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Family dynamics

14th Sep 2017

Mum told to breastfeed baby in gym bathroom so men don’t see her

"Can I cancel my membership?"

Jade Hayden

gym bathroom

Just when you thought the excuses for banning breastfeeding couldn’t get any more ridiculous.

Ruha Alford Tacey is a new mum living in Alabama.

Earlier this week, Ruha decided that she wanted to go to her local gym, SportsFit. It was the first time she had been to the gym since the birth of her daughter.

While she was there, she fed her baby in the gym’s childcare room. Then she went home.

The next day, Ruha returned to the gym and was met by an employee at the front desk who told her that if she was going to feed her child in future, she could use the bathroom.

Ruha, understandably, was confused by his request.

Partly because Alabama law allows women to legally breastfeed their children wherever they want, but also because of the reasoning the employee gave for asking Ruha to feed her child in the bathroom.

She took to Facebook to share her frustrations.

“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.”

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.””

Ruha then went on to say that she cancelled her gym membership.

She also pointed out that going to work-out after giving birth is hard enough, without having to deal with the separation anxiety that comes with leaving your newborn at home.

She then organised a ‘Nurse-in’ and encouraged other mums – breastfeeding or not – to come along and show their support for parents to feed their babies wherever they need to.

Ruha ended her post by saying that she didn’t want to antagonise the gym, she just wanted to normalise breastfeeding.

At the Nurse-in, the mum was invited inside by the gym’s manager and given a formal apology.

She was also told that the man who works on the front desk would not be telling mums where they can and can’t feed their babies again.

Fair play, Ruha.

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