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British mother asked to leave a swimming pool while breastfeeding her baby claims she was the victim of discrimination and is suing the aquatics centre.

Abbie Stocker, 28, and a self-described “vegan lactivist”, was feeding her eight-month-old son in a wave pool when a lifeguard at Pendle Wavelengths in Lancashire approached.

The wave pool was in full flow, so the lifeguard, concerned for the pair’s safety, asked her to exit the pool and then provided a chair at the side for Ms Stocker to sit and breastfeed, South Wales Evening Post reports.

An unhappy Ms Stocker began arguing with the lifeguard, before fleeing with her son Eric to the changing rooms, witnesses said.

Several weeks after the incident, which occurred in May last year, Ms Stocker filed a $ 38,237 lawsuit against Pendle Wavelengths.

“The way they handled it was not positive. They could have learned from it but they chose not to,” said Ms Stocker.

Under the United Kingdom’s equality laws, it is illegal to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place.

“Breastfeeding women are no different to a disabled person or a person of a different nationality in the way you can’t discriminate against them,” Ms Stocker said.

A ‘source’ is reported by the Daily Mail as saying: “A lifeguard saw a mum feeding her baby in the pool and thought she might be more comfortable sitting on a chair.

“The wave machine was on at the time and the waves can get pretty strong when they reach the shore end of the pool.

“The staff member thought the baby may become upset if hit with a wave, and was only trying to help.”

The source added: ‘Abbie then began saying it was against the law to stop a mum breastfeeding her child in public.

‘That was never the case and the centre welcomes and supports breastfeeding mums.’

One member of the centre said: ‘It’s is ridiculous to think breastfeeding a child in a swimming pool is a sensible idea.

‘It’s like a child tucking into a burger and chips while splashing about.

‘If the baby had been sick, the pool would have had to be closed, drained and it would have been shut for days.

‘It would have cost thousands and centre bosses have to consider the health and safety of other users, too.’

OK I am going to wage in on this debate, I usually bite my tongue, but I am sorry. I think this was a safety issue and the lifeguard was well in his rights to suggest she hop out and feed her son. A wave pool really is not the best place to feed.  They are quite different to your average pool.

Do you think the lifeguard was just doing his job, or totally in the wrong?

Share your comments below.

Image via Shutterstock

  • Ridiculous and silly idea to feed a baby in a wave pool. The lifeguard was concerned for the baby’s safety. Any sensible parent would have understood that.

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  • I am surprised by cases that make it to court!

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  • I’m with the life guard on this one. stupid woman

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  • I see the point of both sides. I personally wouldn’t want to breastfeed my child especially given one was a vomitter … Not ideal!

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  • I breastfed my daughter at a swimming centre on a chair out in the cafe area or even in the change rooms and didn’t get asked to leave. It’s a safety issue not discrimination against this woman breastfeeding; I would never breastfeed in a pool as its too dangerous especially in a wave pool. In my opinion the life guard did the right thing.

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  • It was quite simply a safety issue.

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  • I think he did the right thing He never told her to leave the centre If she was my daughter she\’d be getting a bit of my tongue

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  • I am all for breastfeeding in public places but i think this lady may have taken this too far. A wave pool is not a safe place to breastfeed a baby, and she was not being considerate to other patrons because if they baby was sick then the pool would have to be closed. Also what about the potential danger to the baby if she was knocked down by the wave or someone else in the wave pool? Think she should not be so offended that someone was thinking of her abies safety.

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  • That’s quite a precise amount of money! I’m with the lifeguard on this one. I wouldn’t take my bubs into a wave pool.
    On a related note, last holidays I took our kids to a free water park. I witnessed the lifeguards there politely asking a mother to remove her toddler from the water because he had no nappy on (and advising bub was welcome back once appropriately dressed). There are clear signs saying an appropriate swim nappy must be used for the safety and hygiene of all patrons, and other instructions about no food, drink, glass or other dangerous materials that may pollute the water. The rules are there for the safety of everyone.

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  • I’d say it was a safety issue, he even offered a seat

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  • I am just speechless at this woman. What on earth is she thinking about deciding to feed her baby in a wave pool? Certainly not the baby. It is a wonderful bonding experience for both Mum and bub, but at the end of the day, the baby is eating a meal. How would she like to take her dinner on a roller coaster? I doubt she would be impressed and besides from the story it appears she was not asked to leave the pool area, just the water itself. She should take responsibility for her own stupid idea, build a bridge and get over it.

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  • I believe he was in the right he was just looking out for the child safety, which is what there job requirement is and she wasn’t asked to go into the restrooms just out of the water he even offered her a chair she seriously needs to pull her head in

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  • What a crock I hope it gets thrown out of court. Well done Lifeguard! what an inconsiderate woman. Must be a lawyer or married to one.

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  • Sound like there is more to this story. I believe the lifeguard was quiet right in offering her a chair and to leaving the pool. if the baby had regurgitated into the pool, it should be shut down and cleaned as per most health departments recommendations. This causes much work for the staff and irritates other pool users whose use of the pool is interrupted because of one selfish user. Not to mention the cost of cleaning a pool and the filters. How much water is used to back wash the filters. Too much for one mum. Well done lifeguard. I hope the case gets thrown out of court. I think she was embarrassed more than anything and want revenge. Either that or she is a lawyer or married to one.

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  • A wave pool is not the place to feed a baby I, with the lifeguard on this

    Reply

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