I was utterly humiliated when lifeguard told me off for breastfeeding my baby in swimming pool | The Sun
A MUM was left utterly humiliated when a lifeguard told her off for breastfeeding her baby at the side of a swimming pool.
Sarah Lappin, 31, had just finished a parent-toddler session at Rhyl Leisure Centre, North Wales, when she stopped to feed her five-month-old son Kalel.
The mum-of-five sat on the edge of the pool to calm her son, who was crying, but was shocked when a lifeguard said she would have to leave if she carried on.
She said the worker even blew their whistle at her – prompting everyone in the pool to look her way.
Sarah told WalesOnline: “I’m stood up so my baby is away from water, of course, and I'm soothing him as he was upset, and it’s the way I know best to stop him crying and make him feel safe.
"But I was told to stop by the lifeguard. He said: ‘It’s the rules’.
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“I carried on feeding my baby as I know there's no such rule, and have done it with five children now for nearly a decade in that same pool.
"Moments after, he whistled at me again, and said I will have to leave if I carry on breastfeeding in the pool."
She added: "I kept my calm and replied that I can't stop him once he’s on. Everyone was looking now. I felt so humiliated.”
Sarah said she complained to the leisure centre's deputy manager who was "very kind," assuring her she would speak to the young lifeguard.
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But the mum said she has never "come across such negative behaviour" towards someone breastfeeding – and worried a new mum's confidence would have been badly knocked.
The parent added: "It’s normal to breastfeed and not something to hide in private, as it’s a perfectly natural thing to do.”
Sarah said breast milk is “antibacterial and antimicrobial” and will protect the baby from any harmful bacteria.
She also dismissed fears that breastfeeding in a pool may be a health hazard to other swimmers.
It’s normal to breastfeed and not something to hide in private, as it’s a perfectly natural thing to do.
And she said above all, the lifeguard showed no regards for her distressed baby who she was trying to calm.
A spokesperson for Denbighshire Leisure Ltd, the company responsible for Rhyl Leisure Centre, has since apologised to Sarah for any offence caused.
The spokesperson said: “All of Denbighshire Leisure’s sites support and encourage breastfeeding, including on the poolside at our leisure centres.
"On this occasion, one of our lifeguards asked a mother who was breastfeeding her child within the swimming pool to exit the water.
“We do not prevent any person from breastfeeding in our facilities, but on this occasion, the breastfeeding was taking place in the water.
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"It is very unclear whether or not a baby should or should not be fed in the water due to conflicting views on the health risks and the heightened risk of vomiting in the pool which would result in a pool closure.
"We will, therefore, take further advice from healthcare professionals and adjust our policies and training accordingly based on the advice we receive. We apologise for any offence this may have caused."
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