“Last Friday, we were in Tampa visiting family and took both of our girls to the Busch Gardens amusement park along with Chris, (my husband) my sister-in-law, and our nephew. It was raining and most of the attractions were closed, with very few people at the amusement park that day. We were in Sesame Street Place and our toddler was on the carousel with my husband, so I sat down on a nearby bench out of the rain, pulled out my nursing cover, and began feeding our 6 month old as it began to pour. Although it’s irrelevant to the Florida breastfeeding statute, it’s worth noting I was completely covered.
Within a minute, a female Busch Gardens employee approached me and told me I could not breastfeed my child on the bench or out in the open, because doing so would be offensive to park patrons, and I would have to move. She suggested I go to the nursery, despite the fact it was now pouring rain during a thunderstorm and there was only one other couple in the area.
I was completely shocked and my only response to her was ‘you can’t be serious.’ I continued feeding, and the woman walked away to another male employee about 20 feet away. After a minute she approached me a second time and said I could not continue feeding my baby in public, that I had to move and I would be offending park guests, even though she could not ‘make’ me do so.
I tweeted at Busch Gardens with the incident that weekend, and they said they were ‘looking into this situation to ensure our ambassadors are properly trained.’
.@BuschGardens I guess it’s your policy to tell breastfeeding mothers that they’re offending other patrons by feeding their babies at your park. Your employee approached me twice to tell me I couldn’t feed my baby while using a nursing cover. Not ok. Also illegal.
— Christina Locher (@ChristinaLoche2) August 18, 2019
They also asked me to send a DM with more information, which I did, and have not heard back. Others on Twitter have asked Busch Gardens to clarify their policy on breastfeeding which they have not done.
Florida’s breastfeeding statute Section 383.015 provides mothers the right to breastfeed in any public or private place they are legally allowed to be, irrespective of whether the nipple is exposed.
This is a photo with the same cover I had at Busch Gardens, although I’m not breastfeeding.
I am shocked that any company- let alone one marketed towards families with young children – would adopt a policy of intolerance towards breastfeeding or try to shame a mother for breastfeeding her child. Busch Gardens needs to revise their policies, retrain their staff and stop sending the message that breastfeeding is in any way offensive- which is not a message I want to pass to my daughters. In the meantime, breastfeeding moms should know their rights before stepping out, and next time, visit Disney.”
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