When a breastfeeding mom identified only as “Crystal” decided to drink a sip from her beer as she enjoyed a Labor Day meal at Big Woody’s in Chesapeake, Virginia, she never imagined it would get her tossed out of the establishment. But apparently some patrons complained to management, and she was asked to leave.
The enraged woman, who said she only had a sip of her drink and planned to finish it after she was done breastfeeding her 11-month-old baby, took to social media to express her anger, accusing the restaurant of being “unfriendly to breastfeeding moms.”
The incident, which has created a storm of controversy, is once again bringing attention to the continued debate of whether breastfeeding moms should bring alcohol into the mix, as well as breastfeeding in public in general. This particular mom thinks it’s okay to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, but she is more upset about the way in which she was tossed out of the bar.
“The treatment was wrong,” the woman, who says she is a chemist, told local WTKR News about her experience at Big Woody’s. She added, “I had a huge water, I was downing. I had a beer and a shot of Fireball in front of me but that was for after I was done and I had one sip of beer and I’m not planning on the rest until after I’m done nursing.”
Co-owner Jeff Leroy, who was not present when the incident occurred, defends his employee’s actions, saying it was less about the breastfeeding and more about the drinking while doing so.
“It’s not easy to go and talk to someone and say you’re breastfeeding but you’re drinking too,” he told WTKR.
Leroy adds that moms are more than welcome to breastfeed at Big Woody’s, and he will retrain his staff so they can improve their approach about sensitive topics. In a statement on their Facebook page, the restaurant explained the situation.
“Let us first state that we are very sympathetic to the needs and cares of all our nursing mothers. In our five years of being in business, this is the only issue involving the treatment of breast feeding mothers.
“With that said, in this particular incident, we were asked to address concerns by other patrons who were observing the situation. Our manager went to address those concerns and accommodate all parties involved.”
The Mayo Clinic states that breastfeeding and drinking doesn’t mix well and moms should be aware of the consequences, as there is no level of alcohol that is safe for a nursing infant. When a woman drinks alcohol, it passes through the breast milk “at concentrations similar to those found in your bloodstream.”
“Crystal” — who plans to do a nurse-in, in front of the bar — argues that because the manager asked her to be more discreet about breastfeeding, the request had more to do with that than her drinking.
“I said there is no law that says I can’t breast-feed and drink. I’m not doing anything wrong, and he then proceeded to say, you know what, it’s also my right to refuse service. I’m going to be cashing you guys out, you can leave.”
Do you think Big Woody’s should have tossed out this mom for breastfeeding and drinking?
[Image via Shutterstock]