WOOD RIVER, IL – A Wood River mom is speaking out about breastfeeding in public after an incident at the local public pool.
Swimming can work up and appetite, so when Brei Theisen’s 14-month-old got hungry at Wood River Aquatic Center, she fed her the way she normally does.
“Went to the side of the pool to breastfeed her and I didn’t feel like it was necessary for me to cover up because it is 90 degrees outside, so I did decide to do it as discreetly as I could,” she said.
Theisen said the manager approached her and asked her to be more discreet because it offended other patrons.
“After the situation, I did go speak to the higher boss and I was told that just because I’m comfortable changing her in a public restroom I should be comfortable feeding her there. I feel like you can’t compare the two because you wouldn’t eat where you go to the bathroom,” she said.
According to Illinois law, a mother may breastfeed her baby in any public or private location whether or not her nipple is covered.
The Wood River Parks and Recreation Department later released the following statement:
“Our manager and staff have been fully briefed on the law and will incorporate the law into our training for all employees immediately. We apologize to the mother and child or any inconvenience we may have caused them.”
“I feel like this is a chance for someone to stand up for those who aren’t comfortable and because of situations like this,” says Theisen.
Theisen said she probably won’t go back to the Wood River Aquatic Center after this, but she’s happy she started a conversation and hopes more businesses will educate themselves on the law.