Breastfeeding mother left ‘upset and appalled’ after water park told her to stop nursing son in lazy river

A mother says she was left humiliated after water park workers told her she wasn’t allowed to breastfeed her nursing son in the lazy river.

Tiffany Francis, a mother of two, from Georgia, took to Facebook on 14 July to element the incident that allegedly occurred at Rigby’s Water World in Warner Robins, Georgia. Her Fb put up has since gone viral, with greater than 1,000 likes and feedback.

“I’ve by no means in my years of being a breastfeeding mother had one single unfavorable remark made to me about breastfeeding whereas out in public. I’ve had supportive feedback from random individuals, however immediately was a special day,” she started her put up.

The mother then defined that she’d introduced her 11-month-old son to the water park’s lazy river so she might nurse him earlier than his nap. “He likes movement to sleep, he sleeps nicely in the automobile or swing, so he can even sleep in the lazy river,” she wrote.

After her son was latched, Francis recalled {that a} lifeguard knowledgeable her that she wasn’t allowed to breastfeed in the lazy river. At first, she laughed off the lifeguard’s request as a result of she thought it was a joke. Then, his boss came visiting to Franics and reiterated the lazy river’s guidelines in opposition to breastfeeding.

“I requested her if it was posted someplace and she told me that it was posted in the foundations out entrance,” Francis stated. “So I obtained out of the lazy river, and I went to learn the foundations.”

The mother of two quickly found that there was no rule in opposition to breastfeeding posted exterior the lazy river attraction, and requested to communicate to the water park’s supervisor. Nonetheless, the supervisor as a substitute claimed it was a “courtesy to different individuals” that she wasn’t allowed to breastfeed and cited the park’s guidelines in opposition to meals or drink in the lazy river.

In accordance to the lady, she then requested for her household’s season passes to be refunded. “I can’t go there if I can’t get my son to nap whereas I’m there,” Francis stated, noting that the water park workers wouldn’t refund her season move.

“Think about all of the bodily fluids being excreted into the water, however they’re nervous about breastmilk when the child was latched, my breast was out of the water, and the milk was solely going into [the] child’s mouth,” she continued. “I left crying, as a result of I used to be told I couldn’t feed my baby, which by the best way it’s in opposition to the legislation to inform a mother they will’t breastfeed their baby. However certain, let’s fear about offending individuals by feeding a baby.”

Francis additionally identified how she witnessed a number of youngsters sleeping in their moms’ laps in the lazy river, and different youngsters with their heads resting on their mothers’ chests. “My state of affairs regarded similar to theirs, my breast wasn’t uncovered. My son’s face was masking every little thing,” she stated. “With out trying additional laborious, you’d suppose he was simply asleep on my chest. However one way or the other I made individuals uncomfortable by doing essentially the most pure factor I might do for my baby, whereas simply making an attempt to let him nap.”

Francis continued: “I’m simply so upset and appalled and needed to give a heads up to all the opposite mothers on the market that that is how breastfeeding mothers are handled at Rigby’s Water World. You’re additionally not allowed to deliver snacks in for the child, so I used to be told immediately. I assume they’d fairly infants simply go hungry.”

In accordance to Georgia state law, which states that the “breastfeeding of a child is a vital and fundamental act of nurture,” a mother is allowed to “breastfeed her child in any location the place the mother and child are in any other case authorised to be”.

Talking to People, Tiffany Francis described the incident as “humiliating” and famous that different breastfeeding moms have since come ahead sharing comparable explanations about being shamed in public.

“I simply actually didn’t suppose anyone would care. You’re at a water park. Persons are already fairly bare there, proper? I don’t suppose it was essentially the most offensive factor to occur that day,” she told the outlet.

“As a mother, it’s simply loopy that folks suppose it’s not okay to feed your personal baby. If it’s a bottle, it’s nice. Feeding them desk meals, certain. However feeding them from the breast simply grosses individuals out for some cause,” she added. “It’s been sexualised to the purpose the place it’s not a pure factor, and that’s simply gross.”

In a single remark, a fellow mother wrote: “Lady! Name me any day I’m off and we’ll go. I noticed a mother nursing the opposite day and stored a watch on her simply in case anybody approached. Want I used to be nonetheless nursing as a result of I’d nurse proper subsequent to you!!”

“What?! Feels like previous nursing mama sit-in wants to occur,” one other commented. “How is that even nonetheless a ‘factor’ in 2023.”

In the meantime, one dad stated: “Wow, as a father that is unbelievably flawed. Anybody ought to give you the chance to feed their child anyplace with out a downside.”

A member of the Rigby household, the house owners of Rigby’s Water World, responded to the Fb put up in the feedback part: “I do know that breastfeeding is allowed in the park and I can perceive the security points that come in hand with feeding in shifting water. As for the courtesy of different visitors, I agree {that a} mother ought to give you the chance to breastfeed at any time, nevertheless an uncovered breast in a water function with out a masking may very well be seen as indecent (we wouldn’t let one other visitor do the identical).”

She famous that the water park does have shaded seating, household rooms, and an “admin constructing” designated for breastfeeding.

In accordance to Today, Rigby’s Water World revised its breastfeeding coverage inside hours of the incident and apologised to Francis for the “misguided” coverage.

“We had a coverage in place that didn’t permit breastfeeding in the river that was in line with the well being division’s commonplace on no consuming or consuming in the swimming pools,” stated Steve Brown, vp of operations at Rigby’s Water World.

“Once I was made conscious of the legislation that moms can breastfeed anyplace they’re allowed to be, we reviewed our coverage, reaching out to different specialists who function aquatic amenities,” he says. “From there, we determined to permit our visitors to breastfeed in the swimming pools, ought to they select.”

Georgia’s Department of Public Health guidelines and rules for public swimming swimming pools, spas, and leisure water parks states that “bathers shall not be allowed to eat or drink whereas in or partially in the water”.

“We have been underneath the impression it was a well being code violation,” Brown told the outlet. “It was a misunderstanding…it was my mistake to misread the legislation…there are completely different opinions on this problem however we wish to adjust to the legislation.”

Brown added that Rigby’s didn’t problem Francis a refund for her season move, and maintained that she was not requested to go away the park.

The Impartial has contacted Tiffany Francis and Rigby’s Water World for remark.

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