It’s 2021, but breastfeeding is still surrounded by taboos. This was recently made clear in a situation at Disneyland Paris, where a 33-year-old mother was prevented from nursing her two-month-old baby while sitting and waiting for her husband and son to return from one of the park’s attractions.
The repercussion of the case began when another visitor to the site, the psychiatrist Marie Astier, witnessed the scene and recorded the approach of the nursing woman by security officials. “Yesterday, her security guards prevented a mother from breastfeeding her 2-month-old baby, claiming it would shock other customers. In France, in July 2021, to prevent breastfeeding… Where are we?”, he wrote in the tweet in which he marked Disneyland Paris, in search of a positioning for the park.
@DisneylandParis Yesterday your security agents prevented a mother from breastfeeding her 2 month old baby on the grounds that it shocked foreign customers! In France, in July 2021!
Breastfeeding obstruction offense, where are we?@FionaLazaar @MarleneSchiappa pic.twitter.com/rhRT8HHgwq
— marieastier (@marieastier) July 4, 2021
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Parisien, the mother, identified only as Laura, gave more details about the situation. She explained that, even with park restrictions, there were a lot of people in the place. This caused her to take a long time to find an environment to sit and nurse her son, who was crying.
When she found a bench, she sat down and nursed the baby for ten minutes until she was approached by security guards, asking her to cover herself to finish breastfeeding. “They said if I didn’t want to do this, I would have to go somewhere else because there were people from other cultures and religions who could see me,” Laura explained.
Together we are stronger!
Also in the French newspaper article, Marie was also interviewed. She said she overheard local officials telling Laura that she couldn’t breastfeed her child without covering herself, as it was park policy, an order such as the mandatory use of a mask. “But it had nothing to do with it and the situation irritated me!”, completed the psychiatrist.
Faced with what happened, more than registering the absurdity that Laura was being subjected to, Marie decided to sit beside her and also start nursing her son on the spot. “The security didn’t tell me anything. They certainly didn’t want to make a fuss about putting an end to a crowd of women breastfeeding,” she commented. Laura also said that the psychiatrist’s attitude, coming after such annoyance, moved her.
Disneyland Paris’ position on the case
As they left the park, Laura and her partner filed a complaint about what had happened. At the time, the site’s security director apologized, and later the mother was approached again for another apology, as well as being told that she would be reimbursed for the inconvenience.
On social media, the official Disneyland Paris profile issued a direct response to the tweet made by Marie: “We deeply regret this situation and, once again, we leave our sincere apologies to the mother in question. The order made by security guards is not in accordance with our rules of procedure and values. There are no restrictions on breastfeeding at Disneyland Paris”, she highlighted. They also pointed out that the place has strived to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all families.
The park also stated, in another post, that it offers a care center for babies with special seats for breastfeeding, if the family prefers. French Citizenship Minister Marlène Schiappa, marked in the posts, responded to this tweet as well. “Dear @DisneylandParis, breastfeeding a baby is not a crime. It’s great that they have dedicated rooms, but we don’t decide where or when the baby will be hungry”, he wrote.
We deeply regret this situation and once again offer our sincere apologies to the mother concerned. The request made of it is not in line with our internal regulations and our values. There is no restriction on breastfeeding at Disneyland Paris (1/2)
— Disneyland Paris (@DisneylandParis) July 6, 2021
Although the attitude of the park is necessary so that other mothers do not go through the same situation as Laura, she explains that she still mentally revisits the scene every time she breastfeeds her baby. “My heart races as soon as I have to feed my child. We have to stop bothering the mothers!”, emphasized Laura.