Breastfeeding in public is often a touchy subject between parents and non-parents. On the one hand, it may be inconsiderate and a bit counterproductive to ask a parent to give up the one tool they have to calm a fussy infant.
On the other, non-parents usually aren’t prepared for the visual, especially over dinner in a public restaurant.
In Illinois, however, it doesn’t matter.
Breastfeeding in public is legal whether you’re covered or not, private and public. That’s a lesson the owners and staff at Big Fish Bar and Grill in Wilmington are learning, too.
That’s because they asked mother Kristal Tomko to cover up when she began feeding her 6-month-old son Ronan at the dinner table.
Tomko said that Ronan had grown fussy and that since she breastfeeds, she decided to do what came naturally to her.
“[My son] got fussy and as per norm I went ahead and started feeding him and I breast feed and I don’t use covers, they’re too hot and he’s too aware now,” she explained to Fox 32 (see video below).
According to Tomko’s version of events, a waitress approached with a napkin and asked her to cover up due to some customer complaints they had received.
“My response to her was, no thank you, I’m good, I’m comfortable, thanks and then she continued,” Tomko said.
John Mathias, the owner of the restaurant, offered Kristal Tomko a private dining area to continue breastfeeding or said that she could go to the restroom, Tomko said.
The mom eventually left the restaurant and went to her car, where she nursed Ronan in tears. After returning home, she posted her experience to Facebook and drew attention from a breastfeeding advocacy group nearby.
The group now says that it wants to stage a protest, in spite of Mathias’ apology that he posted to Facebook.
“I have no problem with breast feeding your child. Our request was made politey [sic] and with respect. The request was made quitely [sic] to you and your husband. I actually spoke to your husband twice expressing my concern that you did not need to leave, I respect all of my customers.”
“Breat [sic] feeding is natural and is not effensive [sic] but, we had a older coulpe [sic] and a party of nine that both voice uncomfort [sic]. We are simply a restaurant trying to make everyone happy.”
In a separate interview with CBS Chicago, Mathias said he was sorry and that “If they come in again, I’ll never say a word. They can do whatever they want.”
This isn’t the first time breastfeeding in public has been an issue. A previous article from the Inquisitr described an incident that happened in Michigan where a bus driver kicked a woman off the bus for breastfeeding.
Do you think in the Illinois case that a protest should be launched against the restaurant owners? And what are your feelings on breastfeeding in public? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Fox 32]