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After previously being unable to due to strict COVID safety protocols, athletes can now bring their kids for nursing purposes while competing in Tokyo for the delayed 2020 Olympic Games.
In a statement Wednesday, according to Today and Reuters, event organizers announced that an exception would be made for the no-family-and-friends rule for those moms who are breastfeeding their children.
"Given that the Tokyo 2020 Games will take place during a pandemic, overall we must unfortunately decline to permit athletes' family members or other companions to accompany them to the Games. However, after careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with nursing children, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan," read the statement.
They added that there will be "private accommodation" and that the kids will not be allowed in the Olympic or Paralympic Village, where it's only for approved athletes and teams.
Additionally, the International Olympic Committee told Today that the Olympians can "bring a caretaker or a partner to help them out."
Prior to the decision, several athletes who are also moms spoke out about being apart from their children during their nursing stage.
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Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Alex Morgan with her daughter Charlie after the NWSL soccer match between the Orlando Pride and the NY/NJ Gotham FC on June 20, 2021, at Explorer Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
In a recent conversation with PEOPLE before the breastfeeding exception was announced, soccer star Alex Morgan, who welcomed her first baby, daughter Charlie, in May 2020, said barring kids from accompanying athletes was "really disappointing."
"I'm still holding out hope til the very last day," she said at the time, hoping for the rule to be reversed. "I haven't been without my daughter for more than three days since she was born, given that she's only 13 months old. So it would be an incredibly difficult time as a new mom to be going to the Olympics without her."
"I completely understand that right now the goal is to save lives. The goal is to make sure that we all stay healthy. So for me, it's trying not to just think of myself in this situation," added Morgan, who turns 32 on Friday. "... I think as of right now, it is really disappointing, but I also am trying to understand the entirety of the Olympics still even being able to occur during a pandemic."
Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher shared a video plea on Instagram earlier this month asking for help in changing the restrictions. She is currently breastfeeding her 3-month-old daughter Sophie, whom she welcomed in March.
Aliphine Tuliamuk also opened up about being "torn" having to choose between competing and breastfeeding her daughter Zoe, 5 months. The long-distance runner, 32, wrote on Instagram Sunday, "I have been working my butt off since having my daughter, I want to produce the best result possible, my long runs & workouts are coming together nicely, body is holding together well."
"I had been putting off thinking about Zoe not coming to Tokyo with me for a while now, but I had to start to, at team processing a week ago in Eugene, and I have cried a lot since," the mom continued.
"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."