Athletes who are breastfeeding will be able to bring their young children to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The Games, which have already been delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are not allowing international guests, including friends and family members.
Marathoner Aliphine Tuliamuk, who is currently nursing her 4-month-old daughter Zoe, wrote on Instagram that she didn't want to choose between staying with her daughter or competing in Tokyo.
Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher said in an emotional Instagram video that she was "being forced to decide between being a breastfeeding mom or an Olympic athlete." Ten athletes from the United States are mothers, including sprinter Allyson Felix and soccer player Alex Morgan.
Early Wednesday morning, the Tokyo 2020 organizers issued a statement praising athletes who were parents and announcing that there would be an exception made for those who are breastfeeding.
"Given that the Tokyo 2020 Games will take place during a pandemic, overall we must unfortunately decline to permit athletes' family members or other companions to accompany them to the Games," said the organization in a statement. "However, after careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with nursing children, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan."
The statement from the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said that "suitable measures will govern their entry to the country" but did not specify what those measures would be. The nursing children will not be allowed in the Olympic or Paralympic Village, which is "restricted for all Games participants other than athletes and team officials," and will instead need to stay in "private accommodation approved by Tokyo 2020."
The International Olympic Committee told TODAY that nursing mothers will be able to stay outside of the Olympic Village in that private accommodation, and added that the athletes will be able to "bring a caretaker or a partner to help them out," according to NBC's Molly Hunter. The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee has not issued any further information.
The IOC said that they were "very pleased to hear that the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee has found a special solution" for "mothers who are breastfeeding and their young children."