A woman is speaking out after she says a lifeguard asked her to stop breastfeeding her son in public at an Indiana water park.
Kayla Britton took to Facebook on July 13 after she spent a day at Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center in Kokomo, Ind. The mother of four said a lifeguard at the city-operated water park asked her to stop nursing her child in public — which she says is “breastfeeding shaming.”
“It is the law that anywhere I’m allowed to be I’m allowed to feed my child,” Britton wrote. “That’s discrimination.”
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, a woman is allowed to breastfeed her child “anywhere the law allows her to be.”
Britton tells Yahoo Lifestyle that a lifeguard called her out for breastfeeding in public on July 12, telling her, “Ma’am you’re not allowed to breastfeed out here — you need to go to the locker room to do that.”
“I paused because I was taken aback,” she said. “I said ‘Uh ...no?’ and walked away.”
While Britton is upset that staff at the water park did not respect her rights as a mother, City of Kokomo officials claim the employee only spoke out in concern that nursing in pool water might prove a safety risk to both Britton and her child.
Representatives from the city did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment but released an official statement about the incident.
"The City of Kokomo recognizes and respects a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere the woman has a right to be. In this situation, the woman was in the pool, with her newborn, and fully exposed. Concerned there may be safety issues for the mother and her newborn, including the child possibly ingesting chemicals from the pool water, the lifeguard suggested the mother consider nursing in the room that is available onsite for breastfeeding mothers. The woman responded ‘no,’ and that she would do it anywhere she wanted. That was the end of the interaction."
However, Britton says she never fed her child while any part of his body touched the water, calling the statement a “bold-faced lie.”
She adds that she was also never directed to a “room that is available onsite for breastfeeding mothers,” as the statement details. According to Britton, the lifeguard asked her to go to a locker room — and says the water park doesn’t have a breastfeeding room.
It is unclear whether the water park has a room onsite dedicated to nursing mothers, but Kokomo Beach rules indicate that a family changing room is available to parents and their children.
Britton says it’s “crazy” to her that no one has reached out to her following the incident.
“They were in the wrong 110% and it's crazy that not only have they not apologized to me, but they have made up lies about me to cover their business,” she says.
She hopes that this experience serves as a wake-up call for leadership at the water park to educate their staff better about the “laws and rights” surrounding breastfeeding so that other nursing mothers don’t have to experience what she went through at the water park.
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