May 18, 2009

Officials: Breastfeed ban misunderstanding

Officials in Nottingham, England, said they will apologize to a woman who was stopped from breastfeeding beside a city pool due to food and drink rules.

Laura Whotton, 26, said she was infuriated when a staff member at the John Carroll Leisure Center, which is run by the city, told her she could not breastfeed her 11-week-old baby next to the pool while watching her 4-year-old son swim due to regulations banning food and drink from the poolside, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

I was feeding a baby; it's the most natural thing in the world and I was made to feel like I was doing something terrible, Whotton said. It could put people off going swimming and has made me not want to go to the John Carroll Leisure Center again.

A Nottingham City Council representative initially said breastfeeding or bottle feeding babies is banned from pools under the food and drink rules, but officials later branded the incident a misunderstanding and promised to issue new guidelines to employees at the center. The officials said Whotton will be receiving a personal apology for the incident.

The rules are that there's definitely no food and drink poolside, but breastfeeding is exempt from that rule. People can breastfeed anywhere, a council spokeswoman said.