Local mom says she was asked to stop breastfeeding baby at local aquatic center

The incident sparked controversy on social media.

WOOD RIVER, ILL. - A mom is asked to stop breastfeeding her baby at a local aquatic center. Now, she has as message for other moms that’s getting a lot of response on social media.   

Thursday afternoon, Brei Theisen was at the Wood River Aquatics Center with her 14-month-old daughter, Ava. Theisen says she got out of the pool to breastfeed, just like she normally would do.

"I was approached by the manager and said that I need to be more discrete or go to a different location because I was offending others and he could not have that happen," Theisen explained.

She says she then went to the next higher up who suggested she breastfeed in the changing area. Theisen said she was more upset than anything.

“At that point, I no longer want to have this conversation anymore, I'm going to leave,” she said to the manager.

The Wood River Parks and Recreation Department released a statement which reads:

“The Wood River Aquatic Center prides itself on being a family-friendly environment. We regret any controversy that was caused by the occurrences yesterday.”

The statement goes on to say: “The Aquatic Center does not discriminate against breastfeeding mothers and allows breastfeeding mothers to nurse their children at our facility in accordance with the law.”

Theisen said she wants other mothers to learn from her experience and to be encouraged to stand up for themselves.

"You shouldn’t be afraid to breastfeed in public,” she said. “But for these situations, it makes it happen, people are afraid to breastfeed."

Theisen took to Facebook to let others know not to be ashamed to breastfeed wherever they might be.

“I shouldn’t have been told to be discrete or cover up because nobody else eats under a cover, especially in 90-degree weather,” Theisen said.

The city’s statement said that managers and staff have been briefed on the law and that it will be incorporated into future training. The city’s statement apologizes to the mother and child for any inconvenience this may have caused them. 

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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