Breastfeeding in public spaces — including restaurants — is legal across the United States.
Women have long been shamed for something as natural as feeding their hungry babies. It may have taken a while but the United States has now finally caught up with other nations like the UK, Australia, and others to protect nursing mothers. Breastfeeding in public spaces, including restaurants, is legal in all 50 states. In fact, for those who still have a problem with women feeding their children in public, the law is on the mother's side. According to the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, "it's unlawful for someone to request that you stop breastfeeding, cover your child, move to a different area, or leave."
But that didn't stop the owner of Greek Islands Restaurant in Anacortes, Washington. A mom of a 4-day-old baby alleged that she was kicked out of the restaurant for breastfeeding and was even told to "never come back." Ruby Meeden and her husband Aaron came to the restaurant with their newborn son Rhett for a family dinner. Just as they were about to walk in, the infant indicated that he was hungry so Ruby began to nurse him. "I made sure to get a good latch before we went in, and then I covered him and everything and we sat facing the wall," she told KOMO News. The couple waited for half an hour before the busy restaurant owner came to their table. When he finally did the couple claimed that the owner told them to leave. "So we were asking him, 'What's wrong? Is everything okay?' and at that point, he said, 'Never come back,' " Aaron alleged.
Mom Says She Was Kicked Out of Restaurant for Breastfeeding and Told to 'Never Come Back' https://t.co/FnfWRdverh— People (@people) September 19, 2021
When the Meedens wrote an online review panning the service at the restaurant, the owner allegedly responded with a cruel comment. “It called our kids snot-nosed brats and to never come in and breastfeed again. Called my wife an animal,” Aaron said. “My choice to breastfeed my child in that restaurant was the reason my entire family was thrown out,” Ruby said. “It sucked." Aaron took to Facebook writing: Was told to leave Greek Islands tonight and never return. After sitting for 45 minutes waiting for service. With my 6-year-old niece and 2-year-old son. Never given a reason as to why. So we left a review on Google. One star. The owner then proceeds to tell us why we got kicked out. Apparently, he had an issue with my wife breastfeeding my 3 day old son.. My wife feels horrible and ashamed. I won't be going back and I hope this actually makes a difference.
I sure hope they sue this owner and he has to close his doors for good. This is sickening. I definitely won’t be going to this restaurant EVER.— 💙Rachael💚 (@TheSeahawkBabe) September 19, 2021
The incident sparked outrage among others in the community. After Aaron shared their experience on the town's community Facebook page, a group of at least two dozen mothers demonstrated outside the restaurant on Tuesday. According to PEOPLE, the restaurant owner has removed their Facebook and Instagram pages and on the day of the protest opted to only offer take-out ordering before shutting the restaurant down early. "He's going to have to answer for it one way or another because it's illegal to kick a woman out for breastfeeding," Megan Stevens, one of the nursing moms at the protest, told KOMO. State law provides for "the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement." The law also notes that anything less is considered discrimination.