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Chesterfield mom says she was harassed for breastfeeding at gym

Posted at 10:04 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-02 13:07:19-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield mother’s Facebook post sparked outrage on social media Friday as dozens of posts appeared on the ACAC Midlothian Facebook page condemning the gym for its alleged treatment of the mom after she breastfed her children there New Year’s Eve.

The mom, Jordan Williams, declined to do an on camera interview, but her husband, Edwin Wallace, said his wife sat at the entrance to the kid zone and nursed their two children without covering up.

Jordan Williams, Edwin Wallace and their two kids

Jordan Williams, Edwin Wallace and their two kids

“My child does not breastfeed covered up.  They don’t like it.  They won’t do it,” Wallace said. “We intend to never step foot in there again.”

He said nobody said anything to her then, but when she got home, he said a supervisor called and told her it was not OK to nurse in that area, and she could have nursed in a room, or covered up per gym policy.

“They’re harassing us over the fact that we breastfeed our children in public which is legal to do,” Wallace said.

In fact, a bill passed last year made it so Virginia mothers could legally breastfeed in any public place.

Jordan Williams and her two kids

Jordan Williams and her two kids

“It definitely was shocking because legally we are allowed to breastfeed in public,” Wallace said.

Wallace said he is in touch with an attorney who helped create the new breastfeeding law in Virginia.

He said together they hope to make the fitness center compliant with the law.

CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit reached out to the gym about the alleged incident.

ACAC Midlothian posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

“We are sincerely sorry to have upset a mom in our club recently. We pride ourselves on being a club that caters to families, and the last thing we would want to do is upset any family. We support the rights of all mothers to breastfeed their children. There are no policies that prohibit or restrict breastfeeding in our clubs.

In regards to this particular event, at no point was the mother interrupted or asked to refrain from breastfeeding her children. After receiving feedback from members, a team member did call the mom later that day to offer additional options for breastfeeding in the club. In a subsequent conversation, our general manager emphasized that the mother was free to continue breastfeeding in the same spot or anywhere she chose in the club. We tried to have this conversation with great respect and sensitivity. We apologize that we have offended her and many others. We never wanted this mom to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable.”

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