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Mother cancels gym membership after being told to breastfeed in toilet because man saw her breastfeeding in childcare room

By Mason White 5:44 PM September 14, 2017
Ruha Alford Tacey
Ruha Alford Tacey
By: William Martin

(Scroll down for video) A mother in Alabama, became angry when an employee of a gym told her that she cannot breastfeed in the childcare room because a man complained about it.

Ruha Alford Tacey of Tanner, is the mother of a 1-year-old girl.

Recently, Tacey signed up at the SportsFit gym to get herself back in shape.

She brought along her daughter, and left her in the childcare room while she went to exercise.

When her daughter started crying, Tacey started breastfeeding the child.

The following day, when Tacey arrived at the gym, an employee told her that she should breastfeed in the toilet.

Shen Tacey asked why, she was told that a man saw her breastfeeding and complained.

Tacey immediately canceled her membership.

The gym’s request was against state law, which allows women to breastfeed anywhere in public and private.

After Tacey went public with her story, SportsFit promised to retrain all their employees regarding the state’s breastfeeding laws.

Tacey wrote on Facebook: “I was pretty bummed out this morning. See, yesterday, I tried going to the SportsFit Athens for the first time, and my daughter had a hard time in the childcare room.

“I sat there and breast-fed her to see if she would feel more comfortable in that room. She was still distressed when I tried to leave again, so we left and came back this morning.

“When I barged into the front door, the very friendly guy at the front desk said, ‘Hey, can I talk to you about something really quick? In terms of feeding your child, when you need to do that, could you just use the restroom?’

“‘The restroom?’ I asked. ‘I have absolutely never been asked to do that,’ I said. ‘Well, we’re a family friendly facility, you see, and yesterday while you were feeding her, a man walked by the window.’

“I told him a man shouldn’t feel shame when he sees a woman breastfeeding. And especially if you’re family friendly, you should be super-pro breastfeeding!

“He said, ‘I’m not telling you not to breastfeed, I just think a little discretion is in order.’ ‘What a shame,’ I said. ‘Can I cancel my membership?’

“He was pleasant enough about canceling my membership without penalties. I thought that was that. I wrote most of the above in my breastfeeding support group just to let out some of the bad emotions I was having after leaving the gym.

“It’s hard enough getting to the gym and trying to work out despite a child with lots of separation anxiety. I was sad! But here’s what’s happened since then.

“Something like 30-40 women have expressed their support for me and my baby. They’ve come forward with great advice for helping SportsFit Athens past this little (illegal) breastfeeding snafu. And tomorrow we’re going to have a fun, lighthearted Nurse-In!

“Nobody knows how to have fun better than a bunch of mommas. This isn’t meant to antagonize or attack the gym. We just want to normalize breastfeeding, and spread the love and support, not shame!! Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, come out and join us!”

After the nurse-in, Tacey wrote: “Four moms with nursing babies and a handful of gym goers joined us in front of the gym. The regional manager invited me inside to have a conversation one on one.

“He apologized on behalf of himself and the company, and said that the company as a whole is looking at this event as an opportunity to improve their employee training, especially with regards to nursing laws, and identify other interventions to make their members feel more welcome and supported in the future.”