YMCA teacher calls for ‘nurse-in’ after being banned from breastfeeding in child-care center

Elizabeth Gooding (Facebook)

A former YMCA yoga teacher is suing the organization after she was forced to leave the group’s child-care center so that “young boys” wouldn’t see her breastfeeding. The teacher, Elizabeth Gooding, alleges that the Ocean Community YMCA of Westerly, Rhode Island, also forced her to move to a gated area in the corner of the room to breastfeed and later told her she was no longer allowed to bring her baby to the mother-and-baby yoga class she taught. In so doing, she alleges, the YMCA violated her right to breastfeed publicly.

“If a mother cannot feed her baby in the day care of a family establishment, where can she nurse?” asked Gooding in an open letter. “The YMCA should be supporting breastfeeding moms and their babies, not deterring them.”

Gooding has also called on fellow mothers to participate in a “nurse-in” on June 11 at their local YMCAs.

Gooding is not the first mother to run into problems breastfeeding at the YMCA. Best for Babes, a breastfeeding rights group, said it had received more hotline complaints about the YMCA than any other organization. According to Best for Babes director of advocacy Michelle Hickman, the YMCA has had more than 40 breast-feeding incidents since 2004.

“I was not putting myself on display. I was minding my own business,” said Gooding in an interview. “We have to stop this whole idea that by breastfeeding we are doing something wrong.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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