nursing in publicEarlier this week one of our community members shared a really horrible experience she and a friend had while nursing her baby at a New Jersey Dunkin Donuts. While we see nursing in public debates heat up all the time here on The Stir, it's unlikely she was prepared for the drama that has followed. 

As a result, she pulled down her post where she explained the harassment at not only the hands of the Dunkin employees, but the local police. One line sums up the problem: 

A friend and I were just told not to breastfeed in Dunkin Donuts because there are "other people there." I was going to leave and just write a letter to Dunkin Donuts headquarters suggesting that they educate their employees better. The police were called, though.

Jezebel and Babble picked up the story, and Dunkin Donuts' Facebook page is lighting up with both calls to issue a pro-breastfeeding statement and people who still ignorantly think that women should not be allowed to feed their babies in public.

Dunkin Donuts released this statement:

We have looked into the matter concerning 2 moms at a DD store in NJ & have confirmed an employee was responding to another customer's complaint that wasn't related to breastfeeding. None of the DD employees challenged the guests about breastfeeding & all DDs must comply w/ local, state & federal laws w/ regard to nursing mothers. Our top priority is always to provide an excellent experience for our guests.

I talked with this CafeMom and understandably, she wants to go into hiding. She's frustrated with the lack of support in her community, and doesn't want to face anymore online attacks. However, I wanted to show her we support her right to breastfeed without harassment.

After this incredibly negative experience, it worries me that this mom, and others, will feel they have to remain locked inside their own homes until their baby is weaned. That's the last thing this CafeMom, or any of us, want to see happen as a result of someone complaining after being told they could not breastfeed in public -- when in fact, the law is on your side.

A mother was shamed, in public, for feeding her child. I'm guessing there was a billboard on the way to the donut shop that showed more skin than this nursing mama did, yet police were not involved when the billboard was erected.

But I don't even want to address her discretion, because shame has no place in this discussion. Women do have the right to breastfeed in public. Whether they rip their entire t-shirt off or hide under an awkward nursing cover. There's nothing disgusting, wrong, immoral, illegal, or unhealthy about breastfeeding whether it's in your own home or in Giants Stadium.

If you have a problem with it -- you have a problem. Leave nursing mothers out of it.

What would you do if this happened to you?

 

Image via Orin Zebest/Flickr