Local Breastfeeding Mishap - Pearls From Sand

We've all heard the stories in our own areas:

"I was nursing my baby when our server came up and asked me to cover up. When I told her I was fine, but thanks for the concern, she picked up my napkin and tried to drape it over my babies face"...

"I was nursing in Target on one of the benches near the dressing rooms. The sales associate asked me to go into the dressing room to nurse. I told her I was fine where I was and my 2 and 4 year old's wouldn't do well in such a small space. She kept insisting and then even left to get a manager to try to get me to move. You could tell she was uncomfortable with my nursing my 2 month old"...

"I was breastfeeding my 4 week old when a nearby patron glared at me, wrinkled their nose in disgust, and told me I should have more class than that. She went on the complain to her friend that I was being slutty and wanted attention. I tried to ignore them but it hurt. Then, to add insult to injury, the manager came up and asked me to please, 'at least' cover up for the comfort of everyone else in the restaurant."

But here's a story of another sort... this morning I saw a story circulating in my feed of a local Houston woman who says she was asked to leave when nursing her baby at a local restaurant. So she moved her nursing into the bathroom.. but the server supposedly followed her in and asked her to leave. So she left to her car. Supposedly. But we don't have necessary information, and rumors abound...

Rumors are swirling that it didn't happen at all.. or that she was trying to nurse in the 21+ club area... or that she was unhappy with her meal... regardless though....

Why do I say supposedly?

  • Because the original person it involves is MIA. No one knows who it is.
  • The screen shot circulating is "my friend" or "an acquaintance of mine" and then the story"... no actual story from the horse's mouth
  • Other breastfeeding mamas have come forward and said they have never had a problem nursing there
  • The owners themselves, the woman used to be a breast milk donator for the Texas Children's Hospital Milk Bank
  • Employees and security footage supposedly tells another story, and the owners are willing to share it and set the record straight... 

But the biggest reason I don't necessarily believe this really was a situation that even happened? Or at least not the way it was portrayed on social media?

The owners of El Patio ("club no minors") have set up an event to set the record straight, reestablish how family friendly they are, promote breastfeeding education and awareness, show how breastfeeding friendly they are, and give back to their community all in one fell swoop.

From the event's details:
Join us along with pro-breastfeeding community in Houston to help bring awarenes to the importance of breastfeeding and its importance in early childhood.
Breastfeeding is an important start to a child's life. There is a lot of misinformation around breastfeeding and its importance, as well as the support for Mom's to meet their goals. It's hard work!

Many moms don't breastfeed because of their fear or embarrassment of nursing in public, even though they have a legal right to do so. Mothers are frequently shamed when they breastfeed in public.

When word of an incident gets shared, fellow moms and caregivers band together to stand up for them. Mothers are a fierce group! Rarely, stories get twisted and confused, and aren't accurate.

El Patio, recently experienced one of these incidents where our 50 year reputation as a family restaurant was challenged. We are taking the opportunity to give back and help create awareness to this issue. 
Join us for a "Feed In" from 11-3pm on Sunday, December 13th. El Patio will donate 20% of all sales during this time to Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin to support their Houston outreach and efforts.
Please bring your families and friends to help support all mothers in Houston!
To read more information or to attend the event, see here.

I'll update this post as I hear more information, but in the meantime, I have to say, I love this businesses response! They could have simply refuted it and showed their evidence. They could have just made a public apology. They could have just made a public statement... but they are giving back to their community, taking this opportunity to educate their community, and give to a very worthy organization.

So bravo El Patio! I hope to see you on Sunday!


So I've gotten some disgruntle-mail, people calling me a victim-blamer and a non-supporter of breastfeeding. This is the furthest from the truth... I have been to many nurse-ins, help women breastfeed and extended breastfeed, etc... the problem is that this isn't the norm.. I've never seen a woman not willing to stand by her word that she was attacked for breastfeeding and shamed. I've never seen a case where everyone else is so fired up from a second-hand account. This is classic 'telephone' (you know, the game we played when we were kids).

I believe that one of these is the case:

  • there is no woman, someone just wanted to start something
  • there IS a woman, but she hasn't come forward because she made it up or the issue wasn't breastfeeding and she was just finding something to complain about (i.e. trying to take a baby into the 21+ section and upset she couldnt)
  • there IS a woman, but since making that first accusation, she found out she was wrong and it was a misunderstanding
  • there IS a woman and she hasn't come forward yet because she's getting her legal ducks in a row

All that said, even if there IS a woman and this DID really happen, since when is someone guilty until proven innocent? Until I hear it 'from the horses mouth' it's just a second hand story and you cannot refute that.


So, the restaurant has surveillance footage and testimony from the waitstaff that night. There WAS a woman who had an infant who tried to access the 21+ area, but there wasn't an 'issue'... that same woman was also harassed by someone who was not employed by the restaurant (a patron) for nursing. That person did follow her in the restroom and did come across authoritative. The woman has recanted her story, saying that she thought the patron was a member of the waitstaff. She never intended for the information to get on social media and the friend who's screenshots were shared all over social media never wanted or intended for her information to be shared outside of their private parenting group..

I feel badly for the mom that a PATRON had such an air of authority that she felt shamed from doing something that SHE HAD the authority to do. I feel badly that she UNINTENTIONALLY set off a firestorm. I'm sad that the business was hurt by this story and that there was such a wildfire siege on their business from angry (mislead but understandable) breastfeeding mamas. I am SO HAPPY that they are all choosing to do right - the mother has rescinded her story, the friend has made an apology in the private group, and the business has decided to make the best of and do the most that they can for this incidence. Beauty from ashes, pearls from sand.. I am in love with humanity right now; now if only the people who have made yelp and FB reviews would rescind them.... 

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