Julie Mazziotta
June 21, 2017 02:04 PM

An Illinois mom is speaking out after she says she was told not to breastfeed at a public pool.

Brei Theisen decided to nurse her 14-month-old daughter on the pool deck at Wood River Aquatic Center.

“I went to the side of the pool to breastfeed her, and I didn’t feel like it was necessary for me to cover up because it is 90 degrees outside, so I did do it as discreetly as I could,” Theisen, 23, tells St. Louis’ Fox 2.

But soon after, a pool employee came over and told her to cover up to avoid bothering the other swimmers, according to Theisen. She then spoke with the pool manager before deciding to leave.

“After the situation I did go speak to the higher boss, and I was told that just because I was comfortable changing her in a public restroom that I should be comfortable feeding her there,” Theisen says.

“I feel like you can’t compare the two because you wouldn’t eat where you go to the bathroom.”

RELATED VIDEO: Breastfeeding Mother Threatened With Arrest


Illinois law allows mothers to breastfeed “in any location, public or private.”

Wood River Aquatic Center said in a statement, shared with PEOPLE, that they will follow the law going forward.

“Our manager and staff have been fully briefed on the law and will incorporate the law into our training for all employees immediately. We apologize to the mother and child or any inconvenience we may have caused them.”

Theisen says she doesn’t plan to return to the pool again, but is glad that her experience is contributing to a broader dialogue about breastfeeding rights.

“This is the chance for someone to stand up for those who aren’t comfortable because of situations like this,” she says. “This is why people won’t breastfeed in public, because of situations like this.”

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