Breastfeeding now banned in all Wellington City Council pools

Wellington City Council has today confirmed it is banning breastfeeding in all its public pools, six months after a mother was told to get out of a council run pool because she was breastfeeding her toddler.

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Rebecca Robertson explains what happened at Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie. Source: Seven Sharp

The council said the ban is in place due to pool water quality standards and the heightened risk of vomiting.

Parenting rooms will be available at the pools where breastfeeding can take place.

In May Rebecca Robertson was asked to leave the pool by a staff member at Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie with her 20-month-old Frankie.

At the time, Ms Robertson told TVNZ 1’s Seven Sharp the staff member said she had to get out of the pool because it breached the facility’s food and beverage policy.

She said she had issues with the policy, and hoped that speaking up would prompt the council to take another look.

Since then the council has reviewed its process in order to make sure the policy it has in place is appropriate.

It will now give council officers more information and clarity around breastfeeding in public places and will provide a process for them to ask customers not to breastfeed in the pool and any required training.

The council said it supports breast feeding at any of its public libraries, pools, public building and community spaces, and it also has parenting rooms available should parents require a quiet space.

The council’s website for each of the public swimming pools has been updated to fit with the reviewed policy, and physical signage for the facilities is under review.