Wellington City Council bans breastfeeding in pools

Breastfeeding will be banned in Wellington community pools due to contamination risk, the City Council says.

While the Council supports breastfeeding at any of its public spaces, it has confirmed mothers will not be permitted to sit in the water to breastfeed.

"Due to national pool water quality standards requirement and the heightened risk of vomiting resulting in pool closure, the council officers will ask customers not to breastfeed in the pool," said a decision released to Newshub on Wednesday.

The decision follows controversy earlier this year when Wellington woman Rebecca Robertson was told she couldn't breastfeed her baby in the shallows of Kilbirnie Pool as it breached the food and beverage policy.

The new policy will be on the council's website and added to existing pool rules.

La Leche League NZ, a breastfeeding support group, has condemned the new policy.

National coordinator Janine Pinkham said it was "disappointing" the council hasn't observed the "human rights of the mother to be able to breastfeed wherever she's allowed to be".

Pinkham told NZME baby vomit was not a risk to hygiene.

"Babies spill and they usually spill every feed, it doesn't matter how they've been fed," she said.

"So a couple of little drops of baby milk is not going to be cause for emptying out the whole pool," she continued.

The council says its staff will be trained to handle incidents involving breastfeeding and will offer anyone breastfeeding with an alternative location in which to do so.

Documents released by the council show there are currently no parent rooms open across its Library and Community Centres, although two are due to open in December and the New Year. 

A council spokesperson said any customer who wished to breastfeed would be shown a private space to do so by staff.