YMCA responds to ’embarrassing’ breastfeeding incident

Posted at 11:40 PM, May 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-13 23:40:54-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --  Emily Walcott said she's outraged and embarrassed  after being kicked out of the women's locker room while breastfeeding her 3-month-old daughter. In response, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids said in a statement they are "working to address this report."

After she finished her workout, Walcott was approached by a YMCA staff member. "She wanted me to leave. I thought it was a joke," Walcott said.

Walcott had picked her daughter up from the nursery and taken her into the locker room to breastfeed.

Embarrassed and uncomfortable, she obliged when asked to leave the locker room, Walcott said.

"After I started questioning (the staff member) about it, she said (the baby) wasn't allowed to be fed in there because she was under 18 and she could look at other women in there that were naked," said Walcott.

"She never even acknowledged the breastfeeding, she just said, 'What you're doing is wrong.' She asked me to go into the little girls locker room, which I thought was even more odd. She was extremely rude, and I almost felt wrong for feeding (the baby). I felt uncomfortable, and she started to walk away and asked me to leave the locker room."

Kim Ritz, Brand Strategy and Marketing Director for the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, released a statement late Wednesday night.

"As an association that promotes health and well-being, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids supports the decision of mothers to breast feed their child in locations in our facilities in which they feel comfortable," said Ritz. "We continue to educate our staff members about this commitment. We are working to address this report as it is not reflective of YMCA values."

Walcott said she doesn't plan on returning to the downtown YMCA unless she's allowed to breastfeed in the women's locker room.