OKLAHOMA CITY — A metro mom said she was told to leave a YMCA women’s locker room for breastfeeding her baby.
To make matters worse, the woman says the room she was taken to was dirty and didn’t have a comfortable place for her to sit while she nursed.
Tiffany Hoag is a new mom; her baby is just 8-weeks-old. This was her first nursing experience, and now she’s afraid to breastfeed in public again.
The YMCA claims this is a misunderstanding.
“I was really embarrassed and upset because people were looking, and he was crying because he was still hungry,” said Tiffany Hoag.
It was around 4:15 Wednesday afternoon, at Earlywine YMCA in south Oklahoma City.
“I went to the women’s locker room and changed him, then he started to get a little bit fussy, so I started to nurse him,” said Hoag.
Hoag said a second mother was nursing her baby too.
It was only a matter of time before a YMCA staff member came in.
“The next thing you know, she’s escorting this lady out of the locker room, and then she comes back for me and says ‘you can’t be in here, I’m going to have to ask you to leave,'” said Hoag.
The staff member took the woman to a family locker room, which turned out to be another disappointment.
“It’s dirty, towels on the floor… it’s a toilet, a shower, a seat and a sink,” said Hoag.
The YMCA said they’re trying to get to the bottom of what happened, offering this apology:
“We are truly sorry if there was a negative experience,” going on to say, “We have moms breastfeed in all areas of our 12 metro locations on a daily basis, including the lobby and the pool areas, and have never had any issues.”
For Hoag, she hopes next time, the business offers her a designated area to feed her baby.
“I’m honestly humiliated, I don’t want to go back to that Y ever again, it’s really discouraging,” said Hoag.
Oklahoma law states mothers have the right to breastfeed anywhere they have a right to be.
The YMCA released this statement regarding the incident:
“The Y is a place for families, and we support breastfeeding moms in our facilities. We believe this was likely an unfortunate mistake with our staff member misinterpreting our locker room policy, which states that children are not allowed in adult locker rooms. We are looking into this particular incident further with the staff members involved in an effort to ensure that no other moms have this happen in the future. We are very sorry that this new mom had a negative experience and will continue to train our staff to understand that moms can breastfeed anywhere they would like to do so in our facilities.”