Mum Ordered To Stop 'Unhygienic' Breastfeeding In Council Pool

14/08/2014 16:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

Mum ordered to stop 'unhygienic' breastfeeding in council pool

A mum was ordered to stop breastfeeding her baby in a swimming pool as the pool attendant branded it 'unhygienic'.

Stephanie Wilby, 22, was standing waist-deep in water in the toddler pool at the Manchester Aquatics Centre feeding her four-month-old baby Leo when the lifeguard told her to stop.

The young mum, who was enjoying a session at the pool with her husband Alan and 17-month-old daughter Harmonie, was allegedly told by the attendant that it was 'not hygienic'.

Stephanie requested that a supervisor be called, but says that they too agreed with the lifeguard and even said security guards would be summoned if she did not stop.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Stephanie claims the pool staff told her that breastfeeding her baby was 'indecent exposure' and similar to someone urinating in the pool.

She added she was left uncomfortable and intimidated after staff shouted at her and threatened to throw her out.

Manchester Council say they are now investigating the incident.

Stephanie, who is currently on maternity leave from her customer services role with British Gas, said they should have 'quietly' asked her to stop.

"I would have still questioned their reasons but it would not have been as inappropriate," she said.

"They made a real scene. They were saying me breastfeeding was indecent exposure but I was covered more than most of the other swimmers.

"One staff member also said he would stop a man urinating in the pool and that is why they did not want me breastfeeding in the water. I should be allowed to breastfeed where I want. I felt humiliated and it was very distressing.

"I even asked about feeding at the side of the pool but they said that was not allowed and said I should go to the changing rooms or toilet."

Local councillor Rosa Battle said they encouraged new mums to use their leisure facilities, and that as a 'breastfeeding mother' herself, expected staff contracted to work for them to 'understand and respect' women's rights to breastfeed in public places.

The pool is run for the council by Serco and Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust. Serco said they will 'fully investigate' and 'where appropriate' amend their policies and 'put in place appropriate training for staff '.

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