IOWA -- A mother in Iowa became upset when an employee at her local YMCA told her she could not breastfeed her child around others at the facility.
Jessica Houk told WQAD that she took her kids into the child watch area to play and meet new friends. When her daughter Savannah needed to be consoled, she decided to nurse her.
After Houk returned from working out, an employee approached her.
“She’s like, ‘I noticed you were breastfeeding and that’s fine but, if you’re going to do that, I need you to go to the back corner so nobody can see you,’” Houk recalled.
Jessica says she has never had a problem with the YMCA before.
In fact, she says, the employees at the Davenport Family Y have never had a problem with her breastfeeding in public or around children.
However, she knows that what happened to her at the North Family Y is against the law.
Iowa Law #135.30 states, “Not withstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, a woman may breastfeed the woman’s own child in any public place where the woman’s presence is otherwise authorized.”
“It’s just a lot of miscommunication and policies that aren't aligned with one another,” she says.
Houk says more training is needed so policy and employees are on the same page.
On Wednesday, February 26th, 2014, Frank Klipsch IV, Corporate Communications Director and Davenport Family YMCA Center Director with the Scott County Family Y, released this statement:
“The Y has been serving our Quad City community since 1858. We appreciate leaders who carry forward causes that help to make our kids and families healthier and happier. To that end, we are happy to receive feedback and support from organizations like the QC Breastfeeding Coalition and the Family Friendly Business Initiative. Passionate advocates like those who make up these groups are responsible for making our community healthy and strong.
The issue of breastfeeding is pretty simple and clear cut. Not only does the Y of the USA support a mother’s right to breastfeed, but we also look to the CDC, which clearly informs us that breastfeeding is healthy and proven to develop healthy children and strong bonds between parent and child. And beyond these nutritional, psychological and emotional benefits, it’s the law. We are fully aware that it is a mother’s right to breastfeed in any space that the mother herself is welcome.
Like all management issues, we continually work to educate our staff and ensure that we consistently communicate this to our members, volunteers and program participants.”