Peter Williams: Would you breastfeed your baby in a public pool?

Opinion 13/11/2019
Photo: Getty.

OPINION: Wellington City Council says breastfeeding will be banned in the city’s community pools due to contamination risk, although they’re more than happy for a mother to do it in the seats anywhere else in the actual pool complex.

The decision follows controversy earlier this year when Wellington woman Rebecca Robertson was told she couldn't breastfeed her baby in the shallows of Kilbirnie Pool as it breached the food and beverage policy.

The City Council’s reasoning to me seems ridiculous.

Apparently if a baby has a burp or a spew during feeding the vomit could contaminate the pool for other users.

Now a couple of things here:

How many women would actually sit in a public pool and breastfeed a baby? I doubt very few, in fact very, very few. Most women are far too modest to do that. If they have to feed a baby at a pool they would do it in the seats.

But putting that to one side, will a few drops of baby vomit in a pool really contaminate it for other users. I thought that was what chlorine was for?

What about the other stuff from body functions that often ends up in public pools - and I mean liquid stuff here.

Isn’t Wellington City Council being just a touch precious and way too over cautious?

If a woman wants to feed her baby sitting down at the shallow end of a swimming pool, what’s the problem? The pool chemicals will take care of the spill and women’s essential modesty will make sure there’s not major prevalence of the act anyway.

Peter Williams is host of Mornings on Magic Talk, 9am - 12pm weekdays.