Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No food or drink permitted on deck

I was reading the Toronto Star today, and read a story about a woman who was breastfeeding her baby while swimming in a public pool. I'm not saying I'm against feeding your baby in public, but seriously...there's germs in there. People pee in pools. Sometimes, they have pink-eye and all other sorts of nasties - chlorine only kills so much. Do you really want that in your baby's mouth?

Ellie Karkouti who owns the pool has suddenly come under fire for not allowing breastfeeding at her pool. A protest was scheduled for November 7 and, not sure what to expect, she hired security guards to make sure the situation didn't get out of hand. Unfortunately for Ellie, the security guards reported for duty wearing bullet proof vests - one even had handcuffs. Cinira Longuinho, the breastfeeding mother, claims that Karkouti did it on purpose, "as an act of intimidation."

Poor Ellie. She is pregnant with her first child, and I don't think she intended for this to happen.

There have been so many of these situations lately, people protesting at La Senza and H&M among others, citing human rights violations. I do agree that feeding your baby in public is something that has to be done - you certainly can't explain to a baby that they have to starve because it makes other people uncomfortable, but in a pool?

Ellie claims that she was only looking out for the best interest of the baby, and quite frankly, I would have to agree. Just because mothers have the right to feed their babies where ever they want, doesn't mean that they should. I can't stop thinking about the pee and the chlorine. I bet that baby is not thinking, "Mmmm...pee and chlorine...tasty." Eww.


Amy Hoskin said...

I completely agree with you Shannon. There is a time and place for breast feeding, and it is NOT in a pool.
Yes, women should be able to breastfeed in public and not feel uncomfortable or out of place, but in this case, the safety of the baby is questionable.
It seems as though this case gotten out of hand and has been taken too far.

Jeannie said...

Remember what our parents used to tell us, "You have to wait an hour after eating before you can go back in that water!"

Food and pools have never mixed; eating in pools is not something that I personally see as sanitary or safe.

The waiting an hour before swimming again rule is perhaps an old wives tale, but the fact that pools are littered with bacteria is not.

I agree - breastfeeding in public, ok, breastfeeding in pools, not. If breastfeeding is ok in a pool, could the other mothers offer up snacks on deck to their own children if they were hungry? I don't think so; public pools are not an appropriate time to wolf down any form of 'snack'.

This whole situation is unfortunate, because to me the real issue wasn't the act of breastfeeding, it was the act feeding the child from a pool water contaminated nipple.

Women have the right to feed their babies; pool owners have the right to keep their pools clean. The pool owner’s suggestion to the nursing mother was not so out of line, as the owner saw the act as something unsafe or unsanitary happening on deck of her pool.

ellymich said...

My main question is, why would a womnan want to breastfeed their baby in the swimming pool in the first place?! It is certainly every woman's choice as to whether or not she wants to breastfeed her child in public, but wouldn't she want to sit somewhere (out of the water) and bond with her child? I would be concerned about the baby swallowing chlorine water and the image of bobbing up and down in the water while others are swimming around is weird to me! This could be a safety issue for the pool owner as well.