A breastfeeding mother was surprised when YMCA staff told her she and another mom had to move from the women’s locker room.
Tiffany Hoag was even more bummed out when she was shown where she was expected to nurse her 8-week-old son — a “family locker room” that consisted of a toilet, a shower, a sink and a bunch of dirty towels on the floor. Oh, and she didn’t have anywhere comfortable to sit either.
The incident took place at the Earlywine YMCA in South Oklahoma City. First, Hoag noticed that a staff member confronted another mom who was nursing an infant and escorted her away. Soon after she returned for Hoag, which was when she was led to the undesirable breastfeeding locale.
As you can imagine, this has undermined Hoag’s confidence. This is the first baby she’s nursed, and she doesn’t have a lot of experience nursing in public — she told KFOR that she’s afraid to nurse in public again, and she definitely doesn’t want to go back to this YMCA either.
As with nearly every state in the U.S., women have the protected right to breastfeed their babies anywhere they are allowed to be. The YMCA in question has released the following statement:
“The Y is a place for families, and we support breastfeeding moms in our facilities. We believe this was likely an unfortunate mistake with our staff member misinterpreting our locker room policy, which states that children are not allowed in adult locker rooms. We are looking into this particular incident further with the staff members involved in an effort to ensure that no other moms have this happen in the future. We are very sorry that this new mom had a negative experience and will continue to train our staff to understand that moms can breastfeed anywhere they would like to do so in our facilities.”
The most distressing part of this story is how it made Hoag feel. Nursing a baby, especially for the first time, can sometimes be a rocky road. It’s so sad that she got up the confidence to nurse her baby around others only to be interrupted and marched off to another room while her baby continued to cry.
I hope she can regain her confidence so she will be able to nurse her baby wherever she is and whenever he’s hungry.