Kentucky YMCA director unlawfully discriminated against breastfeeding mother & child, told to cover up or nurse in the bathroom: Apologized

Staff members at the YMCA in Lexington, Kentucky broke state law last week when they told a mother and child they needed to cover up and only breastfeed in the bathroom or locker room. Katherine Warfield Graves Ordonez shared the incident with me:

What is Kentucky’s breastfeeding law?

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 211-755 (2006) permits a mother to breastfeed her baby or express breast milk in any public or private location. Requires that breastfeeding may not be considered an act of public indecency, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching or obscenity. Prohibits a municipality from enacting an ordinance that prohibits or restricts breastfeeding in a public or private place. (2006 SB 106)

The full version of the law:

211.755 Breast-feeding permitted — Municipal ordinances not to prohibit or
restrict — Interference prohibited.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, a mother may breast-feed her
baby or express breast milk in any location, public or private, where the mother
is otherwise authorized to be. Breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk
as part of breast-feeding shall not be considered an act of public indecency
and shall not be considered indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching,
or obscenity.
(2) A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a mother
breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk in a public or private location
where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. In a municipal
ordinance, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching, obscenity, and
similar terms do not include the act of a mother breast-feeding a child in a
public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized
to be.
(3) No person shall interfere with a mother breast-feeding her child in any location,
public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.

Clearly, these YMCA employees directly broke the law and interfered with Katherine and her baby’s basic human and legal right to breastfeed. Why are there laws to protect breastfeeding families? Because breastfeeding, the biological norm, has been recognized as critically important for our species by all of the major health organizations. When mothers are shamed for doing what is recommended, it hurts their chances of meeting their own breastfeeding goals, results in unnecessary expenses and health concerns, and considering Kentucky has the second lowest breastfeeding rate in the entire United States according to the CDC’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card, this YMCA in Lexington needs to stand up and support moms instead of denigrating them.

**Update**

The executive director apologized to Katherine and promised to train staff. However, continued mistreatment and unlawful action against mothers and children by a major organization is unacceptable. Why can’t YMCA train staff nationwide?

How can you help?

Contact the offending YMCA location and let them know how their appropriate response is appreciated. Contact corporate and respectfully inform them of your disapproval of these repeated offenses nationwide. Feel free to suggest that they send out a nationwide memo to inform all staff of the law, promise to update their employee handbook to include proper breastfeeding handling, employee training upon hire, and put up the international breastfeeding logo in all gym front doors, just like Barnes & Noble did. These are simple, honest, easy steps to try to prevent this from happening at any of their facilities again.

YMCA Beaumont

3251 Beaumont Centre Cir, Lexington, KY 40513
(859) 219-9622
Contact information online.
Email Diane Nicely District, Executive Director: dnicely@ymcaofcentralky.org
Dominique Beard, Youth & Family Director: dbeard@ymcaofcentralky.org
Facebook - Twitter

Or contact corporate headquarters:
Email: Fulfillment@ymca.net
800-872-9622 Domestic | 312-977-0031 International
Feedback site: http://apps.ymca.net/contact-us/site-feedback.html

I personally would love to see the international breastfeeding logo in all YMCA locations nationwide, just as Barnes & Noble did earlier this year, and this poster. I am certain mothers would appreciate the support, in turn helping raise the breastfeeding rates, and others would be reminded to follow the law.

[Poster by Family Friendly Business]

What do you think of this mistreatment of Katherine and her infant? How do you think the YMCA should respond to this incident?

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or comment below.

If you experienced discrimination while breastfeeding at a pool or YMCA, please fill out this survey at Survey Monkey.

 

Related

American Airline’s breastfeeding policy still puts breastfeeding mothers in the hot seat

Breastfeeding on the plane. It seems like it shouldn’t be a big deal, right? But why is it causing new moms stress, wondering if they’re going to be harassed for merely meeting their children’s needs?

Jessica Rozier‎ shared this note with me this week about American Airline’s breastfeeding policy.

“I emailed AA about their breastfeeding policy because we were flying this weekend for vacation with our 2 month old. I wanted to have something in writing in case an inexperienced flight attendant asked me not to nurse on the flight. Here is the “policy” they have. Notice how it’s more to “protect” other passengers more than the mother.

“We appreciate your inquiry about breastfeeding during flight. Our inflight procedures advise our crew to ensure that mothers breastfeeding their children have the privacy they need and that other customers are not subjected to an uncomfortable situation. Our inflight personnel are trained to handle such situations with professionalism and discretion.”

This response is pretty consistent to what they said last fall when a flight attendant told a breastfeeding mother to cover up. There was a nurse-in and American never really fixed the wording on their policy.

What do you think of American Airlines breastfeeding policy? Sounds good or needs some work? Let them know!

Write on their Facebook page wall: American Airlines
Tweet @AmericanAir

Have you ever breastfed on an airplane? How about on American? Do you think AA should revise their breastfeeding policy?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

 

Related:

Villasport Gym in Texas discriminated against breastfeeding mother & child

An athletic club and spa in Texas, Villasport Woodlands, discriminated against a mother and child this week, telling the mother breastfeeding wasn’t allowed in the locker room, only in private locker rooms. Villasport claims the mother moved happily but the mother actually felt humiliated, moving in the middle of a nursing session due to harassment. All for what? Feeding her baby? Doing something that is recommended, healthy, supported by law? This is not okay.

Villasport responded to the public outcry against them on Twitter this afternoon, claiming they were justified in their actions because children under 13 were not allowed in the locker room and they have specific family rooms where breastfeeding is allowed. To me, it doesn’t make sense. Why the segregation? What is wrong with a child being nourished and comforted by their mother, when and where their needs should be met? Why does this business think they don’t need to follow the law?

Let this business know that mistreatment of families is not acceptable, especially when Texas backs breastfeeding. Texas Health Code Ann. § 165.002 (1995) authorizes a woman to breastfeed her child in any location. Clearly, their policy needs a little revision to comply with state law.

Villasport The Woodlands
4141 Technology Forest Blvd, Spring, TX 77381
Phone:(832) 585-0822
Write on their Facebook page wall: Villasport The Woodlands
Tweet @VillaSportTW

Have you ever breastfed at the gym or in the locker room? How should Villasport respond?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

 

Related:

Happy 9 Months, Quint!

It’s official. Time is going at warp speed. Seriously. Are you feeling it, too? All of October just blew by. I feel like I hardly posted at all this last month but I sure ate a lot of pumpkin and goofed off outside with my kids a ton. Did anyone miss me? I’ve been very active on Facebook but posts, eh, not so much. They do take a long time, really. Anyway, we were busy soaking up the beautiful weather this month and then my family got hit with germs at the end of the month, one by one. I’m consoling my little Quint right now as I type this. I’m still hoping it’ll skip me though. November is going to be a big month as well. My eldest is turning 5 (what?!) in less than 3 weeks, Quint is now a solid 9 months old, and of course, there is Thanksgiving.

On to my update for Quint. Happy 9 months, baby boy! Here’s a photo of my drooling, sleepy son on the couch today.

I couldn’t figure out what his deal was all morning, why he was drooling a ton, feverish, and biting my nipple repeatedly for the first time. He was pretty inconsolable this morning from waking until after noon, requiring constant skin to skin, but he didn’t want to breastfeed. That was a big red flag for me. He fell asleep while I was wearing him in my Ergo or sitting like this with him every half hour it seemed.

Finally, I felt his gums and sure enough, he cut his very first tooth! I’d share a photo but he was crying in all of the ones where you can see it so I’ll spare you the heart break. But he was still able to play through the pain most of the time when he was awake.

He continues to bring such joy to everyone in our family. My girls do whatever they can to help him, keep him from harm, and play with with him. They crawl around next to him on their hands and knees and everyone giggles up a storm.

He’s still all about standing, cruising, and letting go, standing unassisted. I think this might be the month he’ll start taking a step. But if he wants to wait another month or two, that’s fine by me.

Well, it’s bedtime now so I’ll write more later when I have time.

What was your little one up to at 9 months? When did your baby pop their first tooth? When did they start walking?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below!

 

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10-minute Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Brownie Balls

As I was putting my baby to sleep, I started craving chocolate brownies. But I wasn’t in the mood to bake anything or spend more than 10 minutes standing, really. So as soon as I slipped downstairs, I opened my pantry, poured some ingredients I had handy into my mini food processor, balled it up, and voila!

Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Brownie Balls

Ingredients

Directions

Put all of the ingredients except the coconut into your food processor and pulse until creamy but not too smooth, so the are nuts still visible, crunchy when you eat the balls. Spoon out and roll in a little bowl with the coconut. I made 10 small balls.

Again, if you know me, you know I don’t really measure as I make so repeat at your own risk. But I don’t know how you can mess these up. Add more if you want to make more. You can make them all raw or vegan with maple syrup or coconut palm sugar if you’d like, but I just used what I had. I know my girls will love these and I won’t feel bad at all giving them one in the morning. Protein, right?

What’s your favorite fast chocolate recipe?

Join the conversation on TwitterFacebook, or comment below!

 

Related

Burlington Coat Factory employees harassed breastfeeding mom and child in Colorado

Burlington Coat Factory employees harassed a breastfeeding mom and child in Littleton, Colorado. This is Aislynn Major’s story, which she shared on a breastfeeding support group on Facebook.

What’s the law?

Colorado Rev. Stat. § 25-6-301 and § 25-6-302 (2004) recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and encourage mothers to breastfeed.  The law also allows a mother to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.  (SB 88)

Send Burlington a message to let them know, respectfully, that their employees broke the law, an apology is necessary, and training needs to happen. Yelling at a mother for feeding her baby, following the law, is unacceptable.

Offending location:
8055 W Bowles Ave #1A, Littleton, CO 80123
Call (303) 948-6330

Corporate
Tweet @Burlington
Write on their Facebook page wall
Call 888-223-2628, press 2
Message corporate on their website

If you’re local, please attend the nurse-in scheduled in Littleton, Monday October 13th at 4:30. Join the Facebook event page for more details.

Have you ever breastfed while shopping? How about in a Burlingtons? How should they respond?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

 

Related:

Breastfeeding accommodations for Memphis moms on jury duty found unacceptable

Memphis, Tennessee: The Shelby County Jury Commission Room offered breastfeeding moms this bathroom, a tiny stall with a toilet with no lid, nothing at all for them to set their things down on or sit on. A breastfeeding mother who went there for jury duty snapped these photos and they went viral.

[Screen shot from WMC Action News]

Shelby County government spokesperson Steve Shular was interviewed saying that they didn’t realize their chosen location, this bathroom, was not up to par until they were called out on social media. Shular said they’d have that changed by Monday.

What’s the law?

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq. (2006, 2011) permits a mother to breastfeed in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding.  Specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency as defined by § 39-13-511; or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct as defined in § 39-17-901.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-305 (1999) requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. (1999 Tenn. Law, Chap. 161; SB 1856)

My thoughts

Time and time again, I am shocked that people actually think a bathroom is the proper place for a mother to pump or feed her baby. I am saddened to hear it took a little public backlash for them to realize their error. They are a place that should know the laws. One five-second Google search produces the laws on what is and is not an acceptable place for a breastfeeding mother to pump. And call me grumpy, I’m not sure why it’d take a half a week or more to move those laughable printed and taped up paper signs to the new place, a former break lounge, so mothers can breastfeed or pump while not sitting on a toilet, but I’m glad they’re moving in the right direction now.

If you would like to contact someone to let them know how their turn-around makes you feel, contact Clyde Carson, Jury Coordinator. Office phone: (901) 222-1650, 157 Poplar Avenue, Rm. 136, Memphis, TN  38103.

Keep everyone honest, ladies. If something doesn’t seem right, it’s probably not. Breastfeed and pump with pride. Don’t settle for breastfeeding or pumping on a toilet!

Have you ever pumped while on jury duty? What would you do if you saw these accommodations as a place to feed or pump for your child?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

 

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