Ohio Restaurant kicks out breastfeeding mother & child despite patrons standing up for them

Can you imagine being kicked out for merely eating your meal or feeding your child a sandwich? No? Well, women get harassed every day for just feeding their children what they were born to eat, milk from their mother’s breast. Nearly every single state in the US specifically protects a mother’s right to feed her child to help stop bullying like this NIP (nursing in public) harassment incident a mother tweeted earlier today at a restaurant in Ohio, but clearly, it still happens.

In case you cannot read it, Jen ‏@WhyCLE wrote:

“Worst mom experience: I was asked to leave Gia Lai in @LegacyVillageOH for nursing the baby WHILE I WAS STILL NURSING. I was under the cover in a back booth and the nearest patrons even told staff I wasn’t any bother to them. Not only embarrassing but bad for the baby.”

Really. It just so happens this mother is also a blogger and she’s writing a post on what happened as I type. I will share it when I see it. Until then, go give her some Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter support.

What is Ohio’s breastfeeding law?

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3781.55 (2005) provides that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. (SB 41

How can you help?

Contact the offending restaurant, and let management know that you heard of their mistreatment of a mother and child, that they need to step up to follow the law. The mother deserves a sincere apology and they need to take steps to ensure this type of harassment doesn’t happen again by training all of their staff immediately. They should also be sure to train all new hires how to properly treat breastfeeding families. I bet the Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance or Family Friendly Business would be happy to assist with this. Once they’ve been trained, placing a “Breastfeeding is welcome here” sticker in their window would be a great way to show their support for the families in their community.

Gia Lai
25241 Cedar Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Phone: (216) 381-7200
info@gialairestaurant.com
Facebook
Twitter: @GiaLaiDining

Feel Write on the mall’s Facebook wall to tell them you heard of a restaurant on their property mistreating a mother and child and that they should inform all of their security personnel how to respond appropriately in the future.

How does this incident make you feel? Have you ever been asked to cover up or leave while eating a meal? 

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Out & About: Oakland Zoo

We went to the Oakland Zoo yesterday. We started off by parking at the Lower Entrance and everyone having lunch in the play area before walking around for a few hours. Quint had his lunch as well. I am very thankful I don’t have to pack anything extra for him just quite yet! He’s still exclusively breastfeeding at nearing 6 months, just as I wanted, and we don’t plan to introduce solids for another month or two or more. We’ll see how that goes.

And as you can tell here, I do sometimes still nurse “top up” if I’m in the mood. That’s about as discreet as I get these days. I don’t have enough energy to carry around extra things to cover up my breastfeeding. Plus, it’s summer and it’s getting toasty here in the Bay Area.

After lunch we jumped around on the lily pads and climbed by the bunnies.

I also got a great photo of all of the babywearing moms I went with in front of the baboons, where two of the mothers were carrying their babies. It was adorable. But I have not asked for permission to share it so I’ll just share the baboon and her baby. I’m guessing she doesn’t care about privacy on the internet.

We also saw the giraffes, elephants, zebras, and chimps but I’ll spare you my zoo animal photos. And here I am, sleep nursing Quint in my Ergo, “top-down” this time, while my girls were impressed by the tiger sisters. There are four of them all together at the zoo.

[Thanks for the snap, Navarre!]

And there is this one great little climbing tree at the exit by the Lower Entrance that all the kids love to clamber around on.

That’s it!

Have you been to the Oakland Zoo? What is your child’s favorite part of your local zoo? How are you most comfortable breastfeeding in public?

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United Airlines flight attendant told breastfeeding mother to cover up

A United Airlines made the news today for not only being cited with 16 OSHA violations but also for the actions of a flight attendant. A United fight attendant told a breastfeeding mother to cover up on her flight from Miami to California last week. After waiting for a response from United that never came, Shira Sandford shared the news of her incident today in a private breastfeeding support group for Northern California mothers.

What happened?

Shira shared her story with me:

Hi Paala, I was on a trip with just me and my 18-month-old daughter who I was lap carrying. We had a very long trip from Miami to Eureka, CA (stopovers in Houston and San Francisco). On the United flight from Houston to San Fran, a flight attendant named Kelly asked me if she could get me a blanket and looked at my boob. I looked at her as if to say excuse me and she elaborated that I needed to cover up for the sake of the other guests. She called me “Sweety.” I said no that Elizabeth doesn’t do well with a blanket over her and she said ok and left. After she left I felt very degraded as if people were looking at me badly for breastfeeding. I had an aisle seat on a very full flight and barely made it on the plane as it was. Elizabeth though well behaved for an 18mth old, was tired of flying and the breastfeeding was helping her settled down. She had been walking up and down the aisle as the length of the flight was too long for her to sit still. So as I contemplated what happened, I thought, “Where do they expect me to go????” The flight attendant seemed to be the one upset by my beastfeeding but I wondered if it was one of the passengers next to me and tried to do what I could to make Elizabeth less viewable. I didn’t have much skin showing but Elizabeth is in the 99 percentile so she’s a big toddler and wiggles and squirms and even at times tries to pull down my top. LOL. I couldn’t wait to get off the flight but as I thought about it I felt outraged as there wasn’t anything for me to do really. I asked another flight attendant the other lady’s name and noted down the flight number. I contacted United the day I landed (now a week ago), but there has been no response and so I thought to post here after I heard that you ladies might have a thing or two to say about this. We were sooooo tired from the flight. We had gotten up at 3:30am Miami time and didn’t get home until that night….

Shira took to social media today. This was her tweet:

My thoughts

I was in Shira’s position earlier this month flying with my breastfed infant from California to Colorado and back by ourselves. I was also put in an aisle seat and it was stressful for me to be put in that very open situation, with people walking back and forth the whole flight, but I knew I had to feed my baby to keep him happy, to help soothe him to sleep, to keep his ears from hurting, to keep everyone around me from hearing the cries of my child. I was not told to cover up. I was offered drinks and given smiles by the Delta attendants.

Shira, however, was condemned by a United flight attendant instead of being treated with kindness during a long and stressful day of traveling. Telling a mother to cover up is bullying, plain and simple, and it just doesn’t fly. The aggressor is putting their own definitions of discretion and modesty on another person, shaming them in front of bystanders.

Thomas Jackson from Virginia chimed in on a comment made on United’s Facebook page wall regarding this incident. He said, “I have spoken with many nursing mothers. Have yet to see one who isn’t discreet. It’s not a big deal and the reason women have breasts.”

Women are allowed to feed their children however they and the child are most comfortable. Covering is not always an option and the mother and her child’s basic human rights still need to be respected. Breastfeeding is about nourishment and comfort, not about exhibitionism. It is not an obscene act in any way, which is why our state laws protect a mother’s right to feed her baby in public and many specifically exclude breastfeeding mothers from indecent exposure charges.

How can you help?

Contact United and request that they share their breastfeeding policy and add it to their website for all to view. Right now, there is nothing about breastfeeding on the plane on their website. If they don’t have one, they need to create one that all employees have access to and ensure nationwide training annually so all employees will know how to handle breastfeeding families in the future.

Facebook
Twitter handle @united
Call United Airlines, Customer service: (800) 864-8331
Message them using their website here.

These mistakes keep happening across the board. American Airlines, Southwest, Virgin America, and Delta (2 & 3) have all had recent incidents in which they asked a mother to cover up. Delta was taken to court and had to pay a large settlement. There was a nurse-in after the American incident. Southwest moved forward in the best possible way, creating a supportive new policy.

United should really take a tip from Southwest. Let’s stop the harassment.

How should United respond? Do you think they will create a policy like Southwest? What do you think should happen to this employee?

Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter or comment below!

**Update 7.23.2014 11:30am**

My message to United:

I am appalled that a United fight attendant told a breastfeeding mother to cover up on her flight from Miami to California last week. After waiting for a response from United that never came, Shira Sandford shared the news of her incident with me and a private breastfeeding support group for Northern California mothers.

This is her story:

“I was on a trip with just me and my 18-month-old daughter who I was lap carrying. We had a very long trip from Miami to Eureka, CA (stopovers in Houston and San Francisco). On the United flight from Houston to San Fran, a flight attendant named Kelly asked me if she could get me a blanket and looked at my boob. I looked at her as if to say excuse me and she elaborated that I needed to cover up for the sake of the other guests. She called me “Sweety.” I said no that Elizabeth doesn’t do well with a blanket over her and she said ok and left. After she left I felt very degraded as if people were looking at me badly for breastfeeding. I had an aisle seat on a very full flight and barely made it on the plane as it was. Elizabeth though well behaved for an 18mth old, was tired of flying and the breastfeeding was helping her settled down.”

How can you prevent this from happening again? Can you pledge to be the first breastfeeding friendly airline and ensure that all current staff and future hires will be trained on an annual basis? Can you issue a public statement supporting families and their right to feed their babies how they see fit? Will your plans display the international breastfeeding logo, in which the child clearly isn’t covered up? I suggest you contact Family Friendly Business to start getting on the right track.

I look forward to hearing of a real plan. You can choose to be a part of the future, United, by supporting families and helping raise our national breastfeeding rates, helping nursing mothers feel more comfortable feeding their children in public and on your planes.

Regards,

Paala

___

I also just noticed who ever is in charge of their Facebook page deleted my comment from last night. This is what I posted:

I wonder if my new post will stay up. Let’s see.

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Ex-Marine Father steps up for breastfeeding stranger during harassment incident on military base, bully apologizes!

The news is often flooded with stories of women being treated poorly. That’s why it’s so wonderful when we hear of strangers standing up for women in their community. One such story is of a father, a former marine working as a civilian on a military base, standing up for a breastfeeding mother and child that a fellow employee was telling to cover up.

Ashley Degen shared the story this earlier this week on Facebook:

What a positive end to a NIP harassment incident!

I have heard of countless women and children being called out and told to cover up or leave on military bases. I’m so happy that this father, Ashley’s husband, stood up for this woman. I am sure this breastfeeding stranger appreciated it and Ashley said she is “very proud of her husband.”

It is up to each one of us to stand up for someone that is being bullied. Breastfeeding, covered or not, is legal in all 50 states. Stories of businesses and people supporting breastfeeding have started to trickle in. Keep them coming!

Have you breastfed on a military base? How did it go? Do you have a positive breastfeeding in public story you would like to share?

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Sears security officer posted security photos of mothers breastfeeding on Twitter, account disappeared

Sears, Roebuck & Company, an American multinational department store chain headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, has come under fire for poor employee training. Apparently, their internal Loss Prevention agents need to be trained to NOT share photos of customers on social media.

What happened?

A Sears employee has tweeted images from their security footage of mother’s breastfeeding over the last month without notice. Until today. These are two of the tweets, one of a mother breastfeeding in her Ergo carrier and other sitting and breastfeeding, with his words [note - the black circles were added by me because these photos were probably not shared with the permission of their mother, not because breastfeeding should be censored]:

[Sears employee Twitter post from 7.19.2014 & 6.6.2014. Screen shots by Whittney ‏@whittt72]

I thought for a moment, “Good for these women, breastfeeding in public, meeting their children’s needs while they’re out and about.” Then I thought about what I was really seeing, the images with the tweets. Maybe this person is being supportive of breastfeeding. Wouldn’t it be nice to give him the benefit of the doubt? His milk and donuts crack? Yea, that sounds like it could be funny, like the breast milk and Oreo’s breastfeeding ad leak. Until I saw the crying emoticon at the end of his tweet from July 19th and realized he was being sarcastic.

Regardless of being supportive or not, as you can see from the photos, it looks like this person has access to security footage and is probably sharing these photos without permission. How did that happen? According to this person’s twitter account that has now been taken down, he’s part of the security team at Sears: ”Catching thieves day by day at a sears near you.”

My thoughts

This isn’t the first time some jerk thought they were being funny by sharing photos of a breastfeeding moms on Twitter or trashing talking them on national TV or on the radio. It has happened a more than few times in the last couple years. Remember the blowback after Kim Kardashian, Sarah PalinKasey Kahne, Windy City LIVE Chicago morning show, Wendy Williams, Luenell, & Andrea CanningDavid Kochie, and Miami Marlins’ Logan Morrison trash talked breastfeeding? And non-celebs do it all day long on Twitter as well, they just aren’t high profile so we don’t hear about it. The public is starting to show a really short fuse for bullying though, especially mothers and children. All for what? Eating? It’s ridiculous.

This new guy, I’m not going to post his name because he might be just under 18 as he calls himself a senior in high school on his Twitter account, messed up and took it to another level by accessing these images from his paid position in the company. We all know kids do stupid things, right? I know I did. But did I use my position at any of the companies I worked for to capture images of people and shame them on social media? No. Apparently that little alarm that should have gone off in his head telling him that wouldn’t be wise didn’t go off. He clearly realized his mistake after people started calling him out on his actions and his account has since been taken down.

Do I think this guy needs to be fired? Would it help him learn from his mistake or just let Sears make him the scapegoat for their lack of privacy and breastfeeding handling training? It’s not up to me. I wonder what the women would say that had their photos shared. Maybe he should be put on probation or moved to another department, perhaps working in the maternity/baby/breastfeeding section would help him realize why what he did was wrong. He certainly needs a serious talk from management, training on the laws and how to handle breastfeeding families, and a scolding from the women in his own family.

Unless, of course, he actually has a mental illness or has unhealthy fetish issues. Then he should be removed from his position and should seek counseling. One of the tweets shows a fully exposed nipple, right as the baby is latching on. It makes me wonder if this guy is a pervert, going over footage to watch breastfeeding mothers in slow motion.

Sears Corporate is located in Illinois. What are the breastfeeding laws in Illinois?

2011 Ill. Senate Resolution 170 recognizes the unique health, economic, and societal benefits that breastfeeding provides to babies, mothers, families and the community and resolves the state of Illinois to work to ensure that barriers to initiation and continuation of breastfeeding are removed and that a women’s right to breastfeed is upheld.

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 740 § 137 (2004) creates the Right to Breastfeed Act.  The law provides that a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.

Mothers have the right to feed their babies in Illinois and all other states in the US.

But this really isn’t just about someone harassing breastfeeding mothers behind their backs. It’s about violating their privacy. All customers who walk into stores with security cameras shouldn’t have to worry about their images appearing on social media.

How can you help?

Contact Sears corporate and request that create a breastfeeding policy and train their employees nationwide on how to learn from this breech of trust and how to handle breastfeeding families in the future. I personally hope that Edward Lampert, the CEO/Chairman of Sears Holdings Corporation, responds to this incident and publicly states how they plan to show their support for their breastfeeding customers and train all employees to never take photos of their customers. How can we be sure the people they hire for these security positions are not taking home photos of customers? Are there cameras on the LP agents or just the customers?

Sears Holdings Corporation
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
(847) 286-2500
Email: searsservice@searshc.com
Message them on their website
Contact: Sears Holdings Media Relations
Facebook page | Twitter

How would you feel if security officers were sharing your photos online without your knowledge? How should Sears respond? What do you think should happen to this employee?

Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter or comment below!

**Update 7.20.4:30pm**

Sears responded on Twitter, saying they are investigating this incident. That is it. Since I have not heard back from anyone I emailed, I posted this message to their Facebook page.

Family Friendly Business has offered their services to help with their breastfeeding policy.

**Update 7.22.2014 9:30am**

Sears is now posting this comment on every post from concerned citizens regarding their privacy breech.

I received this same exact statement in my email this morning as well. I am certain everyone would still like to know if they’re going to train their employees nationwide to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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Would you use a breastfeeding nightlight?

As a breastfeeding mom of three, I know that night nursing can be tricky at first. It’s dark and a little baby needs help finding a nipple, you need to check the latch, and you’re also peeking in their diaper to make sure you’re not about to be covered in poop. Right now, I just leave my bathroom light on and the door cracked so it sheds enough light in my bedroom. This is my preferred method, I suppose. Earlier, right after Quint was born, my husband constructed and installed an elaborate night light for me. It has not been unpacked since we moved to our new house a few months ago though.

Now this little clip on night light might work. I’m not so sure though, since I don’t wear nursing bras to bed.

Busy Mom Boutique is selling this for just under $15 and describes the product details:

“The Nighty Night Nursing Light is a multi-functional light that attaches directly to moms clothing while breastfeeding or bottle feeding.  Requiring just the push of a button, this small night-light gives off just the right amount of soft lighting for mom or dad during those night time feedings.  

The nursing light also has an optional gentle vibration alarm that can be set for the needed nursing time so if mom falls asleep while nursing, the gentle vibration alarm will awaken her so that she can safely put baby back to bed or perform another night time task.”

I’m not sure I’d like the vibration feature to put my baby back to bed though. My babies sleep with me so I don’t need to wake up to go put them someplace else. I hope that feature can be turned off.

Genius or not worth it? What do you think?

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San Jose business asked breastfeeding mother to stop, cover up, or move

San Francisco Bay Area: Rockin’ Jump San Jose, a trampoline play place in California, told a breastfeeding mother to stop breastfeeding earlier today. Clearly, they didn’t hear of the school in Utah that is under scrutiny for writing a letter telling a breastfeeding mother to cover up or leave, or see that Barnes & Noble had to pay 10K to a breastfeeding support group, retrain all of their staff, and put signs up in all of the US stores after an incident in a New York location.

What happened?

Jacqueline Dibble was with her children and a friend at Rockin’ Jump San Jose when one of her twins needed to nurse. She attended to her child’s needs while staying within arms reach of the other child, per the play place’s rules. That’s when a manager approached her and told her she couldn’t breastfeed. After a second employee told her the same thing, she went to the front desk to speak to the manager. The manager told her she was asked to stop after complaints from others. The business, however, seemed completely unaware of the California laws that protect breastfeeding babies and women when Jacqueline informed them of her rights. They did not apologize. After a complaint was posted to their Facebook page this afternoon, Rockin’ Jump San Jose tried to cover it up, saying they only told her to stop because it was a safety concern.

Rockin’ Jump San Jose posted this:

“We are so sorry you felt harassed today. Please know that Mothers are welcome and safe at any Rockin’ Jump. In fact it was the safety of Mother and Child that our staff was working to ensure. We absolutely welcome nursing in our parks.”

Jacqueline’s side of the story, which she posted on Rockin’ Jump San Jose‘s Facebook page after their “apology”:

“I was in small netted-off area designated for small children.

At one point one of my twins got fussy and needed to eat. In order to continue to “shadow” the other baby, as your rules dictate, I sat myself down all the way on outside edge along the wall, where I was not sitting on the jumping surface and also the most inconspicuous to your other patrons. There were 3 children total in the vicinity at that time, 2 of them being my twins and the other being my eldest son’s classmate. The other twin came close to me and was oscillating between bouncing on the surface closest to me or sitting next to me. 

Shortly after my child commenced feeding, the MOD came over to me and informed me that “I couldn’t be nursing”. Never did she mention to me any violation to any rule or policy, nor did she ask me to relocate for the safety of myself or my child. In fact, the word “safety” or anything synonymous was never spoken during the entire exchange. Instead she attempted to shame me by telling me that other patrons had complained and that breastfeeding here was inappropriate because there were children present, as if breastfeeding is somehow a lewd or indecent act that children should never witness.

Not 2 minutes later another employee approached me. He told me the same thing: that I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed and that other people had complained.

Finally I collected my two small children and approached the front desk in order to speak to the manager. I informed both employees that I was within my legal right to feed my children on the premises. I also suggested that they perhaps educate the rest of the staff on this issue in order to avoid such conflict in the future. At this point the MOD gave me the contact information for the manager and the gentleman began apologizing telling me that he didn’t know. He appeared to be very sincere. The MOD on the other hand was reluctant to give up her position on the matter. As I was telling her that the law protects my right to breastfeed anywhere me and my child are legally allowed to be, she continued with the defense that “people had complained and that if someone complains she has to come ask me to stop.” She proceeded to offer the suggestion that I cover up or use a more private area. Again nowhere in all three of these conversations was safety EVER mentioned. Not a single time. I informed the MOD that if someone complains to her about a women breastfeeding she could CHOOSE not to shame the mother feeding her baby, but could instead CHOOSE to educate said patron of the law that protects mother’s and babies right to feed/be fed in public. As you can see your statement doesn’t represent the events that transpired. I would like to know how you plan on resolving this issue. Thank you!”

What is the law on breastfeeding in public in California?

What does the law say exactly? California Civil Code § 43.3 allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, and makes no mention of breastfeeding covers.

So what happens with someone harasses a breastfeeding mother in California?

They violate California’s Civil Code section 51, the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Discrimination against a breastfeeding mother is considered sex discrimination under the Unruh Civil Rights Act and is protected and enforced by the law. Rockin’ Jump San Jose is looking at a fine for their discrimination.

How can you help?

Respectfully request that Rockin’ Jump’s management apologize to the mother and publicly state that they will train their staff at all 14 of their locations around the US and world on a newly created a breastfeeding policy that aligns with their state and federal laws to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Maybe they can even put up a supportive sign like the UK cafe that’s gone viral. A little positive support can go a long way.

Rockin’ Jump San Jose
1901 Monterey Rd, San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 837-8888
Email: sanjose@RockinJump.com
Rockin’ Jump San Jose’s Facebook page

CORPORATE OFFICE: 7901 Stoneridge Drive. Suite 503. Pleasanton, CA 94588
Corporate Office Tel: (925) 401-7200
Email: info@RockinJump.com
Rockin’ Jump’s main Facebook page
Rockin’ Jump on Twitter

Have you ever breastfed at a place like this? How does this incident and “apology” make you feel?

Join the conversation on Facebook or comment below!

**Update 7.20.2014 6:11pm**

Rockin’ Jump has responded to the mother’s Facebook comment on their page. See screen shot below.

That’s certainly a step in the right direction. I have also asked them what their specific breastfeeding policy is and if there is something in each and every location that states in the handbook to leave breastfeeding mothers and children alone. I look forward to hearing back from them.

What do you think of their newest apology?

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