When Lynda Nguyen asked employees at Embassy Suites in San Francisco for a place to pump breast milk while attending a work conference, she says she was offered a public bathroom. "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," the new mom wrote on Facebook, per the Huffington Post. After much back and forth—she says she was denied access to a hotel room because she hadn't paid for one, and told none were available though Expedia said otherwise—she was told to use the wine cellar. Instead, to showcase the challenges nursing moms face, a "livid" Nguyen sat down next to the reception desk, began pumping with a hands-free pumping bra, then posted defiantly about her experience online, reports Slate.
"Do NOT piss off a mama who knows her rights and is a social worker to boot!" she wrote in the post, which is laced with more than one f-bomb and has been shared 19,000 times. It has some calling her a "hero," with many moms describing similar experiences. Others mention hotels "that provided accommodations without batting an eye," Nguyen says, so "there's hope that more places will eventually follow suit and get it right." Nguyen adds she eventually spoke with a general manager, who assured her that nursing moms are to be given access to a room or an office if needed, "so I believe it's a matter of inconsistency with their staff training." However, Slate points out that only a few states have laws on the issue. A rep for the National Women's Law Center notes "this sort of online activism can help a lot." (Embassy Suites could learn from Delta.)