Vancouver Park Board apologizes after mother told to stop breastfeeding at Kerrisdale Arena
'I want to breastfeed my baby and I don't want to sit on a toilet to do it,' says Kristine Bell
The Vancouver Park Board has apologized after a woman said she was told to stop breastfeeding at a park board facility on Saturday.
Kristine Bell, who has four children, said she was was breastfeeding her three-month-old inside the Kerrisdale Arena when an employee approached and told her to stop.
"Lincoln woke up and he was hungry so I started to breastfeed, and the employee came over and told me I couldn't do it — that I had to breastfeed in the washroom," Bell said.
"I want to supervise my kids. I want to breastfeed my baby and I don't want to sit on a toilet to do it."
Bell said the staffer, who looked to be in her early 20s, was unrelenting, and she eventually stopped breastfeeding because she couldn't leave her other children unattended to move to a washroom.
Bell later shared what happened with her friends, and the story eventually made it on to a Facebook page for West Side moms.
"I think there was an uninformed worker who either from a cultural perspective or a lifestyle perspective of some sort does not understand the human rights in Canada. And, unfortunately tried to speak to it as a work problem," said Katharine Todd Millar, a member of the Kitsilano Moms' Facebook group..
It's against B.C. human rights law to forbid women to breastfeed in public.
Donnie Rosa, director of recreation at the Vancouver Park Board, apologized to Bell in person and said the incident was a mistake.
"I apologize if we made anybody feel uncomfortable — absolutely not our intention. And, I think that this young person will never forget this lesson."
With files from Belle Puri
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote to Katharine Todd-Millar, a member of the Kitsilano Moms' Facebook group.May 03, 2018 5:40 AM PT