Belinda Lang of East Ballina would like more community awareness of breastfeeding women’s rights after being told she couldn’t feed her daughter Elorah, 18 months, at the Wet’n’Wild theme park on the Gold Coast.
Belinda Lang of East Ballina would like more community awareness of breastfeeding women’s rights after being told she couldn’t feed her daughter Elorah, 18 months, at the Wet’n’Wild theme park on the Gold Coast. Cathy Adams

Breastfeeding 'too wild'

A BREASTFEEDING mum has received an apology from a Queensland water-slide park where she was instructed not to breastfeed in public.

Belinda Lang, 29, of Ballina said she was singled out while breastfeeding her 18-month-old daughter Elorah at the Wet'n'Wild theme park on Sunday, November 27.

The incident occurred while she was on a blow-up tube in slow-moving water at the Calypso Beach attraction, which, like the rest of the park, is promoted as a "family-friendly" location.

"I'd gone past the lifeguards a fair few times, then out of the blue one of the male staff members said, 'You can't breastfeed here'. I was in shock and I looked around at him and said, 'Are you serious?'," Ms Lang said.

She continued breastfeeding but was again asked to stop by a female lifeguard.

Under the Federal Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding.

Mothers who breastfeed their babies at work, in cafes, restaurants, shops and public buildings are also protected from discrimination under Section 7 of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act of 1991.

Ms Lang said she was shocked by the treatment she received.

"The more you think about it the more it upsets you. I just didn't expect it, especially from a staff member because I know my rights and I was shocked they didn't."

Two weeks after the incident Ms Lang made a complaint to the theme park and was happy with the response.

"The lady I spoke to was fantastic. She didn't try and make excuses, she addressed it and apologised and said they will put measures in place to train staff members on the correct way to deal with this sort of situation."

Wet'n'Wild spokeswoman Renee Soutar said women are "absolutely" welcome to breastfeed in the park.

"We have never experienced a guest breast-feeding while riding one of our rides (the Calypso Beach attraction) before and so the lifeguards asked Ms Lang to stop breastfeeding as they felt it may have been a safety risk to her and her baby. Staff are to be given training and we are very sorry for any inconvenience to Ms Lang," she said.

Ms Lang said she stood up for mothers who are less confident about protecting their rights.

"I still want to get the message out there that it is OK for women to breastfeed in public. There are mums who may be sleep-deprived or struggling or even have post-natal depression and they deserve a bit of consideration," she said.



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