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Breastfeeding too natural for some gyms

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Outrage is rising after a mom was told she could not breastfeed her baby inside her gym's daycare.  She was asked to go to the restroom to breastfeed.

The gym has since apologized and said she can breastfeed inside the daycare, but she feels like they made an exception just to keep her quiet.  She is concerned other parents will run into the same problem here and at other gyms.

Any mother who has ever nursed a child knows when a baby's gotta eat; a baby's gotta eat.  State law says "a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be."  Lori Painter said she was told she couldn't breastfeed her 13-month-old son Jacob inside the daycare of Blast Fitness in Webster, Texas.

"I was nursing as I have done the past six to eight weeks; manager called down and said I needed to move and go nurse in the bathroom," Painter said.  "They said they didn't want parents in the drop-off area.  Well, part of dropping him off is making sure he's fed."

She complained to management and they issued her an apology, but she isn't satisfied.  She thinks the gym is just trying to shut her up and she doesn't want other moms to run into the same problem at other gyms.

"I called other gyms and asked about their breastfeeding policy, and most told me they didn't have one or that it wasn't allowed in their gym," she said.

When I called several area gyms myself, I got very similar responses:

"You have to go to the restroom," the LA Fitness in League City said.

"No, no breastfeeding, no. That's not allowed, not even in the daycare," a Blast Fitness in Dallas said.

"I can have you go into the restroom in the kid's club, but I can't have u breastfeeding around the children," an LA Fitness in Cypress said.

Only a 24-Hour Fitness in League City said it would be fine.

"We do have an area for that if she wants to do it in the kid's club; she's more than welcome to," they said.

What do gym-goers think?  The ones I spoke with all told me they don't think breastfeeding should be done inside a gym daycare.

"I'm old-fashioned; don't think its proper."

"You should have a room."

"I would take precautions and not offend anyone and show nudity."

Michelle Hickman is trying to change this kind of attitude.  Hickman breastfed her baby in a Houston-area Target store in 2011 and was asked to go to a dressing room.

"I get calls everyday and it's sad," Hickman said.  "Mothers have a legal right to breastfeed.  That right is not upheld and people aren't educated about that right."

There is a hotline moms can call to report nursing-in-public incidents: 855-NIP-FREE

Painter has organized a peaceful protest for Saturday morning.  It will be held outside of the Blast Fitness in Webster from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  At 1 p.m., a nurse-in will be held at the Applebee's in Pasadena in response to a similar situation in Georgia.

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