Mom Sues Store After Getting Kicked Out for Breastfeeding
A New York woman is suing Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Café in Midtown for throwing her out because she was nursing her five-month-old daughter. Julie Acevedo-Taylor and a friend were there with their kids. When they started breastfeeding their babies, management demanded that they stop. When they refused, they were told to leave, and to never come back.
What the manager didn't realize (or maybe didn't care about) is that breastfeeding in public is legal anywhere in New York, including restaurants, stores, etc. Not only that -- so is toplessness, technically.
Acevedo-Taylor's lawyer, Adam Polo, told us that New York civil rights law 79-e guarantees the right of a mother to breastfeed her child anywhere she wants, in public or private. New York even has a "Breastfeeding Bill of Rights" that's given to new mothers in hospitals. So there was literally nothing illegal about what this mother was doing in the chocolate store.
"She knew she was within her rights," Polo said. "But in reality, you're not going to start a whole big scene -- you're going to leave."
The incident happened a year ago, and Polo and his client "tried to get it resolved" out of court to no avail. So they're suing for "severe embarrassment, severe shame, severe humiliation, severe emotional distress, and loss of dignity," according to the Post.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a child's life, and the law explicitly states that a mother has the right to nurse her kid wherever she pleases. Oh, and really young babies may have to feed up to 12 times a day. Should a nursing mother hide out at home 24/7 just because the baby will need to eat, and oh gosh, we can't have that in public?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.