A breastfeeding mother who was asked to cover-up at a Pennslyvania pizzeria responded to the request by posting about the incident on social media, setting off backlash online.
Olivia Cook of Hanover said she was nursing her infant son while dining at The Upper Crust restaurant in Gettysburg when the manager reportedly came over with an apron and offered the mom a cover while breastfeeding.
Cook claims that she was told it was their house policy. She wrote in her Facebook post:
I politely declined their offer.
Following the incident, the mother voiced her frustrations over the owner’s request to not breastfeed in public without a cover. Cook said she was out having a nice meal with her son and dad when she was reportedly rudely interrupted for nursing at the dining table.
The mom went as far as to call out the restaurant’s owner on Facebook.
Edited with additional details: Ms Atiyeh and the accompanying manager went as far as to bring me an apron to cover with…
I was approached by a so called ‘manager’ and this lovely woman while enjoying a nice Saturday meal with my father, and my son. The reason? Because I happened to be feeding my two month old son uncovered.
She recalled the incident and accused the owner of compromising her rights. Cook explained:
The so called ‘manager’ stated that it was house policy that I cover myself, and the owner stated that I was selfish and only thinking about myself.
The mother went on to say:
Of all days, I forgot a blanket, as I usually try to be very cognizant of those around us, but, when my son wants to eat, he will eat, no blanket, or blanket, period.
After making the post public, over 2,000 comments were left. Many shaming the mom for her actions, one commenter wrote:
It’s just so silly that she did not. Really inconsiderate of other patrons. It’s just covering up it’s not like they asked her to leave the restaurant or go in the restroom or anything or refuse to allow her to breast feed […] It is a restaurant where people EAT and watching someone breast feed is not appropriate in this type of environment. She could have brought her own blanket or cover and been more accommodating. I just don’t understand how people think the world just revolves around them and their needs.
Another person said:
I feel that a nursing mother should cover herself when breast feeding in public. Nursing is a natural and chosen method but consideration should be thought of too for others around her.
The manager of the restaurant, Peter Bales, told USA Today that he only approached Cook because other patrons complained and he was trying to tell the mom that it was the restaurant’s policy to offer nursing mothers a cover-up.
“That was a courtesy that we offer and she declined, which was fine…and then it was immediate overreaction like 1 to 1000, that it was a horrible offense that I had offered.”
The restaurant’s owner Linda Atiyeh also responded to the incident:
“We are a very loving and welcoming place. We are pro-breastfeeding. We have had plenty of women breastfeed in the restaurant before.”
Cook said she wrote the post to stand up for breastfeeding mothers’ right to nurse in public.