Chesapeake mom facing social media backlash over boozing while breastfeeding

Posted at 5:18 PM, Sep 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-04 17:34:02-04

Chesapeake, Va. - A breastfeeding mom who said a local restaurant gave her the boot for breastfeeding her baby is getting push back on her social media campaign.

Crystal McCullough is now in the middle of a social media firestorm -- one that she helped create when she complained that Big Woody's had kicked her out for breastfeeding her baby on the patio.

At first, the comments on social media were supportive, in favor of Crystal... before the owners of Big Woody's told their side of the story.

The narrative on the story is now focused on patrons who complained to managers that she was nursing while consuming alcohol.

"Women have breastfed in here numerous times with no issues whatsoever. It was about the drinks being in front of her and people seeing that she had partaken in the drink," says Big Woody's co-owner Jeff Leroy.

But Crystal defends her choices, and says she  knows what she can and cannot consume.

"I had a beer and a shot of Fireball in front of me, but that was for after I was done, and I said I had one sip of beer, and I'm not planning on the rest until after I'm done nursing," Crystal said.  "This is such a powerful topic, there are so many health benefits of breastfeeding, for the mother and the baby."

Crystal says now social media is making her look like a bad mom without knowing the facts about drinking while nursing.

So how much booze is too much when you're nursing a baby? The Mayo Clinic weighs in with a firm "No" on the question saying, "Breastfeeding and alcohol don't mix well. There's no level of alcohol in breast milk that's considered safe for a baby to drink. Research suggests that breastfed babies who are exposed to one drink a day might have impaired motor development."

But medical experts don't agree on the question.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has approved the use of alcohol in breastfeeding mothers. Alcohol does pass into breast milk more readily that other drugs, but unless you drink several drinks or more a day, every day, then there should be no problem."

Since there is no medical consensus, it appears to be a personal and moral judgement. No doubt people who saw Crystal with alcohol at the table while she was nursing were judgmental, but there is some medical opinion that supports that she wasn't harming her baby at all.

The bottom line is that it's the restaurant's legal right not to serve if they were not comfortable with what their patrons were seeing.

Related Content:

Social media showdown: Breastfeeding mom vs. Big Woody’s

What about drinking alcohol and breastfeeding?

Mayo Clinic