Ive been hearing about the lady being kicked out of pool for breastfeeding and I wanted to share my experience! i wasnt told to leave the premises but i was told to do it elsewhere.
All I can say is-
You know what should be illegal and frowned upon?
The places some business expect you to breastfeed in and the areas they deem safe for you to do just that.
One that comes instantly to mind was when we were at a "breastfeeding friendly" family restaurant (yes they proudly had the ABA sticker in their window), I was told to stop breastfeeding my baby at the table. When I asked staff where I could brestfeed then they said the mother's room is back near the toilets! I thought great they have, like some shopping centres, a seperate quiet private room to comfortably feed baby!
So any other time I probably wouldve left after being told to stop but our meals hadn't arrived so I went to the toilet area to find the mothers room. Well initially I didnt see the mothers room so got a staff member to show me! And do you want to know where I got sent??
TO THE DISABLED TOILET! No not beside it, not in a seperate room just for mothers, but IN IT, in the disabled toilet room! Now disabled toilets are a bit bigger than normal so inside the room was a portable change table for nappy changes! But where was I to feed baby? There was no chair. The only chair-type thing was the actual toilet! I thought she pointed me in the wrong direction so at this point I asked staff where she exactly meant. And yes she sent me to the mother room/ toilet. And I said thats a toilet not a BF room.
It was simple, I was NOT feeding my baby in the toilet. Some of my baby's feeds lasted up to 20mins+ , imagine the health risks of subjecting myself and my baby to 20mins of being in the disgusting, germy room? I was NOT sitting on the toilet. I was NOT allowing anyone to degrade me back to the toilets. I was NOT allowing someone to tell me that BF in disabled toilet room was better for my baby!
I am not sure how they got their "breastfeeding friendly" sticker but they should be ashamed!!!! I mean if they think this is acceptable why not on the front of the disabled toilet a sign stating "lengthy delays expected due to this being a Disabled toilet AND mothers room"!
Even when changing a baby in there, imagine the germs and bacteria growing on the change table that you have to lay baby down on. I highly doubt staff would regularly clean the toilets let along change room. There was NO change mat covers, yes I did look! Imagine if I did BF in there and we both ended up getting bacteria poisoning or some serious health issues from breathing in the air and just being in that toilet for duration of the feed!
Their should be laws against telling a mother she HAS TO sit/stand in the disabled toilet room to feed her baby!
Toilets, especially these, do not get cleaned as often as they should and doubt they get bleached or something to remove all germs. And toilets dont get priority cleaning before the restaurant areas. We dont like using public toilets, we try to avoid it, so why try and make a brestfeeding mother sit on it (on the toilet) for 20+ minutes??
--- I ended up feeding my baby SAFELY and COMFORTABLY at the table, subject to stares from the family next to us, stares from staff! Noone told me to stop so I wonder why I was told to stop before? A lady did come up and say more people should do what you're doing! --- Yes they should so BF may be seen as normal!
To the restaurant proudly displaying the sticker. You highly profitable franchise should be ashamed you offer BF women that as a BF room, your staff member should be ashamed she had no hesitations when sending me there. and I believe that even the ABA should be ashamed to let the restaurant display their sticker!! The sticker means the business welcomes women to breastfeed IN the restaurant, and NOT IN a toilet! I recommend that the ABA check every single establishment that asks for their sticker to see where exactly they support breasfeeding, because in this restaurant it sure wasnt at the table!
Extra bit of info:
Straight from ABA website about the Breastfeeding Welcome Here program (https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/services/welcome)
Criteria for breastfeeding friendly venues to display the sticker are:
A welcoming attitude from staff and management
A smoke free environment
Room to move a pram
So yes at this restaurant there was room to move a pram and it was smoke free! Welcoming attitude from staff and management was very questionable.
I guess seeing as there is no dot point stating there needs to a safe and comfortable environment to BF in that the restaurant is doing nothing wrong by sending BF mothers to the disabled toilet, as long as there is a welcoming attitude about telling a woman she can BF in a toilet then that fulfils that sticker eligibility requirement?