Tiffany Francis, a Georgia mother, recently sparked the debate of breastfeeding in public after sharing that she was told she could not breastfeed her child at a waterpark. In a Facebook post, Francis described the incident while at Rigby's Water World in Warner Robins, Georgia. "My son is 11 months old and when it was getting to be his nap time, like I do every visit, I got in the Lazy River to nurse him to sleep," she wrote. "He likes motion to sleep, he sleeps well in the car or swing, so he will also sleep in the Lazy River." Francis shared that once she was in the Lazy River, a lifeguard advised her that she could not breastfeed in the water. "I kind of laughed because I thought he was just making a joke in very poor taste. Then he got on the radio and had a lady come and tell me I wasn’t allowed." Confused, Francis asked if the rules were posted somewhere that said she could not breastfeed in the water. The lady responded that they were posted at the front. Francis found there to be no rule stating that she could not breastfeed in the water. She asked if she could speak with a manager, and he said one of the rules stated, "No food or drinks in the water." She continued by saying, "Imagine all the bodily fluids being excreted into the water, but they’re worried about breastmilk when the baby was latched, my breast was out of the water, and the milk was only going into [my] baby’s mouth." Francis added, "But really, it wasn’t even about him eating in the water — it was about it making other guests uncomfortable."
Steve Brown, vice president of operations of Rigby's Water World, spoke with media outlets saying, "At the time, we had a policy in place that didn’t allow mothers to breastfeed in the pools, coinciding with health code policies. We try to maintain a safe, fun, enjoyable environment for guests, and our policies reflect that." Brown said that they changed the policy the same day of the incident. "As a water park operator, I don’t know every law in the book. Once I was made aware of how the law was written, I realized we were misguided." He added saying, "We made a mistake, and I feel that we did the right thing to make a positive change." Francis received apologies from Brown and Steve Rigby, owner of Rigby's Water World, but said the apologies were "insincere" and "backhanded, slap-in-the-face apologies."
Not everyone supported Francis' stance. One user commented on her Facebook post, saying, "I breastfed both of my children but would have NEVER done so at a recreational park, in the water that is full of chemicals (and probably urine, etc.). How safe is that for your child?" Another user wrote, "I personally wouldn’t want to swim in a body of water that I’m witnessing bodily fluid probably go into right in front of me." Although not everyone agreed with Francis' stance, many people commented in solidarity. "Not everyone has been kind on this subject, but I truly appreciate all the support I’ve received from other mothers, as well as dads and even those without children," Francis told Fox News Digital. She added saying, "With it being such a sensitive topic, if you feel the need to say something to a breastfeeding mother, please say something positive."