Breastfeeding CafeMom & Dunkin Donuts Harassment: What Would You Do?


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

baby health, breastfeeding, post-birth outings


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Corey Kuhl Morgan

keep doing it. I wouldn't stop! My baby needs to eat as much or more than those people in a donut shop!

Pishyah Pishyah

I RARELY agree with anything you say but this is apparently an exception.  Because of this situation I've stopped going to Dunkin'.  I'm tempted to run up to the one in this crappy situation and (as you so eloquently put it) rip my shirt off to nurse my toddler.  Dunkin' and those police should be absolutely ashamed!

Eco_M... Eco_Momma

DD is lucky they don't have any stores here b/c I'd be there with my loudest friends and " whip it out".  Hell, I'd nurse BOTH my 2 y/o DD AND my 3.5 y/o DS!

 Momma, you ROCK! Keep fighting sister!

bills... billsfan1104

Another instance of only getting one side of the story. Dunkin Donuts said that it was related not to the breastfeeding. Why not get the full story and publish that. instead of a story from one side?

Pishyah Pishyah

billsfan, it kinda hurts me to come to her defense but she did link to this page and they do have a word limit.


It's hard to tell what the full story is here, but I'm not sure why a police officer would feel the need to tell a woman to "shut up" if he was dealing with an unrelated issue. It's also not clear why a mom would claim she'd been hassled by an employee if, as Dunkin claims, nobody said anything to her. One of the moms, Sarah Sprague, clears things up slightly on Facebook, where she writes that police and Dunkin Donuts are now claiming her offense was changing a baby's diaper "on the table." She admits to doing so "at the table," though not on its surface (here we get into some serious diaper semantics), but says nobody talked to her about it until after the fact, and all that was addressed at the time was breastfeeding. Changing a diaper and feeding a baby are, as many Facebook commenters have pointed out, two different things, but it seems like Dunkin Donuts could have solved a lot of problems by providing a changing table in its restroom (that's apparently lacking at this location) and educating its employees about New Jersey law.

RanaA... RanaAurora

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

Damn right.

bills... billsfan1104

So the complaint really was that the nasty mother changed her child at the table or on the table(depending on whos story you believe). The dunkin Donuts employee made mention of it to the mother, and I am guessing that the mother assumed that she was being talked to about he breastfeeding and so I guess she got into a tiff. I bet that is what really happened, so they had to call the cops. A changing area is not required and not a right in a public bathroom. Its for a convience only. She could of changed her child in her car or outside in the stroller. Who wants to come to a restaurant and eat and then have some person changing a dirty ass diaper at the table. That is just plan gross and unhealthy.

t0xxic t0xxic

That's sad. In this day an age its really sad. But it sounds like she pissed off the employee by changing the kids diaper at the table whether it was on or off. She couldn't go to her car an do that? I've changed the kids in public in there strollers but not in a resturant that's just not right. But they still didn't need to call the police! Of course DD is going to claim nothing happened its a he said she said mom who's. Letting drama put her in hiding. If she really feels this is why she needs to step up an get loud about it. Go back an breastfeed again an see what happens.

Pishyah Pishyah

I highly doubt it had anything to do with the diaper changing though if a place doesn't offer a changing table then I change my kids' diapers in the booth.  I've never had anyone say anything. 

Kimberly Virga

Whether or not it is about changing diapers doesn't matter. I have brought this issue up a hundred times in my life; pre teen girls are allowed to walk around with their boobs and asses hanging out of their clothing, and women are degraded constantly by strip clubs and billboards and other bullshit, but when a woman pulls out her breast to nurse her child it's considered disgusting? This country in general has the absolute most twisted idea of sexuality and things un related to sexuality, such as nursing. So it's okay for girls/women to walk around and strut their stuff, as long as it's pleasing to the eye for men and they're doing it for sex's sake, but when a woman feeds her kid, she's considered derrogatory and the POLICE are called? Are you kidding me? I absolutely fear for the women in this country still. When my daughter is born in a few weeks, I am going to go to Shop Rite and whip out my boob. Can't wait.

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