Niles mother claims she was told not to nurse in local gym

Niles mother claims she was told not to nurse in local gym

THREE RIVERS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan mother's claim about not being allowed to breastfeed in a local gym has gone viral.

The incident is attracting strong opinions on both sides of the public breastfeeding debate.

Meanwhile, the woman at the center of the controversy tells us what she did was not wrong.

What Schyler Pellett says happened on Saturday at Healthtrac Gym in Three Rivers after nursing her baby girl Rowena is still unsettling to her.

"That was the first time we'd ever been there. Because we were going for my girlfriend's son's party," she said.

The mother of four says she has never been uncomfortable breastfeeding in public.

"I nursed her and I didn't see any signs around that said that we couldn't nurse or anything," she said.

So when an employee at Healthtrac approached her, she says it didn't even cross her mind that breastfeeding may be why.

"A lady came in and told me I couldn't nurse near the hot tub, and I asked her why, because I thought maybe there was an actual reason, and she told me it was because it was a gym, and I was kind of confused, it's like, you can't nurse in a gym. She goes no, it is a public place," Pellett said.

The incident sparked a swift response on social media as multiple posts popped up on Healthtrac's Facebook page, condemning the gym for its alleged treatment of Pellett.

Healthtrac posted a statement on its Facebook page denying the claim, saying in part, "at no time have we ever denied a mother the right to breastfeed."

Tuesday evening, the CEO and president of Three Rivers Health issued a statement, which was also posted to the Healthtrac Facebook page, saying in part the events that are being represented were an unfortunate event and do not represent the values of Three Rivers Health.

"I was taken aback, and I was disgusted that she would suggest going into the bathroom to nurse. And I even asked her if she would nurse her kids in the bathroom or feed them in the bathroom and she said no because she didn't have any, so then I asked her if she would eat in the bathroom, and she told me yes if it was clean enough," Pellett said.

The Niles mother says whether or not you are disgusted by the sight of nursing moms, she insists women in Michigan have a right to breastfeed in public.

Pellett says she wants public facilities to be aware of breastfeeding laws and that their policies aren't above the law.