Alabama woman Ruha Tacey was excited to work out for the first time since giving birth to her daughter on Wednesday, but instead she was shamed by the ‘family friendly’ facility for tending to the one-year-old in public.
“My daughter had a hard time in the childcare room,” she explained in a Facebook post.
“I sat there and breastfed her to see if he would feel more comfortable in that room. She was still destressed when I tried to leave again, so we left and came back this morning. When I badged into the front door, the very friendly guy at the front desk said, ‘Hey, can I talk to you about something really quick? In terms of feeding your child, when you need to do that, could you just use the restroom?’ ‘The restroom?’ I asked. ‘I have absolutely never been asked to do that,’ I said. ‘Well we’re a family friendly facility, you see, and yesterday while you were feeding her a man walked by the window.’
She continued: “I told him a man shouldn’t feel shame when he sees a woman breastfeeding. And especially if you’re family friendly, you should be super pro-breastfeeding!’”
“He said, I’m not telling you not to breastfeed, I just think a little discretion is in order.’ “What a shame, I said. Can I cancel my membership?’”
“It’s hard enough getting to the gym and trying to work out despite a child with lots of separation anxiety,” she added.
After a flood of supportive parents weighed in on Tacey’s post, a ‘nurse-in’ was held outside the gym’s main entrance.
Management were also quick to apologise for the request, which was actually against the law. As per the Code of Alabama, breastfeeding is allowed in any public or private location where the mother is authorised to be.
“I’ve been assured that the company intends to retrain all employees with regards to breastfeeding laws, and the front desk operator will definitely not be asking future breastfeeding mums to nurse in the restroom,” Tacey told Yahoo.
“The regional manager apologised to me on behalf of the company and regrets that I was made to feel unwelcome and/or ashamed.”
The young mum is hoping that her mistreatment will shine a light on what, sadly, some still consider to be a taboo topic.
“The main message I’d like to get across to the public is that breastfeeding is natural, it’s normal and it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of,” she said.
“Individuals are welcome to have their own opinions about whether a nursing mother offends them, but I would hope that they could think of the child first.”