Editor, Today, I was nursing Gauge, my 2-month old son, at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Hinesville. I have nursed in public like this numerous times. I sat in the corner and even had my friend stand in front of me to make sure nobody saw anything. As I was leaving and getting Gauge buckled into his car seat, an employee followed me to my car and told me that from now on when I nursed in the donut shop, I needed to cover up because customers complained.
Gauge will not nurse with a cover or blanket over him. He gets too hot and throws himself around until I take it off. He likes to be able to look around as well.
I told the employee that she should tell the complaining customers that I was feeding my baby and trying to be as modest as possible. I also explained that Gauge will not use a cover for the aforementioned reasons.
She tried to say that she understood because she had nursed her child, but I still needed to force him to use a cover so that the other customers wouldn’t be offended.
I emailed Dunkin’ Donuts corporate office and expressed my displeasure over being the one who was asked to change my habits. Instead, the restaurant staffers should have told the “offended” customers to quit looking over the shoulder of a nursing mother in an attempt to find something to complain about. I also explained to the corporate representative that asking me to alter my nursing method or leave was illegal.
I am embarrassed and infuriated about being made to feel that way. I was being as modest as I could while giving my infant son the nourishment he needed.
However, I later was pleased to receive two calls from Dunkin’ Donuts. One was from a customer-care representative, who apologized and told me that they were contacting the restaurant owner so that he could handle it. She said if he didn’t take care of it within 48 hours to call her back. The second call was from the man who oversees all of the Dunkin’ Donuts in this area. He apologized over and over again, gave me his word that he would speak to every person in that store about the issue and educate them on the laws, and welcomed me and any other mother to nurse any time at Dunkin’ Donuts with or without a cover. He even gave me his personal number to call if I am ever made to feel uncomfortable ever again.
I just want to applaud Dunkin’ Donuts on how they handled such a sensitive issue, and I hope I’m bringing awareness to other local businesses about how to support nursing mothers and understanding the law.
— Kayla Lewis