• Public Breastfeeding...

    Public Breastfeeding...

    at swim lessons. 

    "Can we talk about breastfeeding in public?

    State Statute 253.16 states: "In the state of Wisconsin, you have the right to breastfeed your child in any public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. In such a location no person may prohibit a mother from breastfeeding her child, direct a mother to move to another location to breastfeed her child, direct a mother to cover her child or breast while breastfeeding, or otherwise restrict a mother from breastfeeding."

    I was told yesterday morning, that I could not feed my screaming child in the pool, during swim lessons. I was discretely off in a corner trying to console my child the best way I knew how. I was told by the instructor of the class that I

    "couldn't do that in here" and I "could get out and go to the locker rooms to continue feeding her".

    Then a man, who seems to be the pool staff supervisor (he stands around with the lifeguard every class), came over as I was pulling my distraught child from my breast, and continued to shame me for breastfeeding. He said that it was unsanitary for the pool (I was in the shallow end standing up...babe nor my breast was I the water and he obviously needs some breast milk education). I asked him to stop and that I understood, but he continued to talk over me while being incredibly rude saying "No, I need you to hear this". Thank you no I didn't not NEED to hear any more. He continued his rant as I stood in the pool holding my baby up out of the water to try to keep her calm, and was again rude as I approached him to speak about the incident after class was over.

    This is not acceptable. This is not ok. I will protect my child and make her feel safe always. The law is behind me, and I will raise hell.

    Every mother has the right to breastfeed and not be shamed for it!! Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District has herd from me in voicemails. Everyone seemed to have been gone already for the holiday weekend. I was livid that nothing would be or could be done before our last class tomorrow morning. I cannot believe this was my morning!

    Then Friday's class came and this same man came over to me, as I entered class, and asked to speak with me. He apologized for the way he talked to me yesterday and said, "You were right and I was wrong." I told him that I needed that apology yesterday but that I do appreciate him saying it now. I wanted to validly what I was right about, just to make sure I was understanding the statement correctly, and he said yes you were right...

    you CAN breastfeed IN the pool.

    I went on through class and after class, again he apologized all over himself saying he was really truly sorry for how he talked to me and the way things went down yesterday. He also said that he hopes to see us back again. Even though I do appreciate his apology, I won't let this be brushed under a rug and forgotten about. Breastfeeding mothers need the support of our communities! This guy is just one example of what breastfeeding in public can be like from those who are not in support of it.

    As I was leaving the building, CBS 58 was waiting for me outside. I was interviewed along with the other moms who showed up to nurse at the pool in support of me too! Mr. Kittilstad with CBS58 said he was on our side too and that he thinks we were in the right. Not that I needed his backing, it was just nice to hear another voice on the side of breastfeeding mothers. My voice was heard! I cannot say thank you enough to the moms who helped give me a voice, gave me space to vent and discuss, and showed up to support me when I needed them!" 

     - Sarah