In Michigan City, Indiana, the mother of a breastfed 11-month-old was asked to leave an Olive Garden restaurant after she refused to give her baby lunch in the bathroom.
Margaret Naas said her daughter Katie wanted to eat shortly after she’d ordered. She said she pulled half of her halter top down to feed the baby.
Soon, the manager (a woman) cited other customer complaints and offered her use of the restroom to feed her child.
A lactation consultant from the nearby WIC, Tammy Pray, who contacted the media regarding this situation, told The News-Dispatch,
That’s disgusting! Who would want to feed their children in a bathroom?
So instead of feeding her child where people defecate, Naas left. The restaurant boxed up her lunch so she could take it to go.
Naas admitted that she didn’t bring a blanket with her. It was 80 degrees outside, and she didn’t think of it.
Mark Jaronski, spokesperson for the corporation which owns Olive Garden, said that the issue wasn’t with Naas feeding her child, but her lack of modesty. He said that the report to him was that she had taken down her halter top and was completely exposed.
Several guests asked the manager to speak to her. We had guests who had concerns about modesty and we have to be responsive to the comfort level of all our guests.
But Naas rightly argues that he wasn’t at the restaurant, so he wouldn’t know. While she says that the manager was polite, she was upset about the situation.
My baby just wanted to nurse.
Presumably the Olive Garden manager then also had conversations with teens with muffin tops and coin slots, women who show too much cleavage, men with sweating problems, and people with poor table manners. And we can only hope that the manager also asked interracial couples to eat their lunch in the bathroom so as not to offend their racist patrons. Oh wait–no.
The News-Dispatch reports that the Indiana law regarding public breastfeeding is as follows:
Not withstanding any other law, a woman may breast feed her child anywhere the woman has a right to be.
If you’d like to know your state laws, click here. Don’t forget your “Right to Breastfeed” card!
Image: daquella manera on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.