An incident involving a woman who was asked by a lifeguard to breastfeed somewhere else in the swimming pool of Sportoase in Leuven has caused a lot of commotion on social media and in local politics in Leuven.
The lifeguard asked the woman, who was breastfeeding on the stairs of the paddling pool, to do it in a more discreet place “for safety and hygiene reasons,” the Sportoase said in a press statement.
Lies Corneillie (Groen), Alderwoman for Equal Opportunities, believed it to be a form of discrimination. “This is not okay: feeding a child is a normal thing to do, it is not unhygienic or provocative,” she said to Het Laatste Nieuws. She wants to have a conversation with the management at Sportoase.
Bieke Verlinden (SP.A), Alderwoman for Care, agreed with Corneillie, and pointed out that breastfeeding is “the most normal and natural thing in the world”.
“Breastfeeding in a swimming pool is not done, for several reasons,” said Michaël Schouwaerts, spokesperson for the Sportoase. “There is no conclusive statement about the health situation. We are not doctors, but swimming pool water is of course not intended for drinking. In addition, food is not supposed to end up in the water, no matter what kind of food. We are only asking people to use their common sense in the future,” he added.