Let Me Tell You Where You Can Put That Napkin (Another Woman Illegally Told to Stop Breastfeeding)
Like many other news outlets these days, WINK News, a Florida CBS affiliate, allows their registered website users to post their own stories. Yesterday, another story of a woman asked by a restaurant to stop breastfeeding, despite state law, appeared on the outlet’s website. Nicole Newland claims that an employee of Arizona Pizza of Ft. Myers told her to stop breastfeeding immediately or cover up immediately.
Florida law states that “A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.”
Newland further indicates that the pizza place employee tried to cover her 3-month-old baby’s head with a napkin. Repeatedly. Despite being informed of the state law, she also asked the mother to breastfeed facing a wall.
Because this is user-submitted content, it obviously hasn’t been vetted the same way a regular news story should be, and includes no official response from Arizona Pizza. However, if you’re an employer, you might want to take this as a reminder to learn the law and educate your staff.
Update: According to this discussion thread (where the mother also posted her story), the manager of the restaurant has called to apologize “up, down, and sideways,” and has been receiving emails on the incident “from as far away as Indonesia.”
Update 2: There have been some reports that this story was made up, and that the pizza place has video proving that it did not happen as reported. I cautioned earlier that it had not yet been properly vetted, but that businesses in states with breastfeeding laws should review them, as this type of incident does occur. Thanks to the commenters for pointing me to the updates. I’ll have a post later on how this, and those Facebook/MySpace “bought you as a pet” messages, trivialize real problems.