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Breastfeeding Discrimination

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from chopin4scherzi. Show chopin4scherzi's posts

    Breastfeeding Discrimination

    I'm not a mom, I'm a dad of a 6 week old.  I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this:
    This weekend my wife and I were at Amrheins in South Boston.  We'd been there before and enjoyed it but hadn't been back since our boy was born.  From the moment we stepped in we were getting attitude from the hostess.  Before we ever got a 'welcome' we were getting stroller rules spat at us.  

    In the middle of the meal the baby started crying.  We tried bottle feeding but the milk wasn't reaching room temp as fast as we had hoped and he didn't seem to appreciate the cold milk.  My wife started to breast feed and was more than sufficiently covered up.  I should mention that this is a restaurant where the booths have really high backs and are already pretty private.  So 2 minutes after she started nursing the hostess came over and told us that she could not breast feed in the dining room and would have to move to an unoccupied room to nurse.  Apparently a customer had complained.  We protested but she insisted.  I'd never investigated the issue so I asked her 'is that the law?' to which she said 'yes. no smoking, no breastfeeding.'  We're new parents so we took her word for it and not wanted to break the law, my wife reluctantly relocated.  
    She of course returned to an cold, expensive meal but by this time niether one of us felt like eating.  

    We spoke to the manager and she apologized for the situation but seemed to agree that they were within their right to force us to relocate.  'It's just that a customer complained' she reiterated. 

    We were both pretty steamed after that experience.  We are new parents and so far the experience (minus a few sleepless nights) has been so joyous.  I couldn't believe we would ever be discriminated against for nourishing our child.  Of course we could never go back to that place.

    Incidently, the law states that if it's legal for you to be there, it's legal for you to nurse there and you can't be made to move to  bathroom or even to cover up.   

    Has anyone else had a similar experience?  Is this something we should expect?
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    If you came at the people with a big chip on your shoulder about the stroller rules, you've put people against you.  I'm not saying you did, but if you plowed through with the HummerBaby4000 and parked it in people's way and got snippy when asked to move it, you've already called negative attention to yourself.  And however much you have a "right" to take your baby around, you don't have a "right" to obstruct other people.  Not that it's fair to ask you to move about breastfeeding, or even complain about the covering unless your wife is one of the true exhibitionists out there and really making a show of it, but still...
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Well, I have a feeling if the hostess gave you the rules re: the stroller from the minute you walked in, that this may not be the best restaurant to go to with a young child.  Although there is obviously nothing wrong with breastfeeding, there is a time and a place for everything.  Other patrons at the restaurant are also trying to enjoy a night out (many of whom I'm sure are actually paying for a babysitter) and do not feel they should be subjected to dodging baby strollers and listening to crying babies.  Also, if patrons complained about your wife breastfeeding, I have a feeling she wasn't too discreet.  Perhaps next time you should consider a babysitter if you want to go out to an "expensive" restaurant.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    I am shocked at the two previous posters?  Really?  People shouldn't bring their babies/children to restaurants because other people will be bothered? Lets just lock 'em up until they can sit quietly.  I wouldn't take my 6 week old to a $200 per plate restaurant because yes, that probably is a very special occasion for the other patrons... but Amrheins????!!!!!  Seriously????  The original poster and his wife and child had every right to be there.  And it sounds like they also were doing everything possible to ensure that the other patrons weren't bothered by crying.  I would MUCH rather see (and hear) a quiet baby breastfeeding than listen to an upset, hungry baby screaming.  I am about the furthest thing from an exhibitionist and am horrified at the treatment by this restaurant, and clear lack of knowledge of "the law."
    Chop - I think you have every right to be offended and upset and never go back to that restaurant. 
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from winter09wedding. Show winter09wedding's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Short answer is yes- There are places that I was clearly made to feel uncomfortable by others when breastfeeding even though you are right, it is perfectly legal to breastfeed. However, as with a lot of other things in our society, some people's comfort doesn't have a lot to do with laws.

    The long answer involves a lot more social nuances than you may expect.  I wish someone was clear about these things, but you learn from experience… I rarely bring strollers into restaurants- and if I do I tend to fold it up outside first. There are very few restaurants that will allow them. Most will allow for car seats, but they all seem to have certain ways they do things (some put you into booths, some use the upside down high chairs, etc.) I always “went with” what they recommended.  Until my son was 20 something pounds, I used a carrier a lot (and there are several you can nurse in, which sometimes seemed less conspicuous).  I am in the sort of family that does everything with their kids- so when little, DS came with us everywhere. That being said, we stopped going to really nice restaurants because we (myself and DH) were paranoid about disturbing others. However, I am not sure that this qualifies as "really nice."

    I suspect, as others have noted, their behavior was more about encouraging you to not bring your little one with you next time.  However, there are a lot of nice restaurants, with excellent food, that welcome families- I tend to scope out the cliental before heading in, particularly if I don’t know the place, regardless of their rules, I always felt more comfortable when we weren't the only family. Best of luck- and congrats on your little one.

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    I agree with winter that dining out with an infant is a bit of a negotiated dance. We, too, usually just brought the bucket seat and not the stroller into a restaurant. If we did have a stroller, we always asked the host/ess where it would be most convenient for them to stash it. We would eat at off hours as much as possible (say 5:00-5:30 pm for dinner) so that the restaurants weren't crowded and the staff were less stressed out by the sight of the baby, etc.

    All that said, to ask you to move so that your wife could breastfeed is ABSOLUTELY innapropriate, nevermind illegal. There's a reason the law exists, because a number of people are ignorant and will try to discriminate against a breastfeeding mother. Heck, I've even seen comments on these very boards about BF'ing in public being akin to being naked or peeing in public. Puh-lease. This is something people need to get over. I understand that when I go out to eat, it will not be the same as eating privately in my own dining room. I may have to deal with rude people on cell phones or witness excessive PDAs. Oh well, that's the chance you take...

    I have to say that our positive dining out experiences MUCH outweigh the negative ones. Be sure to give your business to the family-friendly places (we had a thread a while back), and definitely let people know about the ones who are not accomodating.
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    I'm so sorry for what happened to you, and frankly, outraged at the insensitivity of some of the other posters.  The people at that restaurant lied to you - breastfeeding is legal anywhere you have the right to be in Massachusetts - and you and your wife did nothing wrong by bringing your newborn to that restaurant.  Bringing a newborn to a restaurant is a perfectly acceptable practice. It's not the same thing as taking a toddler out to eat who talks, yells, moves, spills food etc. and would actually disturb the other patrons. (As the mother of a 19 month old, I would not bring her to any restaurant that doesn't provide crayons and have a kid friendly atmosphere).  But when she was a newborn? We went out. And if she needed to eat when we were out, I discreetly nursed her using a cover up.  Generally the entire process would take about 5-10 mins tops, and while she was nursing my daughter would be completely quiet.  I don't like the message that the OP did anything wrong by taking a newborn out to eat.  THe OP and his wife are new parents and have probably been cooped up in the house for the better part of the past few months.  It's so important to start bringing a new baby in public, both for the parents' sanity and so the baby starts getting exposed to new situations and building up its immunities.  A 6 week old barely makes noise when it cries, and generally stops crying once it receives its milk so it does not disturb other patrons in the same way as a young toddler or small child.  The wife/mother should have been allowed to breastfeed discreetly at her table while enjoying her meal and, honestly, any patrons who complained about that should have been told that breastfeeding is legal in Massachusetts, which is the law!
    As for the business about the stroller: This is nonesense. Would they talk that rudely to a person in a wheelchair? I hope not.   I will not be going back to Amrheins in the future.
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Changecat. Show Changecat's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Chopin, I am outraged for you.  Stroller issues aside (I try not to bing my son's stroller into a restaurant for maneuverability issues), there is a law for a reason.  The restaurant had no right to move you.  Period. 

    I am, too, a nursing mother and I have found that 99% of Massachusetts is OK with nursing.  However, it only takes one person to make a situation uncomfortable.  My sympathies to you.
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    I also used to avoid bringing in the stroller and just use the baby car seat carrier.  If I/we needed a stroller it would be folded up outside and we would ask immediately where we should put it.
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Go to the Franklin.  Much nicer people, food and surprisingly baby-friendly. 

    I would be pretty steamed in your shoes.  (And I don't think it's fair to assume that the OP burst into Amrhein's with an SUV-sized stroller and an attitude, for what it's worth.)  Were we still living in Southie when DD was that age, I'd have been pretty stroller-dependent, too.  And given the amount of stuff we had stolen while we lived there, hesitant to part with said stroller, even inside the restaurant.   

    Honestly, I'd avail myself of the "Contact Us" section of the Amrhein's website to complain, again, in writing.  Include a link to the relevant law, and perhaps a link to this post as well.  And I wouldn't go back. 

    For the record, I was too shy to exercise my right to breastfeed in public, and when I go out, I don't expect the restaurant to co-parent with me.  I'll crouch on the bathroom floor to change a diaper if need be, I bring DD's food, I pick up the Cheerios when we're done.  We don't go out with DD during "prime time" -- we're off-hours patrons b/c it's just easier.  But what Amrhein's pulled is just stupid and wrong, and I dislike stupid and wrong. 

    Again, the most effective censure is to tell other parents about that experience and take your dining-out dollars elsewhere.  You're not limited to TGI Fridays just b/c you have a kid -- go to the South End!  That neighborhood is lousy with fancy strollers and nice places to eat.   

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    We don't take the stroller with us most of the time (the one time we did take it into a restaurant, we did make sure to put it in a place that no one would trip over it, and then took the baby out with us) - but it sounds like the hostess was hostile from the get-go if she did not give you a chance to ask where to put the stroller. Unfortunately, there are some people who do not seem to understand their role as hostess or are aware of the protections given by law to breastfeeding mothers.

    From my experience, this is not the norm - but I also live in TX (I used to live in Boston, and we will be visiting Boston for our annual visit - this year will be our first year with the baby, so it will be interesting to see if our experience in MA is different from what we have experienced so far in TX, OK and CA - all places we have traveled to with our baby, and where I have nursed in public - on planes, in restaurants, parks and stores). I have not had any issues so far with my breastfeeding in all the places I have been to (of course, I tend never to hear any snide comments due to my hearing loss so I tend to be less likely to notice stuff like that unless someone came to me directly).  My experience has been that people prefer to have a quiet nursing child than a screaming and hungry child - I usually try to move to a quiet place (he won't tolerate a cover over his head anymore but he usually is willing to wait until we get to someplace that is better suited for nursing unless he is super hungry/thirsty and has waited a while already for me). I guess I have been lucky - even at the race venue I was at for an event in OK, no one seemed to bat an eye when I would nurse him in our club tent along the very public path before I had to leave him with Daddy while I went out to race.

    Not everyone will have the patience or understanding for new parents, and it is unfortunate that it ruined your night out - I would do what others say, and look for places that are more friendly/supportive of nursing.
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Things going through my mind right now:

    1) If Amrhein's is charging $50 for a plate of steak tips, then you were doubly-abused. 

    2) I wish someone had started this thread on Friday, when I wasn't so busy at work.  This is a FRIDAY TOPIC, people!!! 

    3) Princess Cal can't be feeling too good right now. 

    4) Parent-bashing is the new black. 

    5) I don't know why people who clearly hate children and the people that love them find the Moms board such an irrisistable stop on their internet trolling.  I mean, I kind of get it, but not really. 

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from bos1987. Show bos1987's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Maybe I'll feel differently once I am a parent, but it makes me uncomfortable when women breastfeed in public. The hostess should have been polite and shouldn't have lied about the legality of breastfeeding in public, but I think her manner is the problem, not the request. It's not illegal for someone to speak excessively loudly in a restaurant, but it would still be within the restaurant's right to ask someone to quiet down if other patrons were bothered by their volume.

    The reality is that most of us don't particularly enjoy being around crying babies or nursing mothers when we're trying to have a nice meal. Either make sure the baby has eaten beforehand, or hire a sitter.
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from NEWF2. Show NEWF2's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    First off, yes, as a father of three, all who breastfed, I have experienced this attitude before, however not to this extent, and I certainly would not have obeyed their request.

    Secondly, consider the environment - Amrheins in South Boston??  Expensive "Nice" restaurant???  Come on now! Having grown up in and around Southie and DOT, what would you expect?  This is a blue collar joint, around since the days of throwing beer on Gay marchers in the Southie Parade.  Sure, the area has gentrified, but "you cant take the city of the restaurant" so to speak. 

    Know the law, next time tell your ignorant waitress to mind her own business, and not to quote you the law at least until after she gets her GED!

    Stick up for yourself and do not tolerate ignorance.
    Good luck next time!
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from kuvasz. Show kuvasz's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    My only question is. Did the woman used a baby nursing cover? If not, she should buy on, they are very pretty.  30 years ago when I breast fed my kids, I never left my house until I made sure to feed my babies first.
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from residue. Show residue's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    If someone who is not comfortable with seeing others breastfeed in public can ask the breastfeeding mothers to move, then can I ask someone who is wearing certain hairdos that I don't like to move? I don't feel comfortable seeing those hairdos.
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from joanj145. Show joanj145's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Nothing against kids but when I raised my children and they acted up or started crying in a restaurant I was respectful of the people around me and took my children away from the dining room.  After a few of those instances we only visited family friendly restaurants and got babysitters when we felt like going to a nicer restaurant.  As for breastfeeding, I think that is an intimate bonding between mother and child and should be kept as such - between the mother and child, and not with an audience.  As liberal as people may want to think society is, it does make a lot of people uncomfortable. 

  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from WE5NUTS. Show WE5NUTS's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Tell them to screw. You have every right to breast-feed. Don't let the crying baby deter you from going out either - babies are a fact of life - deal with them people. I remember being scared to death when we took my oldest son out to a restaurant for the first time (luckily, he was great). Don't let that happen to you.
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from RedFishBlueFish. Show RedFishBlueFish's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Regardless of how other patrons feel, the simple fact is that the hostess and manager were wrong. The law is clear on this matter and they were mistaken. As of 2009, mothers are legally protected to breastfeed in public and, in fact, the restaurant could be fined $500 for harassing the OP's wife, if you wanted to press the issue.

    Unrelated to this particular incident, Amrheins has changed a lot over the last ~3 years or so (new management, if I remember correctly). The prices went up, the menu changed, and the food isn't good enough to match the prices. Sad. I used to really like it, but I haven't been there in an age. It's not a blue collar joint anymore, NEWF2, and hasn't been for a while. (Mul's still has the best pancakes in town and has stayed true to its roots.)
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from jacksonfram. Show jacksonfram's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    The restaurant made a bad business decision.  In this state to not be aware of the law and the impact of not following it is crucial to running a bsusiness.  What will they do when they get hit with a Lactin, which they more than likely will after this publicity.  Poorly trained staff can kill a restaurant as easily as a bad kitchen.

    Granted the child may be disturbing the other patrons, but you have to know what you can and cannot do.  If they had focused on behavior and loudness, they had an issue.  When the decided to act and use the breatsfeeding they erred.

    Again, if you do not know the proper ways to manage your patrons, the future of your business should be in doubt.
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Simple solution: take the baby to a strip club!  That's where breasts belong in all their wanton sexy-sexiness. 

    What?  Breasts are intended to feed children?  And restaurants are for eating?  Wait ... now I'm confused. 

  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from am1028. Show am1028's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    I'm going to apologize in advance for getting all snippy here, but I'm an a bad mood and this thread has not helped that one bit.  I'm appalled by the behaviour and request of the people at that restaurant.  They should have known better what the laws are in regards to breastfeeding.  However, I'm even more appalled by the people who are responding to this post by telling the OP that he and his wife shouldn't have taken their baby out, should have made sure the baby was fed beforehand (WHAT, that's like telling someone they shouldn't be allowed to go to the bathroom while they're out because they didn't pee before leaving the house), and are just assuming they entered the restaurant with a huge stroller with no regards for anyone or anything in their way and that the woman was flaunting her bo0bs all over the place.  Breastfeeding DOES NOT EQUAL public nudity.  When I breastfeed, I'm less naked than half the female population wherever I am because my bo0b is covered by my baby.  A lot of girls/women walk around in skimpy tank tops with their bra straps showing and their bo0bs hanging out.  If you have a problem with someone FEEDING THEIR CHILD wherever you are, you need to move and you need to grow up.

  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    medfordcc, I hope you don't mind me borrowing your older post - because I think it is relevant - this was from a thread in the General discussion (breastfeeding kids older than 2 years old - but to me still relevant for newborns) - to all those who are not comfortable:



    In seriousness: I think we have discomfort with things because of the way we've been brought up.  BUT: if we support those things in principle, then we have to put the discomfort aside in order to stick to the principles.
    So: I don't think you can say, "I believe it's okay to breastfeed in public... but you should use a shawl."  Or "... but you should find a corner."  If it's okay to breastfeed in public, then it's okay to breastfeed in public.
    It's okay to acknowledge that you have some discomfort.  That's a result of how you grew up!  But it's not okay to say that people "should" change their behavior.

    Not to make a contentious discussion even more contentious, but this sort of conditional approval of public breastfeeding reminds me of when people say things like, "I don't have a problem with gay people ... but I don't want them to show affection in public."  If it's okay to be gay, then it's okay to be gay everywhere.

    ------------------end of post------------

    I agree completely with this sentiment. I used to be uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding until I had my son - and realized it is just a normal part of life with a baby. I try to make it comfortable for me, my husband and the baby. But, I also feel it should not be hidden as shameful.

    Heck, sometimes I am not comfortable with PDA (straight or gay), but it does not mean I feel that I should tell others to knock it off.  I just refrain from doing it myself.
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    Seriously -- if seeing a woman breastfeed makes you feel all oogy, just LOOK.SOMEWHERE.ELSE.  Staring is rude anyway. 
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from jacksonfram. Show jacksonfram's posts

    Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination

    In Response to Re: Breastfeeding Discrimination:
    Nothing against kids but when I raised my children and they acted up or started crying in a restaurant I was respectful of the people around me and took my children away from the dining room.  After a few of those instances we only visited family friendly restaurants and got babysitters when we felt like going to a nicer restaurant.  As for breastfeeding, I think that is an intimate bonding between mother and child and should be kept as such - between the mother and child, and not with an audience.  As liberal as people may want to think society is, it does make a lot of people uncomfortable. 
    Posted by joanj145

    It is illegal to stop someone from Breastfeeding in Public