Breastfeeding Coaches Banned From Volleyball Tournaments With Their Babies

·3 min read

Breastfeeding a baby is a job in itself. Babies don’t like to wait to be fed, when they’re hungry, they’re hungry, and everyone knows a hungry baby is no walk in the park. Breastfeeding parents have to meet the needs of their babies with their own bodies and if those babies are exclusively breastfed, meaning no bottles, where mom goes, so goes the baby. Two breastfeeding volleyball coaches were recently forced to choose between feeding their children and coaching their teams because of a short-sighted COVID rule that would not allow children into the facility.

Dixie Loveless travelled from Utah to Colorado to coach her U-14 volleyball team in a tournament. She brought her 4-month-old baby along with her because she’s a breastfeeding mom, and where mom goes, baby goes. When she arrived at registration, she was unceremoniously refused entry, even though she was the team’s coach.

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“They said I was not allowed in and I couldn’t pass that point with my baby and said if I tried to they would call the police to come and escort me out,” Loveless told NBC News’ Denver affiliate 9News.

The facility rules stated that no spectators under the age of 18 — even nursing infants — were allowed inside the convention center, due to COVID restrictions. But as a coach, not a spectator, Loveless said the organizers never made it clear to her that her daughter would be barred from entering the facility. Instead, Loveless was forced to watch her team compete from outside the building via live stream. Loveless explained to 9News that though she would have preferred to be able to support her team in person.

“All of these girls are seeing this example you are setting — choose work or family,” she told the news outlet. “You can’t be both. You can’t be a mom and have work.

“Now we are being discriminated against that we don’t get to do something everyone else can do just because we are nursing a baby,” she added. “What a horrible example you are setting for our young woman.”

In a separate incident, another coach, Nikita Eby, also told 9News that she and her 2-month-old were also forced to leave the venue back on Mother’s Day.

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“There was no human decency, and it made me feel like a criminal because I was just trying to be a mother,” Eby said.

USA Volleyball, the sport’s national governing body, issued a statement regarding the incidents. “It has been brought to USA Volleyball’s attention that a club coach participating in the Colorado Crossroads tournament in Denver says she was prohibited from bringing her breastfeeding baby into the tournament,” the statement read. “Colorado Crossroads is one qualifier event for the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championship. Colorado Crossroads is not operated or controlled by USA Volleyball and its jurisdiction over the event is limited. USA Volleyball has expressed its disagreement with this decision to the tournament director and is encouraging the tournament to reverse the regulation.”

Both mothers said they hope changes will be made so that breastfeeding parents aren’t discriminated against in the future.

These breastfeeding parents are showing the world that they shouldn’t have to hide while feeding their babies.

Launch Gallery: Brittany Matthews, Emily Ratajkowski & More Celeb Moms Get Painfully Honest About Breastfeeding

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