In 2023, one would think that the concept of breastfeeding in public would not be so taboo. Yet, here we are with another story of a mom shamed for feeding her child.
A Georgia mom says she was asked to leave the lazy river at a water park for breastfeeding her 11-month-old baby. Tiffany Francis says that she was enjoying the water, feeding her child (as she says she has done before) when a lifeguard came up to her and asked her to basically go do that somewhere else.
Francis posted on Facebook after the incident, venting about the treatment she received.
“I kind of laughed because I thought he was just making a joke in very poor taste,” she wrote in the now-viral post. “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.”
Francis then states that the water park rules do not mention anything about breastfeeding.
Several water park employees told her that they were asking her to leave due to the comfort levels of other guests, as well as their food and drink policy.
“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,” she continued, making a very valid point. (Let’s not pretend that hundreds of kids aren’t peeing in that lazy river every minute.)
“But really it wasn’t even about him eating in the water it was about it making other guests uncomfortable...” she wrote.
She also clarified that her breasts were not exposed.
“My sons [sic] face was covering everything. So without looking extra hard you’d think he was just asleep on my chest. But somehow I made people uncomfortable by doing the most natural thing I could do for my child, while just trying to let him nap. Mind you, this was also at a water park where most people are wearing very little clothing but my son and I were offensive,” Francis wrote.
Francis says she left the water park in tears, embarrassed and frustrated.
“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,” she continued.
The local law, according to Georgia Code 31-1-9, says, “The breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health. A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be.”
Sounds like Francis was a perfectly law-abiding citizen who made some people feel a bit weird and got shamed for it. In fact, breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states. Yet moms are still being ostracized and made to feel like this totally natural thing should be taken to a more private space.
In 2018, a New Jersey woman had the police called on her for breastfeeding her child in a public park. Last year, singer Michelle Branch tweeted about how another mom told her to “be modest” while nursing her daughter at the playground.
A mom should be allowed to feed her child on demand when they are hungry. It’s literally human nature to do so. We’re talking biological science here. This mom wasn’t flashing everyone at the water park. She was taking a dip while her baby slept and had a meal.
Also, like Francis clarified, her breast was not exposed nor should she be required to drape some type of heavy cloth over herself in the middle of a hot July summer.
I don’t know anyone else eating al fresco with a blanket over their head as the sun beats down on them. Why should babies have to do that?
Unfortunately, Francis told Scary Mommy that the water park hasn’t really been up for a conversation since she went public about the incident, but she is thankful and overwhelmed by the love and support from other moms.
“The support from other moms has been nothing short of amazing. Most moms anyway. There have been some spewing hate toward myself and my son,” she told Scary Mommy.
“But there have also been advocates on the side of breastfeeding. I’m proud to say that most people are in support of public breastfeeding. But so many moms are still afraid to feed in public due to shaming and judgement from others. It’s sad, really, for anyone to be made to feel bad about feeding their baby,” she added.
It should never be OK to comment, judge, or shame a breastfeeding woman or make her feel like she’s doing something wrong for feeding her child in public. Anyone with an issue about it should just look the other way and keep floating on down that lazy river.