Mom says she was shamed for breastfeeding at northwest Columbus gym

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Dublin mom claims she was shamed for breastfeeding her son at her gym.

Aidan Johnson tells NBC4 she was breastfeeding Thursday during a meeting in the café of Premier at Sawmill. She claims the HR manager then asked her to move to a more private area. Johnson says she refused and left the gym.

The general manager was not available to talk with NBC4 about the experience. Personal Training Manager James Buffington also couldn’t speak to the Johnsons’ experience, but he says he supports a woman’s right to breastfeed. Buffington adds that in all his time working at Premier, the customer always comes first.

“I would not work here if I thought this was the way we handled business,” Buffington said.

Regan Koivisto, the president of The Premier at Sawmill Athletic Club released the following statement:

At Premier at Sawmill Athletic Club we love families. We have a long standing commitment proudly supporting mothers who wish to breastfeed their children. As such, we confirm that mothers may breastfeed comfortably during their visits to the club. We regret any misunderstanding and we welcome this opportunity to clarify with all of our employees and members our commitment to families.

Ohio Revised Code 3781.55 says “a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother otherwise is permitted.”

ORC 4112.01 defines a “Place of public accommodation” as “any inn, restaurant, eating house, barbershop, public conveyance by air, land, or water, theater, store, other place for the sale of merchandise, or any other place of public accommodation or amusement of which the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges are available to the public.”

Gyms, health spas and other fitness facilities typically fall under this definition.

The Johnsons say they are sharing their experience to keep it from happening to someone else.

“No woman breastfeeding does it because they want somebody to see them. They do it just to feed their kid,” Johnson said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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