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Mom Sues Cafe for Breastfeeding Ban

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momlogic's Vivian: Once again, breastfeeding is the cause of controversy.

Lily O'Briens Chocolate Cafe

According to the New York Daily News, Julia Acevedo-Taylor has gone litigiously livid because, she says, Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Cafe banned her and her friend from breastfeeding their "hungry and tired" babies.

The ladies were approached mid-lacto by a store manager and ordered to "stop doing that." They politely refused and were told to "leave and never come back." A tearful Acevedo-Taylor left the cafe immediately and now claims she's lost her ability to nurse in public.

Her attorney, Adam Polo, says, "They were being as discreet as possible. It wasn't one of those things where they were wide open. She didn't stop because she knew she was within her rights to do this. There was no nipple showing."

Ironically, a small pink sign at the cafe, which said "Breastfeeding welcome here" and "Beautiful breastfeeding," gave the ladies mixed signals.

When questioned about the incident, Lily's owner, Cathal Queally, says he's "all for breastfeeding" and explained that the manager had merely asked one of the moms to be more discreet in response to a few complaining customers.

It seems there is no end to this argument. Just a few weeks back, my friends launched a heated online debate about whether or not breastfeeding in public was acceptable. One, a mom who breastfed her own two kids, said her pet peeve was women who "whip out a tit no matter where they are, with no regard for other people, because they have a right to breastfeed." Another breastfeeding mom I know countered that breastfeeding was "no big deal" and asked why breastfeeding women should feel compelled to hide "such a normal part of life."

What do you guys think? Breastfeed our babies whenever and wherever they are hungry, or take pains to keep our "girls" under wraps?


33 comments so far | Post a comment now
momma of 2 August 18, 2010, 9:59 AM

I’m all for breastfeeding but it should be done discreetly. At a family holiday, my stepsister completely pulled out her breast and started feeding her baby, which would have been fine except a couple of the preteen and teenage boys coulnd’t get their eyes off of her breast. Yes, I know that it’s natually but it is also natual for boys that age to be turned on by seeing breast. Again, breastfeeding is best but please should good judgement when doing so.

Anonymous August 18, 2010, 10:43 AM

She “was tearful” “lost her ability to nurse in public”? BULL! Total BS way to try to make a buck and waste taxpayer money. Unreal!!!!!

Erin August 18, 2010, 10:55 AM

Anonymous…how on earth is this wasting tax payer money? Dumb comment.

anonymous August 18, 2010, 11:28 AM

Any court time that has no merit is a waste of taxpayer’s money. My comment was not as dumb as you.

Shannon August 18, 2010, 12:18 PM

breastfeeding is a natural beautiful part of life. women should be able to do it anywhere anytime

Pat August 18, 2010, 12:37 PM

I think breast feeding is best for babies. I breast fed my 3 children until they were 6 months old. But when I was out in public and had to nurse, I was discreet about it. Use discretion when doing it in public. Cover yourself up. Only takes a second to drape a towel or blanket across yourself and feed your child.

charlotte August 18, 2010, 1:52 PM

“Ironically, a small pink sign at the cafe, which said “Breastfeeding welcome here” and “Beautiful breastfeeding,” gave the ladies mixed signals”

You put a sign like that up, you don’t get to complain when someone breastfeeds, regardless of how many ignorant customers were complaining.

anon August 18, 2010, 2:45 PM

I try to be as discreet as possible. However, in the early days of nursing, when achieving a correct latch is VERY difficult, the ability to see and position (and re-position) your child is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, it becomes quite hard to be discreet. Sure, try to be discreet, but one should NEVER compromise on the necessity of breastfeeding your child in the name of discretion.

Bottom Line: It is ILLEGAL (at least in most states) to ask a woman to stop breastfeeding in a place where she has the legal right to be, regardless of whether she abides by anyone’s definition of “discreet.”

Maryjane August 18, 2010, 5:32 PM

What is so shameful or lewd or unhealthy or unwholesome about breastfeeding that it needs to be covered up? Why do women feel that they have to “be discreet?” If you don’t want to see it, don’t look. For god’s sake, let’s get over our prudish attitudes that the breast is foremost a sexual object and will turn on people if they see it. The Europeans think we are crazy to get to so hepped up about a mother nursing in public. When people comment that a woman should be discreet, they are really saying that there is something inherently wrong or shameful in seeing a breast used for its normal function and it should be hidden from view. Get over it people, breasts are functional and their function is to feed babies. I would just love for one of you to harass one of my daughters in a state where the baby’s right to eat in public is protected (in all but 2 states). I would go to the mat for her and call the police on you for violating her and her baby’s right to do this. I would make sure you were prosecuted to the full extent of the law and fined if you lived here. Maybe more people should be fined and that would end this stupid argument once and for all.

Sara August 18, 2010, 6:24 PM

I am honestly livid that the topic of breastfeeding in public is even issue. It should not even be point of discussion. feed a hungry baby anywhere, anytime. And what is exposed anyway???? The baby is sucking on the nipple, which seems to be what people object to seeing, so a little skin on the breat is showing, so what!! I don’t get the squeamishness and who cares if teenage boys see a breastfeeding woman, breasts are for making milk. Period.

Kris August 19, 2010, 4:01 AM

Oh for heavens’ sake, we’re mammals people! We lactate, that’s how we feed people. You don’t like little humans being fed? Put a blanket over your own head!

If you have “breastfeeding welcome here” signs then don’t chastise paying customers. You’d be better off pointing the signs out to the customers who have allegedly complained.

Anonymous August 19, 2010, 8:16 AM

Why does one EVER need to bf in public? I breastfed all my kids but was wise enough and discreet enough to pump before going out and make some gosh-darned bottles. I’m tired of these moms who whine and complain about “oh it’s so natural” and it is, but so is urination and I don’t want to see guys whip it out - neither should bfing women.

Stacie August 19, 2010, 9:59 AM

The bottom line (and the easiest thing to say) is that public breastfeeding is protected and legal in most states. Those ladies are right to sue, as their rights were violated.

The more subtle arena is where it’s appropriate to breastfeed. Some women clearly feel that it’s okay to breastfeed anywhere, and some feel that it’s not an okay thing to do in public. Both views are fine, and women should do what makes them comfortable. However, I advocate a middle ground—one where discretion (yet more subtle still) calls the shots. I certainly would have felt it appropriate to breastfeed in a cafe that had signs encouraging me to do so.

I think that as mothers we should all try to first CALM DOWN!! and secondly to support each other. Motherhood is difficult enough without badgering each other over how we feed our babies.

Jennifer August 19, 2010, 10:04 AM

I was just at Seaworld where a mom was walking around with her boob completely on display to feed her baby - 50 steps from a very well stocked and clean nursing room that the park had set up and available for that very purpose.

I think it’s a shame that some mothers feel the need to broadcast what they are doing so loudly that it makes others fearful of feeding their babies in public in case they are seen to be as abrasive as these mothers. You can nurse your child in public quite easily without needing to get your full chest out for all to see.

As for the Europeans - this European along with all of her European friends has never felt the need to bare herself for all to see in public. Our kids all got to eat just fine.

Bekey August 23, 2010, 9:51 PM

I’m so tired of this debate. The laws that I know of in some states don’t stipulate that you can breastfeed in public as long as no one knows that’s what you’re doing. Thats just not how it works. Fine if you are a discreet breastfeeder but if someone else isn’t that is their choice. Is anyone else offended buy the idea of someone telling you to put a blanket over your babies face while they are also smushed up against a boob. Doesn’t sound like it would make for an easy breathing situation.

Nikita August 25, 2010, 2:13 PM

I am SO TIRED of these breast feeding moms that whine about “their rights” all the time. Here’s a thought - why dont they make all nipples legal to show and there will be no problem but I dont understand why I have to be a male or have a toddler attached to show my natural breasts. Double standards…

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