Mother shocked over breastfeeding discrimination at spa
"SHE made me feel dirty and guilty for breastfeeding my child."
Emu Park mother of two Ren Bergman is humiliated and devastated after the spa manager of Rosslyn Bay Resort and Beaches Bistro's Keppel Blue Relaxation Spa allegedly told her it was inappropriate and unacceptable to breastfeed her child while at a beauty appointment.
Mrs Bergman said she has been visiting the Rosslyn Bay spa, restaurant and resort for about two years and didn't have a bad thing to say about the resort.
But that all changed on Wednesday afternoon.
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"They're really great there and my husband and I often go in and get couples massages, I have beauty treatments, we eat at the restaurant and visit the resort," Mrs Bergman said.
"I always let them know whether I will be bringing either of my two children with me and there's never been an issue.
"I booked in on Wednesday afternoon for an eyebrow, lip and arm wax and did all the right things. I told them I'd be bringing my baby along and they said it was fine."
Mrs Bergman said a few minutes into her appointment her son began to get fussy and she asked if it was okay if she put him on her breast.
Given the okay to feed her child, Mrs Bergman did, but soon decided to cut her appointment short and come back another day when her son continued to crack up and started crying.
"It was all fine but when I went to pay, rebook and leave, the manager Isabel came out and glared at me so I asked her what was wrong," Mrs Bergman said.
"She then stormed over to me near the door and said 'You didn't tell me you were bringing the baby' then yanked the door open for me to leave. I responded 'Yes I did, I always bring him.'
"She then said 'No, you do not but it's too late now so never mind' then gestured rudely out the door for me to leave. I was in complete shock."
After speaking to the Rosslyn Bay Resort owner and manager over the phone, Mrs Bergman said she called the spa manager to voice her disappointment.
"She said 'Well you know what? I didn't appreciate you breastfeeding your baby during a treatment. It is unacceptable and inappropriate. Breastfeeding him there is not on, it's just not appropriate. You need to feed your baby before bringing him in to appointments so he doesn't cry'," Mrs Berman said.
Mrs Berman said no one should be made to feel ashamed for looking after their child.
"She made me feel dirty and guilty for breastfeeding my child. You're trying your best to look after your child and you feel like a failure. It was blatant humiliation," she said.
"I'm not out to get anyone fired but I want her to admit that she said it was inappropriate to breastfeed my child and I want a proper apology.
"I really want the Rosslyn Bar Resort and Beaches Bistro to know I love the resort, restaurant and spa and all the staff there but it is the actions of one individual that I am upset about."
A spokesperson for Rosslyn Bay Resort's Keppel Blue Relaxation Spa responded to Mrs Bergman's claims.
"At Keppel Blue Relaxation Spa we do, and always have tried to accommodate mothers who bring their children with them while they visit the spa ensuring a safe environment at all times," the spokesperson said.
"It was not our intention to offend the client or make them feel uncomfortable and we have apologised to the client.
"We are and always have been accepting of mothers who need to breast feed while having treatments at the spa as long as it poses no threat to the child.
"People should also be made aware that a false Facebook identity has been created by persons unknown in the name of our spa director. We have requested that Facebook closes this account immediately."
In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.
In Queensland breastfeeding is a protected attribute. Discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding is explicitly illegal in all areas of public life.
Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding. Direct discrimination happens when a person treats someone less favourably than another person.
Babies can be breastfed anywhere and anytime
What to do if you are verbally attacked for breastfeeding:
Seek support through family, friends, your GP or a counsellor
Call the Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800686268
Attend a local ABA group meeting
Do not respond to aggressive behaviour and contact police when possible to report an incident
If you feel you have grounds for complaint, you can contact the Federal Commission for free advice on 1300656419