A breastfeeding mother dining at a pizzeria in Gettysburg, Pa. was asked to cover herself with an apron, setting off backlash against the restaurant's owner and manager that continues to spread on social media.
Olivia Cook of Hanover began nursing her infant son while she was dining at the The Upper Crust with her family, she wrote in a Facebook post, when a manager came over with an apron and asked her to cover up, allegedly telling her it was house policy.
"I politely declined their offer," Cook wrote in her Facebook post.
Manager Peter Bales said he didn't approach Cook until other patrons at the restaurant complained about the situation. But, Bales said, the mother was welcome at the restaurant and welcome to breast feed.
He was trying to tell Cook that it is the restaurant's policy to offer a cover to a mother breastfeeding in case she would like a blanket, Bales said.
"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," Bales said.
Cook then claims that restaurant owner Linda Atiyeh told her she was being selfish and only thinking about herself.
"We are a very loving and welcoming place," Atiyeh said. "We are pro-breastfeeding. We have had plenty of women breastfeed in the restaurant before."
Breastfeeding without cover legal in all 50 states
Breastfeeding in public without a cover is legal in all 50 states, and Cook felt compelled to share the experience as a means to stop the cycle of shame placed on breastfeeding mothers.
Not everyone agreed with Cook’s Facebook post, which had received over 270 reactions and 260 shares as of Sunday night. In the post, over 575 comments were left both agreeing with and chastising the mother for her actions.
This isn't the first time a breastfeeding mom has responded to a request like this by posting on social media. Last year, a mother covered her head with a blanket after being asked to "cover up" while breastfeeding in a restaurant.
Cook has decided to host a "Breastfeeding Nurse In" in Gettysburg. The event on Facebook is being described as "an informative gathering of breastfeeding mothers, their children, supports, and those who have questions about the rights of breastfeeding mothers."
"No mother should be discriminated against, or ostracized for tending to the needs of their child at any time," Cook said. "Parenting and tending to an infant is stressful enough as it is, without being discouraged by the public."
This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Breastfeeding mom asked to 'cover up' at pizzeria. She 'politely declined their offer'