Thursday, July 17, 2008

I was just about to throw away our local free weekly when a small headline at the bottom caught my eye:

Breastfeeding Sees Police Called to Pool


Um, yeah. Apparently a woman breastfeeding her baby at a pool -- a pool right down the street from me! -- was asked to leave the poolside area. Apparently "The lifeguard said that the pool is meant to have a family atmosphere and breastfeeding isn't allowed." The lifeguard ended up calling the police, and when they arrived someone came to their senses and confirmed that it IS legal to breastfeed in public. The city says it was "an unfortunate error."

The woman who was asked to leave said the lifeguard said other women had left without a problem. She's thinking about making a human rights complaint to the city.

I can't believe this happened in my very own city. I mean, I live in the city where Gwen Jacobs walked topless and (after being arrested for indecency) ended up setting a precedent that it's legal for women to go topless. So how can it be that using those breasts for their most important purpose could be illegal???

Of course I've heard stories like this before but more often than not the stories were in the States and I thought perhaps Canada, with its year-long, breastfeeding-ennabling mat leave, was more enlightened. Guess I need to think again.


nomotherearth said...

"the pool is meant to have a family atmosphere and breastfeeding isn't allowed" -- what a total contradiction in terms. Some people!

Mad said...

Lifeguard = teenage boy (or girl). Teenage boy = stupidity and the essence of so much cultural drivel.

Where were the other families when the lifeguard needed a vigilante talkin' to? That's what I want to know. Why do so many other people stand complicit when utter stupidity rears its head.

Bon said...

i end up feeling both baffled and outraged every time i read about something like this. and mostly, just sorrowful that our society is still raising teenagers who think that breastfeeding is incongruous with a family atmosphere. oy.

Hannah said...

Yikes. That is pretty bad. Now I'm all pissy at the dullard of a teenaged lifeguard.

Aliki2006 said...

Yikes. I used to breast-feed T. at the pool all the time the summer she was a baby.

Family atmosphere--good grief.

Beck said...

Yep. A friend and I were nursing our babies and chatting while our older preschoolers were in library school and the elderly librarian tried to tell us to go nurse in the washroom. It's nowhere near as enlightened as you'd hope.

Mimi said...

Holy shit. Where can I write a letter to?

In my town, there are posters on the bus and stuff now, that show three women sitting on a park bench, matter-of-factly breastfeeding tiny babies, larger babies, and a toddler. It says: "Breastfeeding. Any time, any where. It's the law."


I nursed at the local pool. If anyone had hassled me, I would have torn their eyes out.

DaniGirl said...

This happened in Ottawa recently, too, at a YMCA pool. I felt just like you did -- "seriously, in my own town?"

A part of me kind of wishes the woman who was so obviously offended at my breastfeeding had said something so I could "educate" her -- and by proxy, her son.


Kyla said...

I'm always incredulous when these sorts of things happen, but sadly I kind of expect it here in the States. We seem to be behind the times a bit in regards to things like this in general.

kittenpie said...

What could create more of a family atmosphere than someone feeding their child? How stupid. Bet that lifeguard was a young man to whom breasts=sex.