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Local moms discuss controversy surrounding Kentucky Kingdom breastfeeding policy

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky Kingdom's President and CEO had to clear the air following controversy surrounding a breastfeeding policy at the Louisville amusement park.

A state law protects a mother's right to breastfeed a child anywhere at anytime. Some women in Pike County who work to educate new moms about breastfeeding and their rights ... say a situation like this really impacts their progress.

The news of a mom being asked to not nurse in public spread like wildfire on social media.

Amber Varney says, "I was a little appalled, because it is a water park. People are walking around in bathing suits and everything else. A lady sitting in a corner with a blanket nursing her baby is asked to leave?"

The policy asks mothers to use discretion which Varney, a nursing mother and member of the East Kentucky Women's Care Collective, says contradicts the state law in place to protect moms who choose to breast feed.

"Nowhere in the state law does it say that you have to use discretion," says Varney. She adds, "Asking a mom to use discretion .... your idea of discretion could be completely different than my idea of discretion."

Ashley Stewart, a certified lactation counselor and also a breastfeeding mother says, "It shouldn't be that way anywhere. Moms are just simply trying to feed their babies. A mom that is bottle feeding...you wouldn't go tell her to go to the bathroom to feed her baby."

The state law says a mother is allowed to nurse their child anywhere they are legally allowed to be ... whether it is public or private.

Varney says, "Whatever is right for you and your family, you should be able to do that and you should feel confident in that. You shouldn't feel like you have to go hide in a bath house or a bathroom to nurse your baby because you are just feeding your child."

Friday morning Kentucky Kingdom president, Ed Hart, released a statement saying the park has no restrictions for breast feeding mothers...which these moms say they greatly appreciate.

Stewart says, "I was really impressed that he addressed everything going on and I hope that they keep that stance and write up a formal policy so that moms can see that before they go in, so they know that they are not going to be harassed."

Ed Hart also addressed the term of discretion in their policy by saying, "We will leave it up to mom to determine and know, when and where she desires to breastfeed - whether publicly or privately...Regarding displaying 'discretion,' we will leave it up to mom to make that determination and in no way will our staff interfere with mom's decision."

Hart also offered apologies to anyone the park may have offended.

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