I want to make sure as many people as possible are aware of the upcoming nurse-in, scheduled for September 8, 2007, four days from now. The time will be from 12:00 noon-1:00 pm. This nurse-in, which will be happening at Applebee’s Restaurants all over the nation, is in response to the degrading treatment Kentucky native Brooke Ryan received at her local Applebee’s when she breastfed her 7-month-old son.
Ryan, who was breastfeeding discreetly at the Nicholasville Rd Applebee’s in Lexington, KY on June 14, was asked to cover up with a blanket due to “indecent exposure.” According to Ryan, her son won’t nurse if under a blanket; it’s hot and uncomfortable. Furthermore, she was nursing facing into a corner, away from anyone that could have possibly seen anything. During the incident, Ryan handed a copy of Kentucky law over to the manager who asked her to cover up. The law prohibits anyone from interfering with a mother breastfeeding her baby in public. The manager’s response was that, regardless of the law, a customer complaining about “indecent exposure” was more important to Applebee’s so she should either cover up or leave. Humiliated, she went to nurse her son in her car in the parking lot.
After the incident, she went through all the right channels to get this matter resolved and to make Applebee’s aware of what the Kentucky breastfeeding law means. After Ryan’s lawyer contacted the company that owns the Nicholasville Applebee’s, Thomas and King, their official response was that “the restaurant chain would consider keeping blankets in the restaurant so that breast-feeding women could cover themselves.”
That’s right, those dirty, dirty breastfeeders… Applebee’s will do them the “courtesy” of providing them with blankets so they can cover up the apparently shameful act of nourishing their offspring in the best way possible.
Republican senator Tom Buford said of the incident, and Applebee’s subsequent response, “She was not treated right under the new law. There should have been no comment made to her at all; the restaurant overstepped its boundaries. There’s no way they can explain their way out of this.”
I, and many other bloggers, agree with him. See this story on: The Lactivist, Hathor the CowGoddess, Women’s Health News, and Breastfeeding 1-2-3 (contains a Google map of Applebee’s nurse-ins across the country). Additionally, this story has been covered extensively (and first appeared) on MotheringDotCommune.
There is a Yahoo Group devoted to the nurse-in which will take place on September 8. Please visit it if you’re interested in participating and learning more. You need not be a lactating mom to be a supporter. You can carry a sign expressing your displeasure of Applebee’s policy and treatment of Brooke Ryan. The protest will be a peaceful one, and it is important that supporters of the nurse-in not park in parking lots owned by Applebee’s nor block the right-of-way.
Don’t forget to wear your International Breastfeeding Symbol shirts!