It's always baffled me that restaurants — places where people go specifically to eat — are common locations where breastfeeding mothers are shamed for feeding their babies. Seriously, think about that for a moment. Infants rely on adults to feed them. And, to some, apparently it's offensive to nourish them in the company of others who are eating? It makes zero sense to me. Nevertheless, a breastfeeding mom was asked to leave a Chick-fil-A restaurant in North Dakota for not covering up. And seriously, this needs to stop.
It's worth noting that the owner/operator of this particular restaurant has already issued a public apology on Facebook for the way the situation was handled. Romper has reached out to Chick-fil-A for further comment on the incident and did not receive an immediate response.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, Macy Hornung took to Facebook share the experience she had at a newly-opened Chick-fil-A restaurant. "Just a heads up, we just went to the soft open of Chick-fil-A West Acres and the owner basically kicked me out for breastfeeding without a cover," Hornung wrote a on Facebook post, which has since received more than 1,300 reactions and over 1,000 comments.
Hornung continued, "The owner came to our table where I was showing no more than the upper portion of my breast, barely more than what was visible in my shirt and asked me to cover."
Hornung's post went on:
I tried to explain that I couldn’t, because my baby refuses to be covered and she started harping about the children and men who can see my indecency and I need to cover. I said they could practice the simple art of looking away and tried to cite North Dakota breastfeeding laws. She told me if I chose not to cover, then she would have to ask me to leave, so I told her my review would reflect my experience and I would be relaying the experience in every local mommy group.
Hornung's post soon attracted a slew of attention — including that of Kimberly Flamm, the owner/operator whom approached her in the first place, as local NBC News affiliate WTVA reported.
"I would like to publicly apologize to Macy Hornung for the way I handled the situation on Saturday," Flamm said in an official statement, according to the news outlet. "I ask for your forgiveness on this matter as I learn from it. My goal is to provide a warm and welcoming environment for all of my guests."
And that's how it's done, folks.
Despite this apology, Facebook users had a wide range of reactions to the situation. One person wrote, "Keep on keepin on mama. ... I’m sorry this happened to you, but thank you for speaking out on this matter for other moms!"
Another Facebook user commented: "Good for you mama for posting about this terrible experience. As natural as breastfeeding is, it is the hardest thing a mother can do. It takes a lot of commitment to breastfeed your child and the last thing we deserve is to be BULLIED to think we need to cover or hide away to feed our hungry baby."
Still, others were less than supportive. And apparently completely unaware of breastfeeding laws. "Owners have to right to not serve anyone. And have them leave the establishment," one ill-advised commenter wrote. (Actually, in 49 states, a woman is allowed to breastfeed anywhere she is legally allowed to be, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.)
Another Facebook user wrote, "Nursing is an intimate time shared between mother and baby and in my opinion should take place in a quiet environment, not in a public restaurant." (Except, you know, when your baby decides she's ravenous while you're in the middle of meal.)
Still another commenter took it a step further, writing, "Feeding in public without covering is just an act of wanting attention." Oh no they didn't.
Breastfeeding really is a Catch-22, isn't it? Moms today are bombarded with "breast is best" from the moment the pee dries on their positive pregnancy test. They're shamed when it doesn't end up working out — whether their baby has latching difficulties, the mom has supply issues, or the logistics of breastfeeding simply become too much to handle. And yet, apparently, a portion of society expects breastfeeding moms to only feed their babies at home, in the car, or in germ-infested bathrooms. Newsflash: Babies are actual humans that get hungry — and they give zero effs about where they happen to be at the time.
So instead of shaming a mom for nourishing her child, maybe more people should just mind their own business. And maybe consider educating their children about what breasts are made for. (Trust me, kids are able to comprehend that breasts produce milk that babies drink.) Here's the thing: Breastfeeding in public — with or without a cover — is not indecent, or gross, or attention-seeking; it's a mother feeding her baby. End of story. Don't like it? Look away, or cover your own head with a blanket. Because it has literally nothing to do with you.