Tokyo Olympics organizers will now allow breastfeeding athletes to bring their babies with them to the Summer Games next month, according to an IOC spokesperson. This stance is the reverse of an earlier decision that barred family members of athletes from attending the games due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
A few breastfeeding athletes have also expressed their duty to choose between the Olympics and their babies and young children – and now that restriction has been eased.
“We are very happy to learn that the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee has found a special solution regarding the entry into Japan of nursing mothers and their young children,” the IOC spokesperson said.
When the restrictions on family members were first announced, Aliphine Tuliamuk, who qualified for the Games last year and decided to have a baby once the Olympics were postponed, asked the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee if her 5-month-old daughter and her fiancé could accompany her to Japan. Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher, who gave birth in March, and American football star Alex Morgan, who has a one-year-old daughter, have both said they hope to bring their babies to the Games this year.
“It is important to allow mothers to have their children with them when they compete,” Morgan said in April. “If a child is less than 1 or 2 years old, they can still be breastfed, so that’s an important part.”
Athletics star Allyson Felix told reporters that she was unsure if she would be able to bring her 2-year-old daughter, Camryn, to Tokyo after the initial restrictions were put in place, but she also said the priority for children in attendance should be infants.
“I would be more sensitive to mothers who are breastfeeding,” she said. “I know for me, when I competed when [Camryn] was less than a year old – you need to be near your child.”
In an Instagram post shared on Sunday, ahead of the announcement of the easing of restrictions, Tuliamuk said she was anxious about leaving her baby.
“I’ve been thinking about the idea of Zoe not coming to Tokyo with me for a while, but I had to start doing it, during the team treatment a week ago in Eugene, and I have a lot cried ever since,” she said. “I know I’ll only be away from her for 10 days, and she’ll be fine, and so many other moms have done the same, but I can’t even imagine being away from her for half a day. .”
How wonderful (and necessary) it is for breastfeeding athletes and new moms to not have to make the choice that working parents have to make too often: career or child.
We’ll be able to watch all of these amazing and inspiring moms compete in the Tokyo Olympics starting July 23!
feeding baby, breastfeeding help, mother guilt, breastfeeding, working mom