Woman says she was shamed, asked to 'cover up' while breastfeeding in Michigan restaurant

Posted at 3:19 PM, Jul 16, 2018

A mother says he was humiliated after being asked to cover up when she was breastfeeding her son at a restaurant.

It happened at California Pizza Kitchen at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township, Michigan.

Those who support breastfeeding moms say the public shaming needs to stop.

“We’re hearing a lot about these stories about women being confronted about breastfeeding in public,” Meghan Iliesiu said.

Iliesiu is a leader with La Leche League of Royal Oak, a group that supports breastfeeding mothers.

Iliesiu was appalled after hearing about the woman’s experience at California Pizza Kitchen, mainly since she breastfed at the same spot once before.

“Angry for her because no matter how confident a mom is breastfeeding, that would be embarrassing,” she said. 

Ashlie Hanel wrote on Facebook on Friday that she was dining with her fiancé and infant son when he wanted to feed.

She says she began breastfeeding in the dark restaurant when a manager asked her to cover up.

After the two argued, the mother left.

Iliesiu says incidents like this make it harder and harder for moms to feed their babies.

“Breast is best," IIiesiu said. "Breast is best and has all these benefits but what are we really doing so that mom and baby can reap these benefits.”

California Pizza Kitchen released a statement apologizing to the guests and said breastfeeding is welcomed at their restaurants.

The restaurant issued the following statement: 

"CPK adamantly supports women’s right to breastfeed, anywhere, anytime. The upsetting experience this guest and her family experienced in our Partridge Creek restaurant was unacceptable, wrong and in violation of our policy. Breastfeeding is permitted, protected and welcomed in our restaurants. We have reached out to the guest to express our deepest apology, and we are taking immediate action to ensure this never happens again. This includes immediate retraining of our management team and staff at this location. We will also take steps to ensure that our employees nationwide thoroughly understand our policies on this very important right."

They will also be going over the policy with their staff nationwide.

Iliesiu agreed, “Provide a little more training and education to their staff.”

It goes beyond policy, 48 states, including Michigan, have laws allowing mothers to breastfeed in public.

“A baby has to eat when they need to eat," Iliesiu explained. "That is what protects mom’s milk supply to ensure the milk is there when the baby needs it. If mom delays feedings then mom’s milk supply is going to suffer.”

Many comments on the post supported the mother, while others criticized the woman for not covering up.

“Motherhood is hard and we should be supporting each other not breaking each other down,” IIiesiu said.

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.