Chesapeake, Va. - A Labor Day family outing for dinner and drinks at Big Woody’s in Chesapeake has turned into a big social media mess.
A mom seen with a shot and a beer while breastfeeding prompted patrons to complain. But when she was confronted by the manager and cashed out, the incident blew up on Facebook as a business "unfriendly to breastfeeding moms."
Crystal, a breast feeding mom, took to Facebook claiming the business gave her the boot because she bared her breast to feed her baby.
“That treatment was wrong,” she said.
Co-owner Jeff Leroy was out of town but says his manager told him it was less about breastfeeding and more about feeding the baby while also consuming alcohol.
“It's not easy to go and talk to someone and say you’re breastfeeding but you’re drinking too,” he says.
Crystal admitted to NewsChannel 3 that she did have alcohol but that she didn't plan on drinking it until after she was finished nursing.
"I had a huge water I was downing. I had a beer and a shot of Fireball in front of me but that was for after I was done. And I had one sip of beer and I'm not planning on the rest until after I'm done nursing," she said.
People on Facebook have taken to the restaurant’s page to air their feelings on the situation. Most of the posts are about the rights of mothers to breastfeed but not much is mentioned about the objections the patrons made about seeing a mother consume alcohol while breastfeeding. Needless to say, the posts have gotten very ugly on both sides.
Crystal says she was told by the manager to be more discreet, so as far as she was concerned, breastfeeding was the only issue.
“I said there is no law that says I can't breastfeed and drink. I'm not doing anything wrong, and he then proceeded to say, you know what it’s also my right to refuse service. I'm going to be cashing you guys out, you can leave,” she says.
Crystal isn’t planning to let this go.
“Next step is I’m trying to organize a nurse-in. I’ve got so many people just waiting to,” she says.
Jeff and his partner are open to turning this negative Facebook nightmare into a positive post. He says he would like for the two parties to get together.
“I would like to see this be turned around and end up being positive. We're willing to sit down and talking with them and see if we can turn this around and see if we can make something positive - on educating people on how to breastfeed in public. Because again, we don't have a problem breastfeeding in public. Women are allowed to breastfeed in here,” he says.
Crystal says she is a degreed chemist and has done her research and that the amount she drinks does not affect her breast milk.
The co-owners plan to retrain their staff to improve their approach if and when these sensitive matters come up.
Is it OK to drink while breastfeeding? Click here for more information.