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17th May 2024

Mum’s heartache after being told to stop breastfeeding at water park

Kat O'Connor

The mum said she felt discriminated against

A mum who was told to stop breastfeeding her baby in the lazy river at a water park has taken to Facebook to claim that she was discriminated against.

Tiffany Francis was at Rigby’s Water World in Georgia, USA when she decided to try and soothe her 11-month-old baby to sleep by taking him into the lazy river, believing that the slow-moving water would help calm him.

Tiffany said it wasn’t the first time she tried the hack and that her newly-born son likes having “motion to sleep”.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, the new mum said she has never had “one single negative comment made to me about breastfeeding while out in public”.

She continued: “I went to Rigby’s Water World today with my family. My son is 11 months old and when it was getting to be his nap time, like I do every visit, I got in the lazy river to nurse him to sleep. He likes motion to sleep, he sleeps well in the car or swing, so he will also sleep in the lazy river. At home he always nurses to sleep. So he was latched and a lifeguard (Caleb) told me “ma’am you can’t breastfeed in the lazy river”.

“I kind of laughed because I thought he was just making a joke in very poor taste. Then he got on the radio and had a lady come and tell me I wasn’t allowed.

“I was trying to pull the baby off but when baby is latched, he’s latched. I asked her if it was posted somewhere and she told me that it was posted in the rules out front so I got out of the lazy river, and I went to read the rules.”

The manager claimed breastfeeding was “equated with their ‘no food or drinks in the water rule”

The mum spoke to the manager who confirmed breastfeeding was not allowed in the lazy river.

“The manager Steve Brown came and told me it’s as a courtesy to other people that I can’t feed my son, so I asked it’s just a made up rule, because it’s not posted anywhere?

“It’s just something that they decided to say was a rule. So then he smartly said well it says no food or drinks in the water. I asked so my boobs aren’t allowed in the water?”

Tiffany, who is a season pass holder at the venue, then asked for a refund. “I asked to be refunded my season pass because I can’t go there if I can’t get my son to nap while I’m there and they of course told me no. So I left because my son needed to take a nap and I wasn’t allowed to nurse him to sleep.

“Imagine all the bodily fluids being excreted into the water but they’re worried about breastmilk when the baby was latched.

“My breast was out of the water, and the milk was only going into baby’s mouth. But really it wasn’t even about him eating in the water it was about it making other guests uncomfortable.

“I left crying because I was told I couldn’t feed my child which by the way it is against the law to tell a mother they can’t breastfeed their child. But sure let’s worry about offending people by feeding a child.”

The water park eventually apologised after waves of backlash

Tiffany explained that she saw plenty of other mothers holding their children in the pool.

She also said other people were wearing ‘offensive’ clothing.

The mum admitted she felt discriminated against for being a mother who breastfeeds her child.

“My breast wasn’t exposed. My son’s face was covering everything. So without looking extra hard, you’d think he was just asleep on my chest. Somehow I made people uncomfortable by doing the most natural thing I could do for my child.

After the incident gained attention online, Steve Rigby, owner of the company, reached out to Tiffany to apologise.

The mum said the apology was insincere and was solely because of the public response.