A golf club has “unreservedly” apologized to a Toronto mother after the facility’s restaurant manager asked her to breastfeed her son in the basement during a charity event.
Alex Shimo and her partner Lia Grimanis were at the Lambton Golf and Country Club Saturday evening when Shimo went to breastfeed her two-month-old son Jacob in a hallway.
The club’s restaurant manager came up to Shimo a short time later to say some patrons said ‘they don’t want to see that’ while they’re eating.
“He then whipped out a table cloth and he used it as a shield to hide me from view of the other diners,” Shimo said, adding he escorted her and her son to the basement.
“It was a really awkward time and the way that he shielded me and hid me from other people made me feel embarrassed and ashamed – like this was disgusting the thing I was doing and that no one should have to see this.”
Grimanis came looking for them and after learning what happened, she posted a picture of Shimo on Facebook explaining the situation.
“Social media went ballistic,” she said.
“We started getting messages from across Canada, the United States, U.K., Germany, Denmark and most of them were saying, ‘We can’t believe this is happening to you.’”
The family left shortly after and the charity’s organizers said they would speak with the golf club.
Lambton Golf and Country Club issued an apology Monday after the incident.
“Our staff member should have acted differently and not have asked you to move to another location at the club to continue feeding your baby. We deeply regret that this caused you to feel embarrassed,” the club wrote in a letter to Shimo.
“We recognize that you and other mothers who come to Lambton as members or guests are entitled to breastfeed their children without covering up and should not be asked to move from a location that is comfortable and convenient for them.”
The club said it will educate its patrons and staff on the Ontario Human Rights Code, which bars discrimination against a woman who is breastfeeding. It also said club staff will undergo sensitivity training.
Shimo said the club took the corrective measures she wanted, but she has a message for those who discriminate against breastfeeding mothers.
“I say that this is a beautiful act. It’s an act that sustains life. It’s very important as a way of bonding between mother and child, and it’s a human right.”
Story by Nick Westoll