Nursing Mother Was Asked to Move to Restroom at Kentucky Kingdom [RANT]
Last week, Renee Villatoro, mother of two, took her infant, two-year-old and niece and nephew to Kentucky Kingdom. (As the mother of a two-year-old, I'm already in awe of this woman.) While the older children were riding a ride, she took her two children to a nearby rock and sat down to nurse her fussy infant. Keep in mind, she kept all things hidden with a nursing cover.
Within minutes, a teen employee asked her to move to a restroom. Villatoro told Huffington Post, "I thought I had to comply. However, I could not take two strollers and toddlers and a newborn to the bathroom." Instead, Villatoro stayed put and called her mother in tears.
Her mother explained that most states have breastfeeding laws prohibiting businesses or authority figures from making nursing mothers exit the property or move to a secluded location like a restroom. In Kentucky, there are laws specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location, as well as, exempting breastfeeding from public indecency laws.
So, she immediately went to guest serves where she filled out a form. They called her that evening to apologize but told her she could have gone to the health services area instead of the bathroom. Villatoro felt that the park missed the point - which is that she has the right to breastfeed her child, wherever she wants.
She then took to Facebook, posting this photo. Her nursing support group, Mama's Hip, shared the post on their page. Hundreds of people commented and the group planned a "nurse in." I assume this is like a sit-in, only mothers will be nursing their children.
The park responded via a comment that was later taken down. The then posted this statement:
Some Facebook followers have misconstrued our earlier statement regarding breastfeeding. So, for clarity, please refer to the policy:
At Kentucky Kingdom, mothers can and have always been welcome to breastfeed anywhere in the park, provided they use discretion.
However, for those who desire privacy, Kentucky Kingdom has several locations at their disposal including three health services buildings and two bath houses with private stalls located in Hurricane Bay.
This is our official statement and we caution everyone from posting comments that are uninformed or posing as imposters.
Kentucky Kingdom's CEO, Ed Hart, reached out to Villatoro. She explained that he apologized and said he applauded her breastfeeding. He also offered to add more rocking chairs to the designated Health Services building.
"I don't want anything or need a special chair or area to breastfeed, I just want to be able to plop on a rock, whip out my cover up and feed my baby," she told HuffPost. "I really just want their policy to reflect the law and for it to be practiced in the park, not just on paper."
Kentucky Kingdom has since released another statement, this one from Ed Hart: