Restaurant asks Topeka mother to cover, move while nursing

Published: Jul. 19, 2017 at 5:23 PM CDT
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Women have breastfed since the beginning of time, but there’s still a stigma around nursing in public.

Until this week, Farai Harreld never had a problem nursing her daughter inside a restaurant. Now she won’t dine anywhere her daughter isn’t welcome to eat.

“I’ve nursed my daughter before there so I don’t know why it was a problem this time,” said Harreld.

Harreld dropped by Planet Sub at 21st and Wanamaker Monday for a bite to eat. Everything was fine, until her daughter got hungry too.

“What [the manager] said was ‘You can’t do this. You can’t be out like this, it’s a family restaurant. If you want I can bring you a cover or you can go to the back,’” said Harreld.

The manager didn’t ask her to leave, but she still feels his comment was out of line.

“My daughter was close to my chest. It was discreet. I wasn’t hanging out, I had both my arms around her,” she explained.

Harreld shared her experience on Facebook. Many comments were encouraging, others not so much.

“There was one person who said he would vomit all over me if he saw me doing that,” she said.

Forty-nine states have laws that allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Kansas Law Statute 65-1,248 states that " is therefore the public policy of Kansas that a mother's choice to breastfeed should be supported and encouraged to the greatest extent possible…A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be."

Customers outside Planet Sub agreed.

A male customer said, “Everyone should have the right to do what they need to do, both for themselves and their kid.”

A new mom asked, “You don’t go into the bathroom to feed yourself, so why would you go into the bathroom to feed your baby?”

Harreld has no plans to stop feeding her daughter in public. She hopes other new moms don’t either.

“If a business tries to intimidate you in any way, stand up for yourself. Remember that the state of Kansas supports you,” said Harreld.

Harreld reached out to Planet Sub and they haven’t responded to the situation. 13 NEWS spoke to the manager who confronted Harreld. He said Planet Sub has no comment.