A British Marriott Hotel reportedly banned a mother and baby swimming group from breast-feeding at the pool on April 19.
The swimming group, called Water Babies, said one of the employees at the hotel swimming venue they used emailed them, explaining the breast-feeding had to stop immediately, the Daily Mail reports.
The Marriott Hotel Regents Park in Swiss Cottage, London, reportedly said at the time it was because the mothers were not members and they were trying to “ease congestion poolside.”
The mothers believe the hotel was trying to ban them from sitting on the chairs so they wouldn’t be seen breast-feeding.
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“We strongly disagreed with the decision,” the group said. “In the interest of continuing to use the venue and to keep the poolside area clear, we encouraged our mums to use changing rooms, the reception area or any other area of the venue. We regret this incident took place and any distress caused.”
Some of the mothers said they were upset with the hotel, the Evening Standard reports.
“I just felt really frustrated and was a bit shocked,” said one of the mothers, 32-year-old Bianca Zeff, who brought the incident to international attention after posting about it on social media. “'I thought it was outrageous. We may not be members of the fitness club, but we pay [$350] for a 10-week term, and we're not allowed to spend five minutes sitting on a chair. We had to spread towels out onto the tiles."
Since then, Marriott Hotels has publicly apologized for the temporary ban.
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“Marriott Hotels sincerely [apologizes] for this situation. Following investigation we have learnt that an associate of the London Marriott Hotel in Regents Park erroneously gave the instruction to one of the groups who use the pool facilities to not allow mothers to breastfeed in the Fitness Club,” the hotel said. “This instruction is not hotel or company policy. We welcome breastfeeding mothers in all areas of the hotel.”
The hotel noted it will continue to investigate the situation, and reminded their associates that local laws allow “guests and visitors to the hotel the right to breastfeed wherever they choose.”
Zeff said she was pleased by the apology.
"We need to stand up against the bullies. I'm not breast-feeding anymore, but I got it all the time when I was nursing my two boys. You think businesses would have learned by now but they clearly haven't."