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Breastfeeding mom upset over restaurant’s order; Friendly’s says it wasn’t the skin that bothered them

Parents plan 'nurse-in' at Norwich Friendly's

Liz Linehan, of Cheshire, CT, said she was outraged about an incident involving Tabitha Donohue, where she was nursing her 8-week-old daughter inside the Friendly’s restaurant in Norwich. But she was allegedly asked by the manager to cover up.

By Joseph Wenzel IV & Kevin Hogan – Norwich, CT (WFSB) — A mom claims a restaurant told her to cover up while she was breastfeeding her baby and now, a group of moms is planning a nursing demonstration at that establishment this weekend in protest.

Liz Linehan, of Cheshire, said she was outraged about an incident involving Tabitha Donohue, where she was nursing her 8-week-old daughter inside the Friendly’s restaurant in Norwich. But she was allegedly asked by the manager to cover up.

“I was offended. They came over and asked me if I cared that I was offending other people,” Donohue said. “No, I don’t care if I offend other people, I’m feeding my baby.”

“Our rights as nursing mothers according to Connecticut Statute is that we could nurse as we see fit,” Linehan said. “We do not need to cover up and we do not need to be moved to a restroom, which is you know if you’re a nursing mother that’s disgusting.”

The state law on breastfeeding states they do not have to cover the baby with a towel or blanket.

Officials at Friendly’s restaurant responded to the Eyewitness News story and said they welcome breastfeeding moms.

“The guest was breastfeeding the baby while the child was lying on the restaurant’s dining table. The manager did not ask the mother to stop breastfeeding,” Friendly’s statement said.

There was no further comment or reaction from Friendly’s corporate office.

“It was never can you pick your baby up off the table, it was can you cover your breasts,” said Amber Pendleton, who was eating lunch with Donohue when the incident occurred.

Pendleton told Eyewitness News that she is glad their story is being discussed because all they want everyone to know about is a mother’s right to breastfeed in public.

“Any woman who goes to Friendly’s should be able to feed their baby the way they want to as the law says they can,” Pendleton said.

Dozens of mothers, who nurse their infants are signing up for a “nurse-in” this Saturday at the Friendly’s. Organizers said it’s a positive campaign to make restaurants and patrons alike aware of the state law.

“What I am surprised by is the outcry and the loving support I’m receiving from the nursing community,” Linehan said.

The nurse-in event on Saturday begins at 3 p.m.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

14 Comments to “Breastfeeding mom upset over restaurant’s order; Friendly’s says it wasn’t the skin that bothered them”

    sprintfan1 said:
    June 13, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    She misunderstood. The manager wanted her to cover up her face. 8-0

      Kerri said:
      June 13, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      I want to respectively and humanly say this is so wrong but it so funny after seeing her lol…so I will put my evil side out there and "thumbs up" this comment lmao

    mancave001 said:
    June 13, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Frankly, I don’t want to see that while I’m eating lunch. You may have the right to nurse in public like that, but doing so at a restaurant table is simply rude. Isn’t it also a public health issue for both the child and those potentially exposed to a bodily fluid while eating? We’re not talking about a park bench here.

      Terence said:
      June 14, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      I approve this comment ^^^^

    kate said:
    June 13, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    I fully suuport breastfeeding mothers, I also breastfed my children. That being said, I never let my rights as a breastfeeding mother infringe on others rights. A little modesty never hurt anyone. Rather than shove your “rights” down someone’s throat why not be considerate of your surroundings? Why is it necessary to make someone uncomfortable in a public place. While breastfeeding is a beautiful thing I for one do not take my children out to a public restaurant so they can see your breast! Where are the restaurants rights or the other patrons rights? A baby blanket placed so that your breast isn’t exposed to the public would not hurt you and will not infringe on your baby being fed. It would be nice if we could start being more considerate!

    Rachael said:
    June 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    I really don’t want to see a woman’s breasts while I’m eating. Yes I get that you have the right to do it but doing it in front of other people who are trying to enjoy their lunches is not only rude but gross.

    Don said:
    June 13, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    She should go to Burger King.

    JustWow said:
    June 13, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Just b/c u can

    does’t mean u should….

    Lips88 said:
    June 13, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    People don't really need to see everything on display. What's wrong with covering up. I think it's really about etiquette. Same reasons why we don't pick our nose while having a conversation or fart at the dinner table. Some people have class and some don't.

    intellimind09 said:
    June 13, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    I agree with Kate completely.I breastfed my child and I either brought a bottle with my milk in to a restaurant or when I did nurse in public I would put a blanket over to cover up.Not only did I not want other people to see my chest,but I doubt they want to see it either.It's not about the right to breastfeed in public,which should be allowed because your feeding a tiny person,it's about the mothers who are breastfeeding being considerate enough to realize that people don't want to see their breast while they're trying to eat their food or go about their daily activities.

    Jennifer said:
    June 13, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    All of you ignorant people should read this:
    http://www.motherhoodandmore.com/2013/08/upon-giv

      Stephanie said:
      June 13, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      What does that have to do with anything?

    Kerri said:
    June 13, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    I'm all for breatfeeding too but I have to say I do agree with some of these comments, especially yours. I never thought of it that way but as mothers fight to be able to breastfeed they cry it's discrimination and your comment points out that is not true at all…it has been a requirement for quite sometime – "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" so while a man, who's breasts are not "private – even they cannot remove their shirt so maybe it's not so wrong to ask her to cover up after all – even though for a while now I have been for the fighting, breast-feeding moms…It's a difficult thing to debate! There's so many pros and cons to the idea…breast are not a sexual or private thing during sessions of breast-feeding and should offend anyone but on the other hand, the rights of others should not be over-looked just because it's the law to breast-feed. If someone doesn't want to see it then the mature thing to do is leave – so then it's a debate of who – so that isn't even a consideration either…that's like saying one person's rights are more important than another. When a baby is hungry, a mother's instinct is to feed him or her but other patrons are hungry too and they have a right to eat at the restaurant too…it's just too much one vs. the other…I think restaurants should add a breast feeding station to avoid all this conflict. (As a woman I would not ask the mom to feed her child in the bathroom but add a little station for that or a little "lobby" in the bathroom that is for breast-feeding moms or this debate will never end. It doesn't hurt to ask anyone (moms and others) to show a little respect for each other; the bottom line is not everyone will agree to breast-feeding in public and everyone has their own opinion about it – nothing wrong with that! As for the covering up the baby, in my *opinion* that's a "no-no" – one it's getting too hot and two I'd be afraid to suffocate the baby – why take a chance?
    (Just remember though we don't ask the cows to cover up their titties and we drink their milk lol…sorry had to say it)
    Like I said, I am now on the pros and cons of this idea…I think it's a matter of respect from all angles…babies are adorable think about them before thinking about yourself!

    Kerri said:
    June 13, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    hahah had a long reply to this but don't think they let it go through because instead of "boobs" I used the 't' word – well that's what they are called on cows – and it was in reference of cows…no way I was typing all that and I don't remember it all anyway but in short – I see the pros and cons of this all…hopefully they might send it to me and I can change it…

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