A Wellington woman was asked get out of a Kilbirnie pool because breastfeeding her wee tot breached the council's food and beverage policy.

Wellington City Council is standing by its decision.

While it welcomed breastfeeding at council facilities, it was important to maintain water quality standards "by reducing the chance of any foreign matter like food or drink accidentally finding its way into the water".

Rebecca Robertson told Stuff she was feeding her 20-month-old boy Frankie at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre when a staff member told her she was breaching the rules.


"I was sitting in the shallows of the pool and I happened to be talking to an American woman, ironically, about breastfeeding.

"I said you can breastfeed anywhere in New Zealand. Then a female lifeguard came up to me and said, 'I am sorry but you can't breastfeed in the pool'.

"I was shocked that anyone paid attention to me breastfeeding," she told Stuff.

When she questioned the decision she was handed the food and beverage policy.

"A staff member said it was a wee bit like fizzy drink - I might drop it and contaminate the pool.

"That made me laugh. If you look at the research, breast milk is not going to contaminate a pool."

A Wellington City Council spokeswoman told the Herald due to the 'Consuming Food and Beverages' policy, customers who were consuming food or drinking while in the water would be asked to get out of the pool to finish it or discard it.

"Under this policy we clarify that while breastfeeding is welcome at our facilities, it is to be treated like consuming food and our staff will advise parents of a more suitable area, such as on the seated area just outside the water.

"The main reason for this policy is to try and ensure our pools can remain open for the enjoyment of all our customers.

"To do this, it is important to maintain water quality standards by reducing the chance of any foreign matter like food or drink accidentally finding its way into the water.


"In more serious incidences, such as if baby vomit makes its way into the pool, we are forced to close the pool and treat the water for a period of time before reopening to the public."