While attending a seminar recently at the Embassy Suites Hotel at the San Francisco Airport, social worker Lynda Mazzalai Nguyen needed to find a place to pump breastmilk, as she was attending the seminar without her baby. She asked the woman manning the front desk and was shocked by what she was told.
The full post reads as follows (warning to those sensitive to foul language, but this mama bear was MAD!)
“At a seminar at a hotel, went to front desk to ask if there’s a private space where I can pump, and was told by two different staff to use the bathroom. F*CK YOU! NO! I told them they don’t eat lunch in the bathroom, so it’s gross to expect me to contaminate baby’s milk in there.
I was met with so much resistance:
1) “No, you can’t use the hotel rooms since you haven’t paid for it.” Uhh I paid a fee to attend the seminar which paid YOU, so YES, I am a paying customer.
2) “There are no hotel rooms available. We sold out this morning.” LIES. I found rooms on Expedia!
3) “I don’t feel comfortable putting you in an uncleaned room.” So a dirty bathroom with urine and feces is better than a room someone just checked out of?
4) “As staff, we don’t even have offices. Only the GM has an office, but I can’t ask him and it has big glass windows.” I’m fine with windows! “But I can’t have you in his office.”
5) So you’re telling me in the WHOLE entire building there isn’t a single space for me to plug in for 15 min to pump for my baby?? Office? Conference room? Anything? “No, there isn’t. The conference rooms aren’t private since you can’t lock the door and people come in and out.” That’s fine with me, I just need a room with an outlet. “Well, I’m not comfortable putting you in there.” WTF, lady!! Work with me here.
6) What about employees who pump? Where do they go? “We don’t have any employees who pump.” An entire hotel staff and not a single nursing mother now or in the past?! Somehow I doubt that.
After more push back and a stand off because I refused to budge, she went to ask, came back and offered the wine cellar. I said I would come back in a couple hours when it was time to pump.
Based on principle, I decided to pump in the lobby next to reception. F*ck you, @embassysuites .I’m livid. I spoke to the GM and expressed their need to train their staff, and reiterated how appalling it was to be quickly dismissed without any attempts to accommodate my need and offered a bathroom because sir, you don’t eat where you sh*t, so why should my baby! He apologized profusely.
Do NOT piss off a mama who knows her rights and is a social worker to boot!
Edited to add:
1) I’m still in shock my post has been circulated far and wide. NEVER in a million years did I ever think I’d be brave enough to pump in public or it going viral! I don’t even know how that happened!! Mamas are amazing!
2) I bought the bra from Amazon. Search for hands free pumping bra – mine is by Simple Wishes but there are others. I unclip my nursing bra then put that on to pump. No need to wear it all day.
3) Just as an FYI so we know what is a reasonable request: The GM told me that they do have policies in place – plan A: hotel room and if those are sold out then plan B: an office. People have shared that other Embassy Suite locations gave hotel rooms or other private rooms without issue, so I believe it’s a matter of inconsistency with their staff training.
4) THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE AND SUPPORT. AMAZING. I’m both super excited to spread awareness and a little mortified that I’m everywhere. haha
5) I’ve received tons of messages from women sharing their terrible pumping experiences in awful conditions AND wonderful experiences at hotels and other places that provided accommodations without batting an eye! There’s hope that more places will eventually follow suit and get it right!!