Last Wednesday, Quad City, Illinois mom, Nicole, got out of the pool with her 7-month-old daughter to breastfeed. Shortly after she was finished, she was approached and told that she couldn't breastfeed at the Two Rivers YMCA by a male lifeguard.
Nicole (who asked only to be identified by news outlets by her first name), said that the lifeguard told her, "You can't do that here, but if you want to feed her you can go into the restroom over there and I will watch your kids for you." She told WQAD, "I thought, 'I'm not going to take her into the bathroom and feed her because I don't even eat in the bathroom.'"
After the lifeguard had walked away, Nicole found a YMCA manager, who admitted the wasn't totally sure of the YMCA's formal policy on nursing in public. But Nicole, who's been to the YMCA prior, said that she had breastfed at the pool before and never been approached by anyone. The current law in Illinois states that a mother can breastfeed in any public places where she is otherwise authorized to be.
The next day, on September 12, leaders of the Two Rivers YMCA met to discuss the incident. Following the meeting, Wendy Bonilla, the 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." And on Thursday, Nicole met with Randy gross, the COO of the Two Rivers YMCA. They discussed the incident again. Nicole told reporters that Randy vowed that no member of the YMCA staff would tell her or another mother "where, when or how to nurse again."
Two Rivers YMCA issued a formal statement for all of its followers on their Facebook page after the leaders of the YMCA met formally to discuss the breastfeeding incident. They posted:
As for the decision, it sounds like Nicole plans to head back to the community pool. "I do really like the YMCA," Nicole told reporters, adding, "This is an opportunity for everyone to be educated and for women to feel comfortable enough to know what their right is in public when feeding their child." In response to the Facebook post made by Two Rivers, Nicole added her own, saying:
Do think other public facilities should create a nursing area for breastfeeding moms?