Woman Breast Pumps In Lobby Of Hotel That Refused To Give Her Access To Somewhere Clean
Lynda Mazzalai Nguyen recently attended a seminar at a San Francisco hotel. When she asked the staff for a private place to pump breast milk, she was outraged when they insisted she pump in a bathroom. Her response? The new mom pumped in the hotel lobby and posted the photo on Facebook. The image of Nguyen proudly pumping in public, along with her account of what happened, has since gone viral, with many commenters chiming in to say that they, too, have struggled to find private, sanitary places to pump.
In an August 13 Facebook post, Nguyen says that she went to the hotel staff while attending a seminar to ask for a private place to pump. They told her to pump in the bathroom. Unsurprisingly, the prospect of pumping food for her baby in a public bathroom was less than appealing. “F*CK YOU! NO!”, Nguyen responded. “I told them they don't eat lunch in the bathroom, so it's gross to expect me to contaminate baby's milk in there.”
Nguyen recounts the range of dubious reasons she was given for why there was not a single space in an entire hotel for her to pump:
If you’re wondering, “But, wait, what about the hotel staff who need to pump?”, Nguyen thought of that, too: “What about employees who pump? Where do they go? ‘We don't have any employees who pump.’” That seems… incredibly unlikely.
As Elissa Strauss at Slate points out, women in most states are guaranteed the right to breastfeed in public by law, but there are far fewer protections for women who need to pump, especially if they aren’t at work. (The Affordable Care Act requires that employers allow women to pump at work, though that policy doesn’t apply to all workers). Since many women who breastfeed also pump, the common lack of lactation facilities seems like a glaring oversight.
In Nguyen’s case, the hotel staffer eventually said she could use the hotel’s wine cellar, but when Nguyen came back later to pump, she decided to make a statement:
In a follow up to her original post, Nguyen added that the hotel does appear to have a decent policy in place for pumping moms; the problem was that the staff didn’t implement it. “The GM told me that they do have policies in place,” she wrote. “[P]lan A: hotel room and if those are sold out then plan B: an office. … I believe it's a matter of inconsistency with their staff training.”
Nguyen’s post has been shared over 20,000 times. She writes,