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East Tennessee mom criticized for breastfeeding at Chick-Fil-A

11:45 PM, Aug 6, 2013   |    comments
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Jennifer Day says she was criticized for breastfeeding at Chick-Fil-A

An East Tennessee mom is on a mission, driven by her right to breast feed in public.

Last weekend at the Turkey Creek Chick-Fil-A, Jennifer Day was breastfeeding her daughter, Kahlyn, in the play area at the Turkey Creek Chick-Fil-A. She was not using a cover.

When other customers complained, an employee approached her to express those concerns.

"An employee came up to me and told me some of the other parents were afraid of allowing their kids to play in the play area while I was feeding her, especially without any cover," Day said.

She said she doesn't use a cover because her five-month-old daughter doesn't like it, and will tear it off. Day told the young employee she was allowed, by law, to continue breastfeeding.

"Any mother is allowed to breast feed her child if shes in that place otherwise," she said. "'They' were made for a purpose, a God-given ability. It's the best gift you can give to your child."

Tennessee law states:

  • A mother may breastfeed in any public or private place she is authorized to be
  • Breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct
  • Local governments shall not prohibit breastfeeding in public by local ordinance
  • Employers must accommodate breastfeeding mothers at work

On Tuesday, a Chik Fil A spokesperson said the manager at that restaurant "...has apologized and regrets any offense he may have caused."

On Market Square Tuesday night, plenty of people had an opinion about breastfeeding in public.

"It's fine with me," said Ariel Leach. "I mean, I don't have any issue with it."

Sean O'Donnell was sitting next to her.

"It's nature, go for it," he said. "My mom breastfed me in a public place, and that was the early '90s. So, why not?"

Nearby, Megan Burgess and her toddler were playing in the fountains.

"I breastfed, but I felt it was easier for myself if I was covered up. I also think it's more acceptable if you're covered up," she said. "We want to prolong breastfeeding and make sure moms are dong it for the health of the baby. So if we have to give a little bit for that, I think covering up is the best option."

Addarius Sanders wasn't so easily convinced.

"I don't think you should do it in public," he said with a giggle. "I think it's something you should do at home, or when everyone's not looking."

Day says her goal is to educate, so that it doesn't happen again.

"I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble. Just understanding, doing and saying something like that does make mothers uncomfortable. It does ostracize us a little bit."

In response to the incident, several of Day's friends are planning a "nurse in." Similar to a sit in, they plan to revisit the Chick-Fil-A as a group on Wednesday evening and nurse their infants together.


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