Water park staff told breastfeeding mom to cover up or leave, woman says
ERLANGER, KY (FOX19) - A mother is speaking out after she says she was discriminated against at a northern Kentucky pool and water park.
Kelsey Hamilton was hoping for a fun day out with her son and 9-month-old daughter at Silverlake Water Park in Erlanger, but the day took a turn when Hamilton started breastfeeding her baby.
A Silverlake staff member told her to leave the public area or cover up while breastfeeding, Hamilton said.
She said it only takes a few minutes to feed her baby and that she was in a quiet area near the kiddie pool.
"I was hurt but I was stunned because I'm thinking we live in 2018 and I can't believe I'm being told this right now," Hamilton said. "I felt like I was specifically sought out because I felt like I was in a discreet location. We were under our umbrella by a table and they came up and found me."
Kentucky laws allow mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location. Hamilton said she was shocked when the staff member told her to cover up suggested she go breastfeed in the bathrooms.
"Would you want to eat in a bathroom? Because I know I wouldn't want to eat in a bathroom. I'm not going to put her underneath a blanket because it's only going to make her more hot," said Hamilton.
She refused to go to the bathroom.
Hamilton said she spoke with management at the waterpark and they apologized for the incident. The manager told her that going forward, she could breastfeed her child near the pool. However, at this point, Hamilton says that she doesn't plan to return to the pool.
The management for Silverlake "Family Place" did not respond to our request for comment. However, another concerned mother who witnessed the interaction wrote a letter to the Executive Director, Tim Geraci. He responded in an email:
"I did speak with my aquatic staff and one of my managers basically got confused in interpreting one of the rules that we do have, regarding changing diapers on the pool deck. My understanding is that he did go back and apologize for the misunderstanding. To make a long story short, we do not have a rule regarding breastfeeding. The only thing that we do ask, is that mothers are aware that we do have a lot of children, teenagers etc. in the area and that they cover up or find a spot under the patio. A private spot etc. so that it is not an uncomfortable situation for everyone."
On Friday, Geraci made a post on Facebook stating they are now taking steps to educate staff to make sure the needs are met for members.
"I feel like breastfeeding should be normalized because that's how my daughter gets her nutrition and I'm not trying to show anybody anything or expose my breast in any way. There were probably other people there at the pool who were more exposed than I was," said Hamilton.
"If you're uncomfortable with me feeding her than maybe you should go somewhere else."
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