and always has been. I got in the pool and he was a bit unsettled, so I decided to give him a really quick feed, as more of a comfort thing than anything else, rather than give him a full feed.”
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After Hough got home she said she felt angry and lodged a complaint against Tempus Leisure, the company that runs the pool. The company’s manager apologized to her, but Tempus defended the way the mom was treated by its staff member.
“This is very much an issue of maintaining water quality as we work hard to keep the water in all our pools safe and clean,” Tempus Leisure's Marketing Manager, Marc Laundon, said. “The member of staff was concerned that a baby that has just been fed could very easily be sick in the pool. This would obviously not be pleasant for other users and could potentially lead to a pool closure which would inconvenience many other customers.”