Restaurant Owner Apologizes For Asking Breastfeeding Mom To Cover Up Or Move

We support many things here at Consumerist. One of them is the right of parents to feed their infants however and wherever they choose, which includes the right to openly breastfeed in business establishments. State law in Illinois also supports this right. We also support proportionate responses when a business wrongs you. After a mother shared her grievance against a local restaurant on Facebook, the owner claims to have received threats of death and property damage.

It began simply enough: in her original Facebook post, the woman explained that her family was out to dinner to celebrate a milestone. Her six-month-old baby decided that he was hungry too, and she nursed him. Simple enough. A hostess offered a cloth napkin to “cover up,” and told her, “you can’t do that here.” The restaurant owner came over, speaking directly to her husband for some reason, saying that other customers had complained, and that there was an empty dining room where she could go instead.

At least it wasn’t a bathroom stall or an alley, but she was still upset at being asked for the very first time, after nursing two children, to cover up or leave. “I was made to feel embarrassed and shamed, as if I were doing something wrong,” she wrote on Facebook. “I went quietly and quickly to my van where I cried and nursed.”

After her Facebook post, the story made local and national news, and supporters came to the family’s defense and planned a nurse-in at the restaurant. Yet the restaurant owner claimed that while the law says he can’t ask a customer to cover up or leave, there’s nothing in the law that keeps him from offering a napkin or an empty dining room.

Yet where the proportional response comes in has to do with the owner’s claim that people have taken things even further, claiming that human milk supporters have called in or sent threats to kill or hurt him, and threatened to trash his restaurant.

Ultimately, this has a happy ending, just in time for Mother’s Day: the restaurant’s owner posted a definitive apology for his behavior during and after the incident. “It took a lot of educating (in both constructive and not so constructive forms) from not only those in our community but around the world, and we realize that we not only made poor decisions on Sunday, but my own responses were not well thought out,” he posted on Facebook. the planned nurse-in is happening on Saturday, and the restaurant is giving away branded onesies and “small tokens” to mothers and children who visit.

Restaurant Faces Backlash After It Asked Breastfeeding Mom to ‘Cover Up’ [Eater]
Breastfeeding Mom ‘Stunned’ After Being Asked to Cover Up in Suburban Restaurant [CBS Chicago]

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