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Breastfeeding mom upset over restaurant’s order; Friendly’s says it wasn’t the skin that bothered them

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Norwich, CT (WFSB) — A mom claims a restaurant told her to cover up while she was breastfeeding her baby and now, a group of moms is planning a nursing demonstration at that establishment this weekend in protest.

Liz Linehan, of Cheshire, said she was outraged about an incident involving Tabitha Donohue, where she was nursing her 8-week-old daughter inside the Friendly’s restaurant in Norwich. But she was allegedly asked by the manager to cover up.

“I was offended. They came over and asked me if I cared that I was offending other people,” Donohue said. “No, I don’t care if I offend other people, I’m feeding my baby.”

“Our rights as nursing mothers according to Connecticut Statute is that we could nurse as we see fit,” Linehan said. “We do not need to cover up and we do not need to be moved to a restroom, which is you know if you’re a nursing mother that’s disgusting.”

The state law on breastfeeding states they do not have to cover the baby with a towel or blanket.

Officials at Friendly’s restaurant responded to the Eyewitness News story and said they welcome breastfeeding moms.

“The guest was breastfeeding the baby while the child was lying on the restaurant’s dining table. The manager did not ask the mother to stop breastfeeding,” Friendly’s statement said.

There was no further comment or reaction from Friendly’s corporate office.

“It was never can you pick your baby up off the table, it was can you cover your breasts,” said Amber Pendleton, who was eating lunch with Donohue when the incident occurred.

Pendleton told Eyewitness News that she is glad their story is being discussed because all they want everyone to know about is a mother’s right to breastfeed in public.

“Any woman who goes to Friendly’s should be able to feed their baby the way they want to as the law says they can,” Pendleton said.

Dozens of mothers, who nurse their infants are signing up for a “nurse-in” this Saturday at the Friendly’s. Organizers said it’s a positive campaign to make restaurants and patrons alike aware of the state law.

“What I am surprised by is the outcry and the loving support I’m receiving from the nursing community,” Linehan said.

The nurse-in event on Saturday begins at 3 p.m.


  • DJM

    That’s the problem with to many people… they don’t care if they offend other people but you better not offend them!

  • Kelli

    I was a breastfeeding Mom and I advocate for the rights of Moms to breastfeed. I do not advocate for a lazy Mom to lay her 8 week baby on a table and put a breast in her mouth so Mom can continue to eat. Done properly no one needs to see a breast in a restaurant and a baby is loving nourished. This is just rude and lazy breastfeeding.

    • Nancy

      I agree with those people who feel a breastfeeding mother can be discreet when feeding her baby in public. I certainly was when I breastfed my children in public. Next thing you know, these obnoxious mothers will take off their entire shirts in public while nursing their children and insist this is not blatant public nudity with the intent to offend people. Cover up already.

    • Christine Miller

      Really all that restaurant is asking is for the mother to cover up. I feel it is very uncomfortable for others to see breasts hanging out when they are trying to eat. Doesn’t that mother have any pride? Don’t you people have anything better to do?

  • Erin Fandre

    I agree with the above comments. Laying an 8 week old baby on the table? Really? She’s looking for negative attention is all.

  • Tiny

    I agree with Kelli 💯! The issue is not about breadtfeeding your child in public is how you breastfeeding your child. I dont think anyone wants to see a baby laying on the table while you have your breast in its mouth!

  • OceanVibes

    Yes mothers have rights to feed their babies but for goodness sake, when does respect & decency for yourself & your child come into play? For that matter respect for other families around you . It is another mothers right to NOT want her child to see your naked breast as much as it is your right to feed your child. WORK TOGETHER! Feed your child but cover up respectably!!!!

  • What!

    Nursing is one thing indecent exposure is against the law.. Can a guy go shirtless in a restaurant, no, neither should a woman. COVER UP! It’s not that hard.

  • Rita

    Oh, for heaven’s sake, WHY do these crazy moms have to keep this up? I nursed both my kids and was able to be considerate of the people around me at the same time. Cover yourselves up. It’s not a big deal, stop making it one. And, if you have this much time on your hands, maybe you should get a JOB, too. Men can’t go shirtless in a restaurant, so women shouldn’t be able to, either.

  • Natalie

    I work in a restaurant and am also a mother. If done properly, no one even knows you’re breast feeding! It’s like these women are just looking for a reason to have a demonstration and reason to complain. Seriously it’s women like this that make all breast feeding mothers look bad. They make me cringe.

  • chantelle

    I am a mother of 6 and I breast fed my children. I breastfed my children in public rarely, and if I had to I covered my breast up. Although breastfeeding is a natural human event not everyone wants to see your breasts while they are eating. What one sees as common to themselves may not be all that common to someone else. I do not see the problem with a woman covering up while in public, I do not personally want the world looking at my breasts so i definitely do not want to see yours. By all means feed your baby but everyone does not need to see the skin you are in

  • Stephanie

    Why would you set your baby on the table to nurse?? That isn’t right!! I have breastfed 4 children and have never had to expose myself in public or lay my baby on a table while feeding them. This is an attention grabber and not right for breastfeeding mom’s who are really having issues with people harassing them for feeding baby while out and about.

  • triplea

    No one wants to use a table that had her nasty biological fluids around it. Barbarian that is for your runt and your runt alone, have some respect.

  • Meem

    Look at the weirdo mother with her ugly green hair. She obviously wants attention. She’s not concerned about the breastfeeding as much as the attention she is trying to get. As others have said, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. People are pushing their “rights” too far and have no concern for others. She obviously is a narcissistic, selfish person!

  • fivefatcats

    Seems there is a general concensus here – glad to see it. So far, I agree with everyone else. Someone needs a lesson in discretion.

  • Telcom Charlie

    Breastfeeding in public is perfectly natural. So is pleasing my wife sexually. Don’t yell at me if I want to knock one off.

    • Mallory

      Lol. Unless your wife cries uncontrollably from hunger, or has rhe potential for harm/death if you don’t pleasure her, they’re kind of not the same at all. Of course, i don’t know your wife so….

  • dancing in the ruins

    i’m a dude and i want to take a dump on the table at applebees and pleasure myself in the bleachers at miller park. why should i have to wait if she doesn’t?

  • Angela

    Breastfeeding is not the issue here. No one should nourish an infant by laying it on a public restaurant table and plopping either a breast or bottle in it’s mouth. We nourish our infants by holding them in our arms and being present to them no matter what form of feeding we choose.

  • steve

    no consideration for others, and the breastfeeding mother is “outraged”! if people would think about those around them, have a bit of courtesy, consideration, and MODESTY, we wouldn’t have any of these issues. breastfeeding is a natural function. it is also something that should not be shared with others – cover up; it is just the “proper” thing to do for all concerned. anyone thinking to “protest” are misguided and delusional. grow up!

    • ike christopher

      Taking a pee is also perfectly “natural” but I’m glad were not all sitting on a toilet while we are out to eat……I’m not saying don’t breast feed just cover up I don’t think that’s too much to ask

  • Kris

    Breast feeding is natural. My wife breast feed our children, but she never layed them on the table. I do not want to see another womans breast while I’m eating. Restrooms are dirty so why not go to a less obvious part of the room to feed the child. The child gets fed and I’m not bothered by having to watch. Let’s all give in a little bit instead of “ALL ME”.

  • Jessica

    I agree with everyone. I don’t breastfeed, but if you choose to, then you have to respect others, especially in public, at a restaurant. If I had seen this, I would be offended and disgusted, and probably complained to the manager. If she had covered up and nursed the baby normally, I would have had no problem with it.

    • Scott

      I totally agree, breastfeeding is something special between the mother and the baby, not the mother, the baby, the waiter, the cook, the hostess, and the customer. Have a little respect for yourself and others.

  • Goldie

    Definitely agree that mothers have the right to breast feed where ever they please BUT what this mother did steps over the bounds of decency. Hold your baby close, cover up as much as possible and don’t draw attention to yourself. She is ruining it for everyone.

  • Terri

    I nursed both of my children. One allowed his face to be covered, the other hated it and refused to be covered. It is within the law to nurish our children as needed, so get over yourselves.

    • Priscilla

      There is a difference that your child did not like to be covered up and plopping him/her on a table and shoving your breast in his/her mouth. I’m sure you did what was best for your child without disturbing everyone else.

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