There's no need to breastfeed in pools, says city council

Latest - Magic Talk 13/11/2019

Breastfeeding will be banned in Wellington community pools due to the contamination risk it poses.

The ruling comes after an incident earlier this year where a 20-year-old mother was asked to get out of the water after she was seen breastfeeding her baby at a community pool.

Janine Pinkham, National Coordinator for breastfeeding support group La Leche League New Zealand told Magic Talk with Ryan Bridge that the ban was "ridiculous."

"There's no risk of contamination of any harm to a swimmer from a couple of drops of breastmilk going into the water." 

"That's why we have chlorine. Lots of worst things than breastmilk going into the water that we use chlorine to mop up."

She says she questions the council's information to say that there's a "problem" with breastmilk and that it's the "right of the baby to be breastfed, wherever it needs to be." 

Wellington City Councillor Media Manager Richard Maclean told Ryan Bridge while a "few drips of breastmilk" is not so much a problem in "the greater scheme of things", the ban is about keeping the pools as clean as possible.

In all our time in living memory, there's only been one instance of a mother feeling the need to breastfeed in one of our swimming pools.

"Most mothers can seem to be able to get out of the pool to [breastfeed]... we're just kind of  saying, 'look, you don't need to do this, how about you just get out of the pool." 

He reiterates to Ryan that there's no ban about breastfeeding around the pool or in any of their public facilities and that private facilities to breastfeed in can always be provided when asked.

You can listen to the full interview with him above.