A new mother in Georgia has been shamed for breastfeeding in public, WXIA-TV reports. Dawn Holland says the manager at Applebee's called the police after she refused to nurse her 20-month-old son Connor in the bathroom.
According to WXIA-TV, Holland was breastfeeding in a booth when the manager approached and suggested she finish feeding her baby in the restroom or leave. She told the news station that she tried explaining her right to breastfeed in public -- Georgia is one of 45 states that have laws which allow mothers to nurse anywhere. And, the officer who responded to the call didn't even file an incident report.
Yet, while nursing in public is legal in Georgia, the law doesn't prevent breastfeeding moms from being stigmatized. Earlier this year, Nirvana Jennette was told she couldn't breastfeed in a Georgia church. She then organized the Georgia Statewide nurse-in -- a protest to help protect breastfeeding moms' rights. Jennette explained in her petition letter:
Currently Georgia state law allows a mother to nurse her child anywhere that mother and child have permission to be, but there is no enforcement provision. A law without enforcement protects no one. New legislation would provide for civil action against anyone subjecting a nursing mother to harassment or discrimination in violation of the current state breastfeeding law, as well as protection from all indecent exposure laws.
Jennette's proposed Protection Act has not been passed, but she continues to advocate for breastfeeding moms nationwide and participated in another large-scale protest this summer, the Great Nurse-In in Washington D.C.
A spokesperson for Applebee's told WXIA-TV that Dawn Holland's experience was just a misunderstanding.
"We're in the business of welcoming guests to our restaurants and our top priority is always to provide a friendly and comfortable environment for everyone, including nursing mothers who have the right to nurse in public," the company said in a statement.
Regardless, Holland says she'll never return to that restaurant or any other Applebee's.
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