Chesapeake, Va. - A Chesapeake restaurant is now going the extra mile to let breastfeeding moms know they are welcome.
The owners of Big Woody's invited breastfeeding experts from Eastern Virginia Medical School out to educate their managers on the topic.
The move comes after recent controversy involving breastfeeding at the restaurant. A breastfeeding mother blasted the establishment on social media several weeks ago after she was asked to leave.
The woman claims she was asked to leave because she was breastfeeding but the restaurant claims she was asked to leave because she was drinking while breastfeeding and customers were complaining.
After facing an initial backlash, many came out in support of the restaurant owners, who say they've always supported breastfeeding moms.
“Once all the facts came out, we really had a lot of folks from all over the nation that have messaged us supporting the way we handled it,” says co-owner Jeff Leroy.
Now they're taking it a step further by educating the rest of their employees.
“I knew we could do some things differently and it is really all about the approach,” says Leroy.
“They had a little communication concern so they reached out to us. They heard about our program and wanted to know more about it,” says Amy Paulson with EVMS.
The program is a certification given out to establishments that complete an hour long class and sign a pledge to help and support breastfeeding moms.
Danny Martinez was the manager that night and says what he learned during the class would have gone a long way in keeping the peace with the patron.
“I wish we would have spoken to them before this happened. I think we would have been able to approach the situation in a more professional, more informative manner so it wouldn’t have created so much confusion,” he says.
Regular customer Gene Stewart isn’t surprised Big Woody’s owners stepped up.
“They’ve done other things like that, supported so many charities, breast cancer, the Humane Society of Chesapeake, they’ve always done the right thing,” he says.
There are 60 other public establishments in Hampton Roads that have gone through the breastfeeding class and have the seal of approval from EVMS.