After weeks of pleas, moms headed to the Olympics have been granted permission to bring their babies to the summer Games which begin in Tokyo on July 23. These superstar athlete moms from the United States team have been fighting for the Olympic organizers to take into consideration the fact that nursing moms need to be with their children. It seems like a fight that shouldn’t even have to happen, but alas, here we are.
“After careful consideration of the unique situation . . . when necessary nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan,” the Tokyo Olympic committee told NBC News overnight.
But there’s a catch. The committee also declined to allow “athletes’ family members or other companions to accompany them to the games.” Yes, there are COVID-19 restrictions to adhere to, but that also means Olympic breastfeeding moms will need to pump and leave their children with family members or sitters at their hotel, while mom goes off to take part in her events, which likely take a full day.
The statement also adds, “Nursing children must stay in private accommodation, not in the Olympic village.” Oh, so that means these moms won’t be able to stay with their peers, but they can have those family members and companions — who will be key to the equation as caretakers when mom is busy competing — with them at an off-site location.
Got it, Olympics committee.
Before this decision came down over the last 24 hours, Olympic moms like 2020 Olympic trials champion Aliphine Chepkerker Tuliamuk took to Instagram to share the harrowing choice she had to make between being a breastfeeding mother and being an Olympian.
“I had been putting off thinking about Zoe not coming to Tokyo with me for a while now, but I had to start to . . . and I have cried a lot since,” she shared. “I know that I will be leaving her for only 10 days, and she will be just fine, and that so many other moms have done the same, but I can’t even imagine being away from her for half a day. My throat is lumpy. I know that everything I do is a teaching moment for her, I want her to know that even in the face of challenges that she can still follow her passion and prevail, now I need to tell this to myself, that even in the face of challenges like leaving my now five-month-old breastfeeding daughter behind for 10 days to race at the Olympics, I can prevail and show her how to be strong.”
Soccer player Alex Morgan is another mom who has been campaigning for the right to bring their breastfeeding babies to the events.
“It’s important to allow mothers to have the option to have their kids with them when they compete, especially when they’re breastfeeding,” Morgan told NBC.
These other parents are helping to normalize public breastfeeding.