News

Breastfeeding mother in tears after being told to cover up

Liana Webster – pictured with Kylan, 6, Jayda, 5, and daughter Rori Webster-Camilleri – has faced discrimination after breastfeeding at the Bribie Island Aquatic Centre.
Liana Webster – pictured with Kylan, 6, Jayda, 5, and daughter Rori Webster-Camilleri – has faced discrimination after breastfeeding at the Bribie Island Aquatic Centre. IAIN CURRY

WOULD you be offended by a mother breastfeeding her child in public?

A Bribie Island woman was left feeling embarrassed and ashamed when staff at Bribie Island Aquatic Centre asked her to cover up or get out while she was breastfeeding her daughter at the side of a pool.

Liana Webster, who was with her three children at the time, said she had been sitting on the side of the pool feeding her daughter Rori, when an employee told her she wasn't allowed to feed there and asked her to refrain from feeding out in the open.

Ms Webster said she was told to move to the baby change room or to a more secluded area and to cover herself.

"I said that telling me to stop feeding was illegal but the staff member insisted that it wasn't," Ms Webster said.

"I was told I was offending other patrons. I was in my togs and with my kids so I didn't really have a way of covering up."

Ms Webster said the incident made her cry due to the embarrassment of being told in front of her children.

"We were at a pool where people were showing skin in all kinds of directions, it made me feel as though I was doing something I should be ashamed of."

Breastfeeding Friendly Communities manager Alannah Shore, of Gladstone, said more than 90% of Australian women left hospital breastfeeding babies, so it was time the whole community showed its support and made sure mums didn't  feel uncomfortable when their baby needed a breastfeed.

"Just as we socialise when we eat, so babies have the right to be included in their family's normal activities and not be taken away to have their meals or snacks in cars or toilets or under blankets," Mrs Shore said.

The breastfeeding counsellor said it was quite permissable for a mother to sit at the edge of a pool and feed her baby.

"Breastfeeding is such a contentious issue - people either really don't mind or really don't approve," she said.

"But where mums are allowed to be, babies are allowed to be."

A spokeswoman from the Australian Breastfeeding Association said under federal law it was illegal to tell anyone to stop breastfeeding.

A Moreton Bay Regional Council spokesperson said staff at the council-owned Bribie Island Aquatic Leisure Centre had received a complaint about a mother breastfeeding in the pool from another family, also in the pool.

The staff member was concerned about the comfort of the breastfeeding mum and offered her access to the centre's mothers' room or alternatively a chair for the convenience of both mum and baby, the spokesperson said.

The council has since apologised to Ms Webster.

"Moreton Bay Regional Council regrets any distress caused to the mother or her family, and staff have been made aware of the relevant legislation in this area," the spokeswoman said.

Good to know:

  • Under Australian Federal law, breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.
  • Under the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding.
  • In Queensland, breastfeeding discrimination is explicitly illegal.
  • The Gladstone branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association's next meeting will be on February 13 from 10am at the Women's Health Centre, 9 Derby St.
  • The Australian Breastfeeding Association's helpline is available seven days a week. Phone 1800 686 268.

Would you be offended by a mother breastfeeding in public?

This poll ended on 17 February 2013.

Yes - 6%

No - 82%

Sometimes - 10%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  breastfeeding, bribie island, gladstone, parenting




New church to open in Calliope, February

BIGGER AND BETTER: Lifestyle Church, which opened in Gladstone 10 years ago yesterday, celebrated their Milestone by announcing the church is expanding to Calliope in February. Pictured: Gabby Curro, 12. and Erica El-Khori, 11.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

LIFESTYLE Church are expanding to Calliope

Fishing industry squeezed out by new 60% target

THE fishing industry is casting its eye over the State Government’s green paper on fisheries management reform.

FISHING industry casting eye over State Government's green paper

Man, 69, throws at rocks neighbour’s fence to quiet barking hounds

FILE PHOTO: Gladstone Courthouse, Yarroon St.

Man calls police after neighbour rocks his fence

Latest deals and offers

Reno stars want tradies to focus a little more on one thing

The Demmrichs want Tradies to look after their most important tool

Day 2 Splendour Pictures

Sticky Fingers perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Splendour in the Grass Day 2 covered in pictures.

WATCH: News reader tries her hand at hardcore shooter, Doom

Veteran journo and noob gamer takes a shot at Doom

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles