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Mom told she couldn’t breastfeed baby at gym, fitness center claims misunderstanding

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Posted at 2:40 PM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-27 10:47:06-05

GWINNETT COUNTY, Georgia – A mother in Gwinnett County, Georgia, says she was shocked when a local gym wouldn’t let her breast-feed her baby in the women’s locker room.

She says she was given two other choices.

One of them was a chair by the front door.

“It was either going into a disgusting bathroom and sitting on a toilet seat to feed him or standing in front of all of these strangers coming and going while my body is exposed to everyone coming in and leaving the gym,” mom Caroline Hoffman said.

Those are the two options Hoffman says this staff inside the Buford LA Fitness gave her when she tried to breast feed her 7-month-old son, Eliott, in the locker room.

She says they said there were liability issues and that a staff member confronted her in the restroom.

“I was really embarrassed because she was standing outside my stall door going, ‘Ma’am, ma’am, you can’t be back here so I went to the front right away to the desk,” Hoffman said.

The mother of two said she has never experienced anything like this before.

She said, “I’ve breastfed in tons of major places; the Georgia Dome, the aquarium, every mall and restaurant.”

She says she posted about the experience on Facebook and soon her husband got a call from the LA Fitness manager apologizing.

She showed a letter she says the district manager wrote her which states Hoffman received “wrong information” and she is “permitted to breastfeed anywhere in the gym you would normally be.”

That is consistent with Georgia law.

The law states mothers can breastfeed wherever they can legally be.

Hoffman said she knew that and was shocked the gym’s staff didn’t.

“We have rights,” Hoffman said. “Businesses need to think about mothers; we are paying customers, too.”

Hoffman doesn’t know if she’ll be back.

She said if she does visit LA Fitness, it will more than likely be a different location.