Sometimes, it seems that we'll never stop hearing about the awful ways that people treat breastfeeding moms out in public. Even though tons of nasty encounters are born from ignorance and not malice, it doesn't really make it any less discouraging to learn about the latest way in which a woman is treated when she's just trying to get her baby's needs met and someone seriously drops the ball.
Take Lynda Mazzalai Nguyen, for instance. The working mom was attending a seminar in San Francisco and needed a place to pump at the Embassy Suites hotel where said seminar was taking place. Instead of staff escorting her to a room, Nguyen was met with deflection after deflection when she refused to sit on a toilet to pump. And that could be a really discouraging story — but it's not, because it turns out that Nguyen is kind of a complete badass.
Apparently, Nguyen was given the runaround after refusing to pump the food her baby eats in a room where thousands of bare tushies sit. The reasons the hotel gave for not being able to accommodate the incredibly simple request included pretty easily debunked excuses like "we don't have any rooms available" and the weird assertation that a dirty room is somehow less gross than a bathroom, which is of course where people actually poop.
To all of this, Nguyen had two things for the hotel. Little gifts, if you will. The first was a resounding verbal "fuck you," which you can read in her post below, and the second was a symbolic version of the same.
She decided to just go ahead and pump in the lobby.
Honestly? Good for Nguyen. It gets really, really tiring to try and explain to people that women who have a right to be in a place — and as a paying attendee of the seminar, Nguyen definitely had a right to be at the hotel — have a right to pump or breastfeed there. This is no longer new or groundbreaking information.
So why is all of this encouraging? Well, it's simple, actually. Nguyen wraps up her post by saying: "Do NOT piss off a mama who knows her rights and is a social worker to boot!" And that's the encouragement we should take from this.
More women know their rights now, and no woman should be afraid to let other people know that they do. We hope that Nguyen's refusal to back down and go pump, shamefaced, on a toilet is what other women need to hear to stand up for themselves as well. It's more than a little clichéd to say that knowledge is power, but in this case, it's definitely apt. Every breastfeeding mom should familiarize herself with where she's allowed to pump (that's pretty much everywhere), and no breastfeeding mom should acquiesce to someone who is too lazy, ignorant or immature to bring themselves up to speed.
SheKnows reached out to Embassy Suites regarding the incident, and the corporation is aware of Nguyen's troubles. They provided this statement:
"As a public place accommodation, Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport strives to be welcoming place for our guests and the community we serve. We deeply regret this situation and apologize for the lack of sensitivity shown to this guest. Celebrating mothers and families is a part of our DNA at Embassy Suites by Hilton, and it’s our goal to deliver the very best guest service possible every day."
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