Breastfeeding mom says she was asked to leave women's only gym

Houston woman says, 'It's just a meal'

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Houston woman says, 'It's just a meal'

Penny Montgomery-Schlanser. Screenshot: KHOU-11

In a women’s only gym, where female nudity is certainly in abundance, it would be expected that the sight of a breastfeeding mother wouldn’t cause any consternation. Not so, says one Houston woman.

Penny Montgomery-Schlanser claims that she was asked to leave the Pure Fitness for Women gym after breastfeeding her infant son in a public area of the gym, reports KHOU-11.

Montgomery-Schlanser says the “top half of [her] chest was covered and [her son] was over the bottom half covering everything else.”

But Martha Velazquez, a co-owner of the gym, disputes Montgomery-Schlanser’s account, saying that the mom was simply asked to go to a different area of the gym instead of the “Kid’s Club” child care area. She added that an 11-year-old boy was in the area while Montgomery-Schlanser was feeding her baby.


In a statement to the station, the gym said, “We are responsible [in the Kid’s Club area] for both male and female children from the ages of three months to 12 years old. Without express, written consent from a parent or legal guardian of these minor children, we feel we do not have the right to dictate what the parent or guardian determines to be appropriate for their children.”

The statement added that similar situations has occurred “hundreds of times” at they gym and it “has never been an issue before.”

Montgomery-Schlanser responded, “It’s just a meal, that’s it… You don’t go eat a sandwich and put a blanket over your head.”

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  • SlainteGal

    This woman is a moron. As a mother who breastfed her children, I know that there are times when you have to find a quick place to feed the baby. The gym provided a lovely womans lounge for that purpose, but this attention-seeking person decided to breastfeed her toddler in the area designated for kids only, while their parents are in the gym. She disregarded the feelings of the other children, as well as their parents. What should be a beautiful and natural time for a mother to bond with her child became sullied by a woman that decided to use her baby to further her cause.

  • THE mother

    One thing that didn’t make it into the story was that I wasn’t near the main group of children. Another thing that didn’t make it was that the gym’s statement (which is still posted on their FB page if you want to read it yourself) changed from “We asked her to leave because other parents might not want their children to see it” to “She was fully exposing herself in the middle of the group of children” to “We never asked her to leave” If you would like to read my full official statement see

    And @SlainteGal besides the fact that asking a mother to move or cover up is against the law, if the area was for kids only why were mother’s allowed to bottle feed there? Second of all, as a lactivist, maybe I don’t want my boys seeing bottles to feed babies and breasts used to sell beer and hair gel. Third of all, why is a meal such an “intimate affiar” when it comes to a baby? When you eat your lunch is it something that is kept between you and your mother? Fourth of all, she asked me to go to the locker room/bathroom to nurse on a bench. Would you care to eat your lunch in a bathroom on a bench?

  • Nicole Kott Schreiber

    The fact that the first comment came from someone that knows the lounge is ‘lovely’ and is using words like ‘moron’ speaks for itself, doen’t it?

  • Appauled

    I and both of my children were breastfed. I think it is a beautiful thing. However, it is inappropriate for you to do this in front of an 11 year old. Yes it is a meal, however I don’t believe that you need to expose yourself out in a public place when there is a place for you to go in private. I am a huge supporter of brestfeeding, however individuals like yourself need to realize that it is people like you that give it a bad feeling for others. I can’t imagine the embarassment your child is going to have the day they are old enough to Google your name and find this story.

  • THE mother

    @appauled, I don’t think you understand the meaning of “supporting breastfeeding” lol Check out the article “Breastfeeding Mom Ousted From Women’s Gym to ‘Spare Children’ Is Ridiculous”

    @Nicole, my thoughts exactly

  • shocked that people don’t get it

    It makes me so mad as a mom who bottle fed my first two kids and then breastfed my third for 2 years.. Even when I was bottle feeding, I felt that a baby should be allowed to eat in public, I was feeding my babies why couldn’t they? But I thought they needed to be discrete.. Then I had my nursling, and let me tell you, it is not always easy to be as discrete as some people want.. (you know baby all covered with a blanket up to the womans neck)! I was discrete, I wore a nursing cami under a shirt I could pull up, it covered my belly and the top shirt over the top of my breast.. I used to try the blanket but it made him frantic as a newborn and he threw them off once he was older. I am sure I mortified my mother when I nursed in public, but no one ever cared, and the fact of the matter is a mothers instincts to feed her baby when he is hungry, will always over power any dirty looks she gets. People can look away, but the baby can not wait to eat. I would grab the nearest mall bench or seat in a store, and nurse him… play areas, parks. No one complained. Breastfeeding is not a dirty thing. I do not see why the gym was worried about the children seeing it. Breastfeeding is a normal thing, it should not be shamed and hidden. This Gym did something illegal, and they are very naive, they don’t seem to realize that they could be looking at a serious law suit that they will loose.

  • one more thing

    from the point of view of a mom that bottle fed two kids, before becoming a nursing mom, I know that sometimes seeing a mom breastfeeding her child made me feel uncomfortable, BECAUSE it made me feel guilty, that I didn’t provide my child with that wonderful gift, That was MY problem, I knew it then, I know it now! It almost makes me wonder if people who tell moms they can’t nurse their babies in their business or what ever, are just so enraged with guilt that they did not nurse their own babies, that it has turned to hatred for breastfeeding, underneath deep down. From both sides, for all the push to breastfeed, there is in the long run so much more discrimination towards a breastfeeding mom than a bottle feeding mom. It needs to stop! Breastfeeding is shown on Mr Rogers, and Sesame street, and kids get it… go to the petting zoo, do you run your kids away shielding their eyes, when the piglets are nursing on momma pig in the pen? Or do you explain that the piggies are drinking milk from that their mother made for them, just like all other mammals do for their young. People are much more comfortable around it when they are raised knowing it is normal.. trying to hide it from kids is a good way to pass your own hang ups onto them.

  • Slaintegal

    Penny, the law states that a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be. There is NOTHING in the law about it being illegal to ask a woman to cover up. Do you know why? Because most mothers use their common sense and shouldn’t need that part spelled out. I don’t think they should allow any parents in the kids area unless it’s to pick up the kids. You are doing the same thing that religious zealots have done to Christians and Muslims. Good people are made to look bad. You are making breastfeeding mothers look bad. We’re not all extremists who believe the “cause” is more important than teaching our children to not grow up with a sense of self-entitlement. Breastfeeding is always a time to bond with your baby, unless of course you’re doing it to “make a statement”…then I can understand why it’s hard for you to comprehend the beauty of it. And to answer your final question: Why do you believe a kids area, full of germs and wonderful sweaty children is any more appropriate of a place to feed your baby, than a locker room? Try again.

  • SlainteGal

    Shocked: So the only choices available for those around a breastfeeding mother are watch or leave? Did you know there are ways for a mother to breastfeed her baby without drawing any attention to herself? When most people eat, they don’t need others watching them to enjoy their meal. I doubt your baby, or any woman’s baby, needs anything more than milk to be happy. Why do so many of you dramactivists believe you’re any different than the people you fight against?

  • RLa B St Louis

    @SlainteGal: Since you seemed to be interested in educating those around you perhaps you might find it worth your time to spend 5 minutes reading the exact details of the law with regard to asking a nursing mother to move or cover up… although that may not interest you since you seem to be operating on a platform of complete ignorance. Ignorance to the Law as well I might add, to complete ignorance to the specifics of this situation. If your argument is based soley on the fact that you believe breastfeeding is Good but exposing yourself and attention seeking is Bad, maybe it would also be in your interests to posses SOME sort of intimate knowledge on whether Penny specifically exposed herself or acted in a way that was attention seeking before you begin to make an argument on the subject. But as I said before..Ignorant…or maybe moron WOULD be a good word to use ,in this specific situation.

  • R La B St Louis

    Heres some more food for thought: Upon further deliberation with regard to your ignorance to the specifics of this situation I think I may have to reconsider. Maybe you are privy to the intimate details of this particular situation. Maybe..and I can’t prove this of course, but maybe your involvement in this situation was even firsthand. Consider this readers: SlainteGal was the first to respond. She used the terms “Lovely” and “Lounge” when referring to the bathroom/locker room as Nichole earlier pointed out and those were word for word the same as used by the owner of the gym which I realized after posting were NOT quoted in this article! Third and most compelling to me is SlainteGal used the term toddler when refeering to Pennys baby while Pennys baby’s age was not included in the article except where referred to as an “Infant”. Not to mention her argument which implied some sort of firsthand knowledge of Pennys level of “exposure”. How sick would it be if the owner were masquerading as a “breasfeeding mother” and resorting to name calling on comment boards in an underhanded attempt to continue her defense in BREAKING the LAW and refusing to back down?? I can’t prove any of this, of course. Thats kind of the point in anonymous chatboards.

  • SlainteGal

    And….the conspiracy theories begin. “Lovely” and “lounge” were actually gleaned from the previous articles and comments from people who are members. The toddler to which I referred came straight from observing the INTERVIEW that Penny gave to KHOU. I breastfed my babies past the age of one, so I never assume a mother feeds only infants. Now for the law: The Texas Health Code Section 165.002 Right To Breastfeed states “A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.”
    Is that exact enough for you? Are there any loopholes I forgot to mention…or is there a play on words that I’m missing? It’s pretty straight forward. Just like my initial assessment: She is a moron.