Brooke Ryan was enjoying lunch with her children at a Kentucky Applebee’s restaurant when she was asked to cover her nursing son with a blanket. When she stated she didn’t have a blanket, the employee again requested that Ryan cover her child, which caused Ryan to leave the restaurant in tears. As a result, a nationwide “Nurse Out” has been planned at many Applebee’s restaurants on September 8th.
Applebee’s handled this situation poorly. It was perfectly legal for Ryan to breastfeed in the restaurant and she should not have been asked to cover her child. And the restaurant’s contemplating providing blankets for future nursing mothers is not only lame, it’s pretty gross as well. Ryan feels this concession is “like telling Rosa Parks she still had to sit in the back of the bus, but we’ll give her a blanket to make her more comfortable.”
But Mike Scanlon, president of the company that operates the Applebee’s in question, noted “with interest that she had a copy of the statute with her.” Scanlon feels Ryan may have had an agenda. Truthfully, I wondered the same thing.
Look, I have no problem with women breastfeeding in public. I am pro-breastfeeding and feel it is healthier than formula and increases the bond between mother and child. That said, I think carrying around a copy of a law that states it is ok to breastfeed in public is more than a little strange. People are harassed all the time for things they do that are well within the limits of the law. Around here, bicyclists are up in arms about automobile drivers sharing the road. But I wonder how many of them carry around a copy of Rules of the Road.
You might think it’s ridiculous for me to compare breastfeeding to cycling. I think it’s equally as ridiculous for Ryan to compare herself to Rosa Parks.