Though lactation rooms are becoming more commonplace throughout the U.S., there are no current laws requiring them in public spaces or in private institutions. While the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law requires employers to provide breaks and private spaces for hourly paid employees to pump, not all public spaces or large buildings are held to the same standard. Sometimes when a mom needs to pump or breastfeed while out in the world, they’re left short on options.
We’ve seen moms pumping in cramped bathrooms during jury duty, cramped bathrooms standing up at work and even moms being barred from taking required pumping breaks, but one breastfeeding mom was thoroughly disappointed in the space she was given during a field trip that she accompanied students on.
Music teacher and band director Katy Des Enfants was at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to see the orchestra with her students. During the performance, she had to nurse her 9-week-old baby. What followed, she said, was “disappointing” and “inappropriate.”
“Why am I posting a picture of myself sitting on the floor in a bathroom? Because the @premier_center told me this was a nursing room. Changing my baby’s diaper in a space where the automatic toilet goes off with every move I make, scaring my baby.
“It is so inappropriate that a building as large and expensive as the Denny Sanford Premier Center doesn’t have a nursing room – especially when I couldn’t bring my diaper bag in that has a blanket to adequately cover myself since my dress causes me to be fully exposed.” Katy wrote in the now-viral Facebook post.
If the photo wasn’t shocking enough, we could feel the horror in her recounting of 9-week-old Amelia’s constant crying from the automatic toilet and the image of her sitting on the cold bathroom floor.
Katy ends the post with a demand for the large public arena to “Do better.”
While the venue ultimately responded to Katy’s post, stating they’re working to improve their practices, this issue stands throughout every pocket of the country. Not only is it unsanitary and unaccommodating, but it disregards the existence of an entire group of people. We agree with Katy’s battle cry: Do better.