Restaurant Encourages Nurse-In After Staff Shunned Mom for Breastfeeding

At a Ruby Tuesday restaurant in LaVale, Maryland, a mother was enjoying lunch with friends when her baby started to fuss. She began to nurse the baby (as within her legal rights) when an elderly couple nearby took it upon themselves to complain, loudly, and ask to be moved.

A waitress approached the mother and said something akin to, "You're leaving now, aren't you?" The mother, still in the middle of her meal, declined. According to a statement from the mother, the waitstaff conversed, and all seemed to make her meal incredibly uncomfortable, as if in an effort to make her and her party leave.

Not surprisingly, a nurse-in has been organized for Tuesday, July 19. What is surprising is the response the local La Leche League got when they contacted the Ruby Tuesday District Office on the mother's behalf:


I spoke with Todd at Ruby Tuesday District Office today and we had a great conversation. He informed me that Ruby Tuesday Corporate has a PRO breastfeeding stance and that the precise situation that one of our girls experienced a few weeks ago is actually something that is covered in new employee orientation. Their policy is to offer to reseat any guest that complain about the nursing mama and her family, but never to disrupt the family's meal. He agreed that the employee's actions were inappropriate and they are questioning the staff to try to figure out which server was involved.

He stated that they will be doing a refresher course for the employees -- at least at the LaVale branch, maybe others -- on how to appropriately handle the situation. He also extended his sincere apologies for the incident and told me that his wife also breastfed. :)

We discussed our event on Tuesday and he agrees that it can be beneficial for both [Ruby Tuesday] and nursing moms in the area -- they are looking forward to having our group. Now, it's our job to make sure the nurse-in remains a positive event -- a GREAT community outreach and educational opportunity.

What a refreshing discussion! While I can't be in Maryland myself, I hope the nurse-in does remain a fantastic, positive event and that companies can learn from Ruby Tuesday, even the Musical Instrument Museum I wrote about the other day. Opinions of customers do matter, and you get press and praise and word of mouth when you treat them with respect, and work with them to remedy wrongful situations.

How do you think they should make the nurse-in positive? Are you impressed with the response?


Image via NNECAPA/Flickr

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