Moms have been shamed for breastfeeding for years. They've been forced to cover up, feed their babies in bathrooms or their cars, or generally made to feel unwelcome. The latest mom to suffer the embarrassment was Samantha McIntosh, who last week was breastfeeding her 7-month-old daughter in the back of a Chick-fil-A in Augusta, Georgia, when a store manager walked up, handed her a jacket, and told her she'd received complaints from other customers and wanted her to cover up "for the other children in the restaurant."
McIntosh was mortified, and felt that she was keeping it modest—she had chosen a back booth at the restaurant, and was wearing a nursing tank and a long-sleeved shirt, so no skin was exposed. She stopped breastfeeding and stewed about the situation, as her 9-year-old niece was wondering aloud why breastfeeding wasn't allowed.
That's when another mom tried to advocate for McIntosh's right to breastfeed—and the manager came back again to tell her that McIntosh had to cover up. All this despite the fact that public breastfeeding is legal in all 50 states (and that includes at Chick-fil-As).
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McIntosh's Facebook post about the incident went viral and received more than 5,000 comments, many of which were from fellow moms showing support. And the support didn't end there: Several mothers in the area also held a nurse-in at the restaurant the following night to stand up for McIntosh—and breastfeed their babies.
The owner of the restaurant later apologized to McIntosh, and decided to take this as a learning moment and train his staff on how to deal with these situations the right way moving forward. "I have been in contact with the owner of this Chick-fil-A and he seemed genuinely apologetic and very open to training his staff on ways to better handle incidents like this one in the future," McIntosh told CNN. "My only goal was to encourage education!"
Hopefully, this will help other restaurant managers understand the rights of breastfeeding moms—and let them feed their babies in peace.