No running, no diving, no breast-feeding

An Ann Arbor YMCA has several bad reasons for why moms can't breast-feed by the pool.

Published January 13, 2006 4:30PM (EST)

Via Pandagon: An Ann Arbor, Mich., YMCA knows it doesn't want women breast-feeding by the pool, but it can't decide quite why. Maybe it's because of the breasts, or maybe it's because of the feeding.

At first, it seemed that the feeding was the problem. The YMCA's senior programs director told Detroit's Local 4 News that nursing mom Kelly Fuks was asked to stop feeding her infant because food and beverages aren't allowed near the pool. Which doesn't make a lot of sense to us. The food and beverage rule is sensible enough; you don't want someone slipping in a puddle of Coke, or for some kid to drop Doritos in the deep end. But breast-feeding isn't quite like sneaking in a snack from the vending machine. Fuks wasn't in danger of accidentally spilling her breast milk on the deck, or leaving a wrapper under her chair. And anyway, if the rule prohibits her from feeding her daughter by the pool, wouldn't it also prohibit Fuks from being near the pool at all? After all, she's still bringing milk into the pool area just by walking into the room.

But never mind -- as it turns out, the "food and beverage" justification was just the YMCA's belated smoke screen for the real reason it didn't want Fuks to breast-feed: The lifeguards couldn't deal with her boobies. Fuks says she was told she couldn't breast-feed near the pool because the practice was "a distraction to the lifeguards."

Come on, moms! Do we have to tell you again? Breasts displayed for sex appeal are fine! But a breast used to feed a hungry child? Put that away, lady; you'll frighten the lifeguards.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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