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Breastfeeding mum left in tears after being told to cover up

Liana Webster with her daughter.
Liana Webster with her daughter. Iain Curry

LIANA Webster was left feeling embarrassed and ashamed when staff at Bribie Island Aquatic Centre asked her to cover up or get out while she was breastfeeding her daughter at the side of a pool.

The Bribie Island mum who was with her three children at the time said she was sitting on the side of the pool feeding her daughter Rori, when an employee told her she wasn't allowed to feed there and to refrain from feeding out in the open.

Ms Webster said she was told to move to the baby change room or to a more secluded area and to cover herself.

"I said that telling me to stop feeding was illegal but the staff member insisted that it wasn't," Ms Webster said.

"I was told I was offending other patrons, I was in my togs and with my kids so I didn't really have a way of covering up."

Ms Webster said the incident made her cry due to the embarrassment of being told in front of her children.

"My boys are five and six, they heard everything that was going on, and they asked me why I was upset. It was upsetting for me to have that happen in front of them.

"We were at a pool where people were showing skin in all kinds of directions, it made me feel as though I was doing something I should be ashamed of."

Ms Webster said she asked for a refund as the family had to leave but was refused.

After the incident Ms Webster took to Facebook to share her story with online community Morayfield Mums.

Her post was shared by almost 5000 people but has since been deleted.

A spokeswoman from the Australian Breastfeeding Association said under federal law it was illegal to tell anyone to stop breastfeeding.

The move has since sparked action from mums in the community who plan to protest through a nurse-in at the centre on Saturday.

"Anti-discrimination laws were broken and I was left publicly humiliated," Ms Webster said.

"I have organised this nurse-in to spread the word to as many people as possible that no matter what your opinion is, breastfeeding in public is not illegal."

A Moreton Bay Regional Council spokesperson said staff at the council owned Bribie Island Aquatic Leisure Centre had received a complaint about a mother breastfeeding in the pool from another family also in the pool.

The staff member was concerned about the comfort of the breastfeeding mum and offered her access to the centre's mothers' room or alternatively a chair for the convenience of both mum and baby.

More to come.

Topics:  babies breastfeeding mothers parenting swimming


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