OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Two dozen angry mothers and their infants staged a "nurse-in" Friday outside the doors of the Oceanside fitness club that barred a woman from breastfeeding in the locker room.
With tears in her eyes, Monique Golueke told 10News, "I'm just still really hurt."
Goleuke said she had just renewed her membership to LA Fitness after giving birth to her second son. Both boys were in the gym's "kids club" until a staff member approached her to say they weren't settling down.
Goleuke said she took her 2-year-old and 9-month-old boys into the locker room and began breastfeeding the baby.
"I was approached by a female employee who had told me that there was a complaint, and that children were not allowed in the locker room," recalled Golueke. "There was no sign telling me children were not allowed. I was just nourishing my baby in the locker room, an appropriate place -- so I thought -- and I was asked to leave."
Golueke said she was directed to a restroom in the kids club area, where the only place to feed her baby is sitting on the toilet.
"If you're going to have an establishment that provides child care, you need to be accommodating to nursing mothers," said Golueke.
After telling her story to other young mothers, Golueke's story spread via social media, and within 48 hours, a group of mothers began planning a nurse-in outside the front doors of LA Fitness.
"My immediate reaction was let's hold a nurse-in," said Kira Carrigan, a young mother from Rancho Bernardo. "We work so hard for so long to be able to get to the point where we can breastfeed our babies, and then to have some stranger come up to us and tell us, 'Don't do that,' it just, it hurts."
"It's really sad that stuff like this pops up every now and again," said Christine Zell, a certified lactation educator and mother. "I mean, a mother should not be expected to breastfeed in a bathroom, it's not sanitary, and it's just disgusting."
Some LA Fitness members who passed by on the way to and from their workouts didn't see what the big deal was.
"I don't have a problem with people nursing in public as long as they make an attempt to be a little discreet about it," said Radha Savaram.
Jill Greuling, Vice President of Operations for LA Fitness, sent this statement to 10News:
"We support the right of women to breastfeed in our facilities. When Mrs. Golueke voiced her intention to do so to one of our staff, she was offered space in the Kids Klub or, as an option, the separate restroom within the Kids Klub and a chair if she wanted more privacy. The staff member initially spoke to Mrs. Golueke to let her know that children are not allowed in the locker room area. This conversation occurred because another member observed her in the locker room with small children and reported it to us. As Mrs. Golueke left the club, she spoke to the club General Manager about her workout. No one was aware that Mrs. Golueke was upset until she called our customer service line."