Posted by: Jennifer | November 7, 2008

The Newmarket Era

While I was regrettably unable to attend the nurse-in today at the Aquacentre in Newmarket, I was interviewed by a reporter covering the story for The Newmarket Era.  I provided information regarding breastfeeding discrimination, what a nurse-in is, and nursing and swimming pool safety.  I am excited to see what comes from the article.

I will update with information on the nurse-in as soon as I hear anything.

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Responses

  1. the mother was in the water. If you are releasing a press release get your facts right. What kind of mother would put their child in a situation where they might ingest publically used water. Also, this action is against all public health regulations regarding food and bodily fluids in the pool.
    What’s next, a woman bottle feeding in the pool. Come on lady. Don’t be so lazy. Get out of the pool to feed your child.
    Let’s see if this sight is decent. The other biased sites keep deleting my comments. What is this world coming to.

  2. Thanks for your post, Joanne. I hope you stick around and read. I have no problems with different opinions because I think it gives us an opportunity to dialogue and learn from each other. I do not accept insulting people specifically (in this case Cinira). Please be mindful of that.

    The mother who was discriminated against, Cinira, was told to leave the pool area completely and move to the changerooms.

    Joanne, you stated:

    “Also, this action is against all public health regulations regarding food and bodily fluids in the pool.”

    This is incorrect. First of all breastfeeding mothers are protected from this as I understand it, in both the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which gives nursing moms the right to breastfeed anytime and anywhere. Second of all, there is no scientific evidence that supports that breastmilk is a contaminated substance. There are actually no documents that state that breastfeeding is against any health regulations at all.

    Are you aware that pregnant women lactate, that nursing women who are not breastfeeding in that instance are still lactating, and that women who have nursed can still be lactating years after they still nursed. If a rule were to state that no breastmilk could be in the pool ever, then all pregnant and nursing women, including women who have nursed in the past two years, would have to be excluded from swimming. That seems a little ridiculous, yes?

    ETA: Regarding the mother nursing in the pool and her child injesting pool water, as I understand it, the mother was sitting on the steps of the pool and her daughter was not in the position to injest pool water at all.

  3. is there a document from the ministry of health that states your point. I would love to see this paper.
    In this situation I really am not worried about the mothers feelings but the childs health.
    As I understand she again wanted to go into the pool on Friday to breastfeed in the pool when there is enough research that states the harmful effects of pool water when ingested by children.
    As for leaving the pool area, the owner has repeated in her responses to me and other people who support her in her fight for safe and hygenic
    swimming for all has stated “she offered locations in the pool that have comfortable chairs. Maybe her mistake was not offering the cold cement floor
    around the pool deck”. I am sure she was being respectful of the mother and child. I would see no need to sit on a cold cement floor to breastfeed my child with a breast covered by pee and what ever else that lives in pool water. I would get out of the water , rinse or wipe my breast, sit in a comfortable place, and enjoy the moment with my little one. Far enough away so that the pool water would NEVER splash even accidently in the mouth of the one person I was put on this earth to protect.

  4. regarding human rights, in your own emails back and forth to each other on the yahoo group forum (which carol Anne brockling (??spelling) closed off after my long letter to her) your people spoke to contacts at the human rights commission and they stated that ministry of health regulations come first. Again in your own site you state that the manager of the ministy of health in Newmarket has said breastfeeding in the pool is not safe but it is ok around the pool deck. These were the written words of the mom. Which I have kept and will forward to the owner and to my own media contacts. Why would any mother still want to breastfeed in the pool when she heard first hand from the MANAGER of the health department that it is NOT SAFE.

    I have sat back and watched your group try to use the Internet and the media to take down a true fighter for equal rights far too long.

    ARE YOU THE MOTHER IS NOT DOING THIS FOR MONEY OR MEDIA ATTENTION. Some of your people have been regulars at protests and have been in contact with the human rights commission for years. Carol Anne, pam and her husband to name a few.

    Also, dr. Alan Newman , you should be ashamed of yourself for getting involved. You as a medical professional should have thought of the child and had never published your coorespondences with the owner online. Shame on you.

    Now, let’s see if carol Anne can open up her group and let us ALL voice our opinions.

  5. Joanne, there is a lot here that I will respond to. I need to do some things first so bear with me as I will respond to you.

    A few things to keep in mind:

    1. The yahoo group is not my group. I belong to it, but I did not own or run the group. The group was not a debate group.

    2. Dr. JACK Newman is one of the world’s most respected breastfeeding experts. I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to comments online.

  6. 1. The pool steps are INSIDE the pool. What are you saying now…. The child could not have been splashed by another child and that the mother did not have dirty pool water on her breast.

    2. Dr Newman being a medical professional should have honered the etical guidelines of his profession and NOT posted his emails online. Completely conduct unbecoming of a physician. I wonder what his governing body will think of this.

    3. Is dr Newman as educated on pool water safety. Or was he just fighting a one sided argument

    4. What are dr. Newman views on cleanliness of the breast prior to feeding your child. Keep in mind that the mother was swimming in the water prior to breastfeeding her baby.

    5. Does dr. Newman feels that the few minutes it would have taken the mother to get out of the pool would have harmed the growth and development of the child as much as the possibility of ingesting a parasite from the pool water.

    6. How do I know about dr. Newmans comments and the owners email responses to his… They were posted on the yahoo group . Which I have hard copies of as well.

  7. Joanne,

    I am not Dr. Newman, nor do I have any affiliation with him. I do however have a great deal of respect for him as a doctor and as a champion of breastfeeding. Any questions for Dr. Newman should be directed to him, not to me or my blog.

    I am also not Pam or Carol-Anne. Any questions for them will have to be directed to them. If they choose not to communicate with you, then that is their right. I will also not have you use this blog as a means of posting derogatory messages to any people.

    You have been warned. Any further posts that are derogatory to any people will be either removed or censored.

    Now to address your points:

    “is there a document from the ministry of health that states your point. I would love to see this paper.”

    I am not aware of any documents from the Ministry of Health. If you are interested in their position on this matter, then I suggest that you contact the ministry yourself. The onus is not on me on this one. The press release that was put out points to several sources that may ease your mind. I will repost for you:

    Ms. Karkouti was contacted and informed about the Human Rights Code as outlined above by providing her with said document. At that point, her justification changed from that of a patron complaint to a concern that breastmilk is a bodily fluid and breastfeeding would lead to contamination and fouling the pool. Later she went further to say that it is a pool rule that no food or drink is allowed in the pool or on the deck. Once again she was provided with information that dispelled this myth (Breastfeeding at Municipal Pools in Canada:A Report from the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton August 16, 2002.).

    Ms. Longuinho contacted the York Region public health department and the Safe Pools Program which is responsible for pool inspections. Both managers for these departments informed her that there are no written policies prohibiting breastfeeding in pools or stating that they will lead to contamination and fouling of the pool. The Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton report also explored information gathered from the Centre for Disease Control, The World Health Organization and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Within the report it states, “The fact that no where can you find any mention of breastmilk as a contaminant of pool water probably speaks the loudest. It just isn’t a problem, so no one needs to write about it. As far as breastmilk goes, “No Food or Drink in the Pool” rules are inapplicable and unnecessary.”(page 18)

    Furthermore, the city of Edmonton changed their policy on breastfeeding in pools as the result of this extensive 50 page report. This report explores, in great depth, the concerns raised that pool water may become contaminated with breastmilk, feces and spit up. It concludes that “No real risks were uncovered, at least no risks any greater than pool operators already encounter on a day-to-day basis in dealing with formula-fed babies, toddlers and young children.” (page 19). (http://www.breastfeedingalberta.ca/files/BMPC-MainDoc.pdf)

    Joanne, you stated:

    “As I understand she again wanted to go into the pool on Friday to breastfeed in the pool when there is enough research that states the harmful effects of pool water when ingested by children”

    I do not think you see the fallacy in your argument. The mother was not breastfeeding her child underwater. She was sitting on the steps of a pool, feeding her child. For your argument to have any merit, Joanne, you would have to ban all children from the water as all children will ingest, through the act of swimming, small amounts of water. This is not about the mother’s feelings at all – it is about her RIGHTS. It is also not about the child’s health either. She was not underwater and not ingesting pool water (at least not anymore than any other child or baby who swims).

    You stated:

    “As for leaving the pool area, the owner has repeated in her responses to me and other people who support her in her fight for safe and hygenic
    swimming for all has stated “she offered locations in the pool that have comfortable chairs. Maybe her mistake was not offering the cold cement floor
    around the pool deck”. I am sure she was being respectful of the mother and child. I would see no need to sit on a cold cement floor to breastfeed my child with a breast covered by pee and what ever else that lives in pool water. I would get out of the water , rinse or wipe my breast, sit in a comfortable place, and enjoy the moment with my little one. Far enough away so that the pool water would NEVER splash even accidently in the mouth of the one person I was put on this earth to protect.”

    Women in Canada are protected from being asked to stop nursing. When the owner of the Aquacentre asked the nursing mother to stop, she violated the civil rights of the nursing mother. The owner may have attempted to use sanitation as a reason, but this has been debunked. And if you are concerned that not even a SPASH of water get in the mouth of the one perosn you want to protect, then I hope that you never take your children swimming. Ever.

    I see no record of the emails that you are speaking about regarding pool safety over human rights. There was a lot of clarification going on back and forth and in the end, it was quite clear that breastfeeding was ok. Again, I would be interested to see your information.

    “I have sat back and watched your group try to use the Internet and the media to take down a true fighter for equal rights far too long.”

    Who is this true fighter of equal rights that you are speaking about?

    I have no idea what you are talking about regarding Dr. Newman’s emails being posted online. I would also be very careful what you say, Joanne. You behaviour is bordering on libel.

    Why are you doing this Joanne? Are you a mother? Do you have some sort of a stake in this?

    From what I have gathered from your posts, you do not support any child swimming in any pool because of the chance that they may ingest pool water in some way. You also consider pools dirty and unhygenic places so I assume that you do not swim either.

  8. first thing my children were taught during their first swimming lesson was to blow bubbles and NOT TO DRINK THE POOL WATER.

    Does the Edmonton ruling govern Ontario pool?

    I will scan all the online posting between members that include the moms own notes for people to discuss on their own.

    I thought this was a public forum to discuss this issue . Let’s see if you will allow someone who does NOT AGREE with your views voice her opinions. I wonder how many other views that don’t promote you ideas have you deleted already.

  9. Joanne,

    I have not deleted any post, nor have I censored anything, including yours – at this point. So far, you are the only person to post who is not in agreement.

    This is not a public forum, this is my blog. I own the blog and author all posts. This blog is for my opinions. I have invited discussion and people are welcome to participate and discuss, but as I have said before, this is not a place to post personal attacks against other people.

    Please do scan these online postings as I have no clue what you mean. Is there an actual website or do you mean emails.

    Of course the Edmonton ruling does not govern Ontario pools, however it does set a clear precident.

    As for swimming, I was a swim instructor and a lifeguard for about six years less than 10 years ago. Do you not think that when kids blow bubbles that SOME of that water gets into their mouths? Try it sometime. As for babies and younger kids, they may do their best to blow bubbles, but they are babies and small kids, they are going to get water in their mouths. If you are looking out for the safety of kids, then perhaps you should think about having pools closed for people under a certain age.

  10. Hmm..

    Ok.. so pools have “harsh chemicals” as one person put it.. and now are unhygienic etc..

    SO.. even if someone were somehow not to get a single millimeter of pool water in their mouth.. well. lets see there are other ways of having the water and it’s consituents get into your body. .. up your nose, in your ears, in your eyes, and lets not forget the human bodies biggest organ, the skin, which absorbs pretty much everything we put on it…. or expose it too.. including pool water and what’s in it…

    now breastmilk in pools… lets see.. not only do nursing mothers continue to lactate between feedings, but also, after the discontinuation of nursing, sometimes up to two years or more. People on medications can lactate due to the medication, some people with certain medical conditions can lactate even though not nursing or pregnant.. oh this includes men too.. pubescent girls can lactate due to hormonal fluxes.. AND pregnant women also start lactating and can there fore leak into the pool… Isn’t the owner of the Aquacentre pregnant herself??

    Banning breastfeeding from pools or pool decks under the concept of either the bodily fluids or food/drink comments, will not only isolate breastfeeding mothers, but newborns, pregnant women, no longer nursing mothers, people on medications, or those who eat certain herbs and plants, some people with medical conditions.. this is obviously a lot bigger than just a breastfeeding issue… it is about lactation now.. and more than nursing moms lactate…

    The basic issue is that this woman’s human rights under the law were infringed upon.. plain and simple.. it has nothing to do with health and safety as there are NO laws etc about breastfeeding in a pool or on a pool deck.. It is a simple case of Human Rights Code violation…

  11. I don’t agree with the mother that she was discriminated against. Why?

    First I looked at the motivations of the pool owner (and I did contact her myself for her version of events). She has to uphold the safety standards of the Ministry of Health that govern how she runs her pool. These safety standards say “no bodily fluids”. Breastmilk is a bodily fluid and I can see the concern about getting it into the pool. She said that she would change her policy if the Ministry changed theirs. Ever hear of the saying “don’t shoot the messenger”? I believe she offered the change room, not to hide the mother away, but because she honestly thought that would be the most comfortable place for her to nurse her baby. I truly believe that if she was nursing on the pool deck and instead of in the water, there would not have been any problem.

    Then I looked at the motivations of the mother. First of all, what kind of mother would think that nursing in a pool is a good idea? There is no legislation on this because I think reasonable people would not consider nursing in the pool a reasonable thing to do. The thought never occurred to the persons that make up the policy so there is no specific language. Second, why would she let her baby scream while she continued swimming? What harm would have come to the baby to actually go and feed her compared to denying her baby the breast? This seems very contradictory to saying her right to breastfeed is violated, when she refuses to breastfeed in the first place. Third, if she felt so “humiliated”, why would she then do it again, this time inviting the media along to document the whole thing? Fourth, compare her first email with the press release. Notice how certain details are missing from her press release to make her case stronger? I read the newsgroup posts too (thanks for providing the link), and I was astounded that she would be upset that she couldn’t work on this action because her kid was crying. To me, her motives seem to be more about getting attention to the cause of “anytime, anywhere”, then to actually take care of her child. The point of breastfeeding is to provide for a child, not to have an excuse to promote a political agenda and get your 15 minutes of fame.

    Yes, there is evidence that pool water is not unsafe for baby and that breastmilk does not cause harm to pool patrons, however, BOTH the mother and the pool owner were not aware of this before the incident. The mother went looking for this information to support her cause.

    In Ontario there are exceptions to “anytime, anywhere” if “it creates serious health and safety hazards” [http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/pregnancy]. So there is your documentation of how the rights of others can trump the rights of the breastfeeding mother. Of course, you can debate whether breastfeeding in a pool is a “serious” hazard or not, but that’s not the point. There are exceptions to the “anytime, anywhere” rule.

    For the record. I am currently breastfeeding TWO children, a toddler and a 7 month old baby. I breastfeed my babies because I believe that is what is best for MY babies (the breast may not be best for all mother/child pairs and that is OK too). I have breastfed in many public places, including the local pool. I would feed my oldest daughter (my youngest is too young for swimming, I do believe there should be an age limit, but apply it myself. Also, it would be difficult for me to supervise both children so it will probably be awhile before I take both children) either before a swim, or after, in the change room, because that’s where I had access to clean water to wash my hands, shower after swimming, and a quiet place so that she wouldn’t be distracted from the noise of others at the pool.

    And why am I doing this? I think it is disgusting that someone would gang up on a pregnant woman to create a scenario to promote their cause. I think the mother found “discrimination” because she was looking for it, and not because it actually occurred.

  12. check out breastfeeding123.com

    Maybe they get more hits than you

    I hope she does not back off this battle you have started….. For the sake of my children.

  13. and thank you for keeping your site fair.

  14. Tahena,

    Excellent post! I agree with what you said!

  15. Joanne,

    I do not understand your last two posts. Why are you bringing up another site? What battle and how does this impact on your children?

  16. Kelly,

    Thanks for joining in the discussion! Good for you for tandem nursing your two kiddos! That’s hard work!

    With respect to your first paragraph, legally, the owner could not tell Cinira to go to a changeroom. If she sincerely thought, at the time, that there was a contamination issue, she could have asked the mother to nurse on steps, but to ask her to leave the pool area or to cover up or to go elsewhere is discrimination. As per this article: http://www.yorkregion.com/News/Newmarket/article/84096 when people went back to the pool on Friday, the owner denied them entry – and that again is discrimination.

    As for your second paragraph, I think that people need to be aware that this mother was nursing while sitting on the steps of the pool. As for your other points, it is difficult to know what to do when you have been discriminated against. To pick apart every action that Cinira did while the incident occurred is not productive. She was discriminated against, and did not know how to react. And while she felt humiliated, she wants to go back to teach the owner and to show the public that discriminating against nursing mothers is NOT ok.

    Regarding legislation, the reverse very well could be true. Breastmilk is not substance that people need to be protected from. It does not foul a pool in the way that urine or feces do so no one thought to have to include it in legislation. I would assume that no reasonable person knows not to deficate in a pool, and yet there is literature and legislation on that.

    As for the motivations of the mother – she was discriminated against. She wants this not to happen to anyone else. She gets nothing from this – no money, etc. All that happens ideally is that people get educated and no one is discriminated against again. Would you say the same thing about religions discrimination? And as for the mother going to look for the information after the fact – of course she did. She wanted to find out the most accurate information!

    The section of the Ontario Human Rights Code that you quoted regarding anytime, anywhere and health and safety is with respect to working conditions for an employer and employee.

    Oh and thank-you for making an excellent point about breast not being the best for everyone. You are very right – breastfeeding is NOT the best – it is the biological norm, the standard to which all other infant feeding substances are judged against. There is no best about breast
    feeding at all, just inferiority of other feeding substances.

    I think it’s digusting that someone ganged up on a nursing mother and discriminated against her because she was nursing.

  17. From your comments, I think you are seeing the issue from the point of view of a lactivist where breastfeeding is something that needs to be fought for, for the good of the public. I’m seeing the issue from the point of view of a mother, where breastfeeding is something that nourishes the child for the good of the child.

    I’m not a hero for tandem nursing my babies. I don’t need or want your praise. Tandem nursing is what happens when you have a second baby before the first one is weaned. Both babies need their “mommy’s milk”, so that’s what a mother does. To not meet that need and to deny a baby breastmilk to make a point just seems wrong to me. As a lactivist, not to stand up to the right to breastfeed seems wrong to you.

    I think a key word here, that you are missing, is ALLEGED. The discrimination has not been proven. I read this case with interest. It is from Manitoba, so a little different rules than Ontario, but still interesting to see what a tribunal does with an alleged breastfeeding discrimination case. The mother alleged she was discriminated because the owner of an antique store asked her to not breastfeed in a very expensive antique chair. Instead he asked her to move to a more private location. The case was dismissed. Here is the link so you can read it yourself: http://www.gov.mb.ca/hrc/english/publications/morriseau.html

    So just because she was asked to move to the change room, does not guarantee that it was discrimination. The judge in the above case said asking the mother to move to the more discreet location of a courtyard was not discrimination. The motivation for the move was fear that the chair would be damaged and the owners thought the mother would be more comfortable in the courtyard. Although the judge didn’t really buy the expensive chair excuse, he was convinced that the store owners motivation was not to discriminate. The case was dismissed.

    The pool owner’s version states that she did raise the health issue BEFORE asking the mother to not nurse IN the pool. Perhaps, the mother did not hear that as it doesn’t appear in her story, or perhaps it was modified later. That’s not for me to decide, although I tend to believe the pool owner. I suspect that a lifeguard noticed the woman breastfeeding, was aware of the right to breastfeed in public as well as the health and safety issue and asked his/her boss for clarification (the complaint that the mother refers to?) and that’s why the owner approached her and not a lifeguard. I also believe that the mother was not told to go to the change room but offered to go to the change room since it was more comfortable than the hard, cold, wet cement of the pool deck. This was confirmed by comments made by the participants in the newsgroup.

    The whole point is that she was sitting on the steps of the pool. If she had been anywhere else in the facility, I don’t think the pool owner would have said anything. She was not ganged up on. She was quietly asked to move by the owner. She continued to enjoy her time at the pool. If she at all felt threatened, she would not have stayed in the pool. She would not go back to that pool again (I’m sure GTA has LOTS of pools to choose from. I hear the YMCA has their act together after they got slapped on the wrist for their mistake).

    If the pool was contaminated with breastmilk (and remember we are working on the assumption, at the time, that breastmilk was dangerous. New information has shown that isn’t true, but it was true to the owner at that time), it would be HER EMPLOYEES that would have to clean up the mess and be exposed to a perceived health risk. By allowing the woman to nurse IN the pool, in her mind at the time, would have exposed her employees to a health risk, and that would trump the right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime.

    I think the owner had every right to turn the protesters away when they went back yesterday. They weren’t there to swim, they were there to cause trouble, ahem, “raise awareness”. They didn’t have the babies on the boob when they walked up to the door. They were also told that they could nurse within the facilities, if needed, just not in the pool for health reasons. And again, the protesters twisted the scenario to make their point..to set the pool owner up for “alleged” discrimination.

    I have been approached 4 times to my recollection, while breastfeeding in public, yet you don’t see my name all over the internet and in the news screaming “discrimination”. These experiences included: (i) a woman making a comment while I nursed my older child on a bench in the mall. Her comment was supportive but I really was trying to be discreet and didn’t like that she called attention to what I was doing, (ii) asking for a private place in Walmart to tandem nurse since that would make a lot of people uncomfortable, including me, and not having one available (I was offered the bathroom). I ended up finding a bench in the shoe section. I guess I wasn’t as obvious as I thought since a salesperson asked me if I needed any help. LOL. The look on her face was one of pure horror when she realized what I was doing (iii) being offered the employee bathroom at Payless while we shopped for shoes and my toddler was pitching a fit about wanting mommy’s milk, NOW! I just nursed where we were because I didn’t want to pack up everything to move to the bathroom, and who wants to nurse in the bathroom anyway and (iv) a flight attendant asking me to stop nursing while waiting for take-off on a Westjet flight due to Transport Canada safety regulations.

    So, here I am, with what I think you would agree, are not one but 4 events that I could have screamed “discrimination”. I’m in BC, so the legislation is a little different (http://www.infactcanada.ca/B.C._HR_Policy_Procedure_Manual.htm), but yet, my name isn’t in the news/internet and hers is. You better believe she is getting something out of this, or else she would have dropped it and carried out her business. She knew enough to say something about her right to breastfeed as it happened, but it took her two hours of stewing on it (according to her email) before she could come up with a plan for revenge. She could have educated the pool owner, in private. She could have filed a complaint, in private. Nope. It’s all over the internet and in the news..how do you think I found out about it?

    Also, you have twisted my words to promote your own agenda. Lactivists seem to have a habit of doing this and thus, should not be trusted.

    Other feeding methods are NOT INFERIOR if the mother/child pair are not able to breastfeed together. Your logic is circular, breast is not best, just everything else is inferior. If everything else is inferior, that means breast has to be best. I think you may need to rethink your attitude on that one because you are making a non-breastfeeding mother feel like she is inferior to a mother that is breastfeeding. And well, that IS discrimination.

  18. Kelly,

    I am a nursing mother first and foremost, just like all nursing mothers. Because I fight for the right for women to be free from discrimination does not negate that.

    Also, this is MY blog. I post my opinions and thoughts. If I choose to praise you or anyone for tandem nursing or whatever, and you choose not to accept it, then feel free to go elsewhere.

    As I become more involved in this situation, I am no longer going to be commenting on what happened during the incident in Newmarket, unless I feel that it is absolutely necessary. Please be aware that your speculations on this event are not accurate and do not represent what happened (on either side of the argument). Also be aware that the people who went to the pool were not protesters and made that very clear to the owner.

    As for what you do regarding your life, that’s your choice. I assume that there were women “back in the day” who said, “you know, it sucks we can’t vote, but oh well”, but I am sure thankful that the group of women who worked to get us the vote did. I doubt they did it for fame or glory as I cannot even name one of them off the top of my head. I think they did it because it was fair and the right thing to do. Women are people and we deserve to vote.

    In this case, people feel very strongly about breastfeeding and discrimination and standing up for it so that in other instances people will be educated about nursing in and around swimming pools (in other pools, in other provinces, in other countries).

    As for breast is best – again, it is not a circular argument. It is the biological standard so it is the thing that all other things are judged by. It just is what it is. There is nothing added to it, nothing special about it. The reason women have breasts is to breastfeed. Other substances for infant feeding are inferior. That is simply a fact. A non breastfeeding mother is not inferior just as a breastfeeding mother is not best. If you think that stating a fact is discrimination, then I think you need to take a look at your dictionary.

    Thank-you for posting the manitoba article. I look forward to reading it.

  19. Perhaps Canada has different laws, but here in the U.S., our CDC has clearly stated that breastmilk is exempt from Universal Precautions. What that means is that it is not considered a biohazard. That is why day care center workers can handle and feed bottles of breastmilk to infants, and they don’t have to wear rubber gloves. Surely this debunks the idea that having breastfeeding going on near a public pool is in any way dangerous to others.

    As far as Joanne’s idea that bringing a nursing infant anywhere near pool water is dangerous – that is ridiculous. I have brought my own children, as infants, to public pools and gone swimming with them. Sure, there is always a slight risk that a tiny bit of water will splash on them. But who cares? I mean, come on. I don’t know any parents who are going to let their child drown! Sounds like this is just another excuse to get nursing women out of the public eye.

    And finally, washing your breasts before nursing is almost never necessary (see http://www.kellymom.com/newman/11some_bf_myths.html#7). I’m pretty darn sure that human bodies are coated with any number of germs. But nursing women do not need to wash their breasts. I’ve nursed in pools, in the ocean, after baths, etc, and never washed my breasts. That is the wonder of breastfeeding!

  20. Has anyone ever bottle fed their child in a public pool? Ofcourse after dipping the nipple in the pool water!

    I wonder why i have never heard of or seen this ever happen?

  21. Joanne, you are HILARIOUS!!!! Seriously, I’ve forwarded this link to all my mama friends to see someone say this out loud:

    “What kind of mother would put their child in a situation where they might ingest publically used water. ”

    and my favourite:

    “Far enough away so that the pool water would NEVER splash even accidently in the mouth of the one person I was put on this earth to protect.”

    Like, are you for real? Do you even HAVE kids? Have you ever gone SWIMMING with kids? Uh… kids are doing a WHOLE lot of ingesting pool water, when they play in a pool dude. And that’s not even to mention the fact that our SKIN is the biggest body organ and we are absorbing everything that is in that pool. Clearly, the human race has survived in spite of this horrible thing.

    Really though. Thanks for the humour, it’s helped my mood. “even accidentally in their mouth” !!!! 😀

    I see the other posters are handily dispatching your other arguments so I won’t bother.

  22. What kind of mother would nurse her baby in a pool?

    Well, my entire mama-baby swim class, for example. Me. My pediatricians wife. My midwife. My friend who is a nurse.

    What kind of mother? All kinds of mothers. And it’s not up to US to judge them, it’s up to us to support the law.

    And it is so very sad that you’ve been the recipient of breastfeeding discrimination and didn’t do anything about it. That’s how a culture stays the same. Blacks in the back of the bus, women not voting, mama-baby pairs being told to go elsewhere. Takes a few brave people to question the status quo and not just “mind their own business”.

    And thanks Lactivist for continuing to point out that breast is not best. That’s like saying “oxygen is best” for breathing. It’s not BEST, it’s the norm. And anything else carries risks and detrimental effects, including artificial baby milks and nipples.

  23. Still no answer to my question.

    Has anyone ever seen a mother bottle feed a baby inside a public pool?

    Human rights does not outweigh health and safety. If it’s so safe, let people bottle feed their kids in the pool. When the government allows you to walk in a public pool with a jug of milk, then breastfeeding will be an acceptable activity inside the pool water.

  24. KJ, why do you assume I didn’t do anything? Do you honestly think soliciting support on the internet/media, organizing a nurse-in, filing a complaint with the human rights tribunal and trying to humiliate the offender is the only way of dealing with discrimination? There are other options to resolve conflicts, and all 4 were resolved to my satisfaction. The methods used by this mother to protest the alleged discrimination tells me a lot about her character.

    A wise man once said that we shouldn’t try to remove the sliver from someone’s eye until we first remove the plank from our own. If you honestly believe that breastfeeding is not best, then why are you fighting for it? Do you not see how “breast is best” campaigns discriminate against women who are unable to breastfeed? How promoting that breastfeeding can occur “anytime, anywhere”, but not doing the same for bottle-feeding is discriminatory? How your attitude makes other women feel inferior for not breastfeeding?

    The oxygen analogy is incorrect because we have no other choice but to breathe oxygen. A better example would be to compare breathing oxygen through our respiratory tract or through a tube connected to liquid oxygen. Our respiratory tract is the “norm”. Our lungs were made to extract oxygen from the air and this is obviously the “best” choice as anyone that has been hooked up to an oxygen tank will tell you. For some people, however, their lungs don’t work properly, they either have to be hooked up to the oxygen tank and breathe through a tube or they die. Should we make these people feel defective and inferior? To them, the oxygen tank is not an inferior choice, but a necessity. Same with breastfeeding. Our babies need food or they die. We can feed them food via our breasts or via a bottle. Breast would be the “best” choice of those two options, unless the breastfeeding relationship doesn’t work. There are numerous reasons why a woman may not be able to breastfeed, and in that instance, breast is no longer “best”, but a bottle is. The bottle is not an inferior choice, but a necessity. The mother could find another woman to feed her baby, which is what happened before there was formula, but I don’t think too many mothers would find that a viable option in our society compared to formula-feeding. And it is the mother who gets to decide when breastfeeding is no longer the best choice for her and her baby and that choice should be respected. By saying that anything but breastfeeding “carries risks and detrimental effects”, you are not respecting that necessity. You are saying that this mother is harming her baby by having to bottle-fed and what mother wants to harm her baby? Your comments have clearly demonstrated that you don’t understand the basic principles of logic. Your argument is simply not valid.

    Furthermore, breastfeeding is not the “norm” in our society, because if it was, you wouldn’t have anything to fight about.

  25. Kelly,

    Either way you use the oxygen analogy, breathing through your mouth is the BIOLOGICAL norm, the standard by which other methods are measured. Breathing through a respirator is inferior to breathing on your own. If I could not breath on my own, would I want a respirator – yes, of course, but I would be very cognizant of the fact that it was inferior to breathing on my own. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings because it’s a FACT.

    Same with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the BIOLOGICAL norm, the standard by which all other feeding methods are judged against. Formula is inferior to breastmilk. It does not make mothers who use formula inferior mothers. It also does not matter what reason a baby is on formula for – whether the mom actually could not breastfeed, whether the baby has no mother, whether, the mother was given inaccurate and incorrect information and did not breastfeed, whether the mother chose not to breastfeed, etc – formula remains INFERIOR to breastmilk. And I say this as someone whose infant son was supplemented in his first few days of life with formula. Due to incorrect information and lack of knowledge on my part, my son received formula and no matter how it is spinned, it is still inferior to breastmilk. I am lucky and fortunate to have a had amazing support and to be breastfeeding him at 12 months.

    And you are very right, in many cases having formula may be a necessity and I personally am thankful that it exists because it does help many babies, however that does not negate the fact that it is still inferior to breastfeeding which is again – the BIOLOGICAL norm.

    And formula feeding does carry risk associated with it. As a mother, I want to know that, and I think all other people should know that. Again, my son had formula in his early days and this could have a profound inpact on his gut. I am aware of this and disappointed by it, but it is a fact. He is at a higher risk due to that formula because… formula carries risks.

    Breastfeeding to you may not be the “norm” society wise, but it is biologically, and to be so negative to people fighting for change is really disappointing.

  26. If I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that:
    1. we are mammals
    2. mammals feed their babies by breastfeeding
    Therefore it is biologically normal for humans to feed their babies by breastfeeding.

    That is true, but it is simplistic. Breastfeeding in humans also has social and emotional role in addition to its role as food. These aspects are also biological and not true for all mammals. In my experience, nursing a 28 month old toddler, the social and emotional role is HUGE compared to the breastmilk as food at this point.

    If you compare breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, I would agree that formula is not a perfect match to breastmilk. In some ways it is better (e.g. contains more vitamin D, does not contain any Rx medications the mother may be taking) and in a lot of ways it is not (e.g. is always the exact same formulation, doesn’t have antibodies, requires mixing/storing/reheating). I would also argue that bottle-feeding better develops the social and emotional aspects of nurturing our children since more family members can provide this during bottle-feeding whereas only the mother can during breast-feeding.

    If you focus on what formula lacks instead of what it provides, I think you would be correct in saying it is inferior to breastmilk. I believe that this is a narrow-minded, simplistic view of bottle-feeding. If you broaden the outlook and look at the whole picture, a mother that feeds her baby breastmilk produces a happy, healthy child. A mother that feeds her baby formula produces a happy, healthy child. Whoa nelly! The outcome is the SAME. The source of the nutrients was different but since the outcome is the SAME, it cannot be inferior.

    I think focusing on the benefits of breastfeeding compared to formula-feeding does have its merits before the birth of the child for most situations. In my experience, this may convince someone to breastfeed that may not have considered it before. I have also found that women with a medical condition and know that they won’t be able to breastfeed even before they become pregnant are OK with it. It is the mothers who fully expect to breastfeed and after baby is born, realize that they can’t, that have the worst time of it. They feel that they have to resort to an “inferior” method of feeding their baby. They are so overcome by guilt that they just break down and sob in my office. So, I guess when you have seen that as many times as I have, given as many hugs as I have and reassured as many women as I have that their babies are going to be OK, well, maybe you’ll see the harm that your attitude causes. That harm is way worse than being asked not to nurse in the pool for heath & safety reasons, and just because your attitude is not against the law doesn’t mean that it is not discriminatory. Also, I being asked to leave the pool to nurse would not hurt my feelings because not being able to nurse in the pool is a health regulation is a FACT. BTW, inferior is a negative word, so again may be have a look for that plank.

  27. Kelly,

    I am actually curious if you have ever read any scientific papers or research (and there are tens of thousands) on breastfeeding. To debate with someone who says, and I quote you here,

    “If you compare breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, I would agree that formula is not a perfect match to breastmilk. In some ways it is better (e.g. contains more vitamin D, does not contain any Rx medications the mother may be taking) and in a lot of ways it is not (e.g. is always the exact same formulation, doesn’t have antibodies, requires mixing/storing/reheating). I would also argue that bottle-feeding better develops the social and emotional aspects of nurturing our children since more family members can provide this during bottle-feeding whereas only the mother can during breast-feeding.”

    Not one single thing that you have said is supported at all by evidence based science. I suggest that you read up on breastfeeding and medication because there are so few instances where a mother cannot breastfeed due to medications. Even while on a medication, it is still better for the child to receive the breastmilk than to go on formula.

    “If you focus on what formula lacks instead of what it provides, I think you would be correct in saying it is inferior to breastmilk. I believe that this is a narrow-minded, simplistic view of bottle-feeding. If you broaden the outlook and look at the whole picture, a mother that feeds her baby breastmilk produces a happy, healthy child. A mother that feeds her baby formula produces a happy, healthy child. Whoa nelly! The outcome is the SAME. The source of the nutrients was different but since the outcome is the SAME, it cannot be inferior.”

    Again, you are incorrect, and I think that you are simplifying things. Formula puts people at increased risks. Pure and… simple! This is a fact based on decades upon decades of scientific research. A formula fed baby very well may be incredibly happy and healthy, but that baby is at an increased risk for various ailments during infancy and beyond – that is a fact.

    As for the women breaking down because they cannot breastfeed, I wonder, sincerely, how many of these women had the proper support and help in their efforts. The precentages of women who can not actually breastfeed is astonishingly low (under 5%), and many breastfeeding issues are actually related to latch (not supply). If a woman cannot actually breastfeed and must “resort” to an inferior method, there is nothing to be upset about. Yes, it is inferior, but it exists just for those situations and there is no sense in molly-coddling people so they don’t feel bad and are not aware of the risks associated with formula. I know that as a parent, I want to be aware of risks in what I am doing. Rather than focusing our attention on not making people feel bad, I think we should focus our attention on making sure that these women who really want to breastfeed get the proper support, the proper lessons, and the proper help that they need.

    And you are incorrect, again, when you state that nursing in a pool is a health issue – please read my most recent post and the Edmonton Report for information.

    When you are finished, I suggest that you also read up on medications and breastfeeding, the risks associated with not breastfeeding, and common breastfeeding issues and how to solve them (ie latch).

  28. Wow Kelly, it scares me to read
    “They feel that they have to resort to an “inferior” method of feeding their baby. They are so overcome by guilt that they just break down and sob in my office. ”
    I feel that women who are in your office do not have access to correct medical information. The fact that you say
    “a mother that feeds her baby breastmilk produces a happy, healthy child. A mother that feeds her baby formula produces a happy, healthy child. Whoa nelly! The outcome is the SAME. The source of the nutrients was different but since the outcome is the SAME, it cannot be inferior.”
    shows your ignorance. They are not the SAME – the baby that receives formula is not as healthy as the baby who receives breastmilk – it is impossible.
    I believe that the next choice for someone who is unable to breastfeed should be to supplement with human milk not with formula. This is also because of the risks associated with formula. How many deaths to babies have been caused by formula in this country? Who knows – for some reason we don’t keep these stats? Why not?

    We need more lactavists to educate ignorant people on the truth about the risks of formula feeding. The damage the formula companies have done, in the media and by mis-information being funneled through our health care providers, to decrease the initiation rates and shorten the length of time mothers breastfeed is unbelievable and hopefully not irrepairable. Can we talk about the cost of this damage to our health care system?

    Oh and don’t get me started about vitamin D – a hormone that has not been truly studied yet we give it to newborns?!

  29. Sonja, great comments! I feel the same way!

  30. That was educative read

  31. That is very educational post


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