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Restaurant Faces Backlash After It Asked Breastfeeding Mom to 'Cover Up'

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The owner regrets the incident.


A restaurant in Delaware has come under fire after a manager asked a breastfeeding mother to "cover up." According to the Daily Journal, Kristal Snow Tomko was dining at the Big Fish Bar & Grille Sunday afternoon with her 6-month-old son and her brother. Her infant was hungry so she began breastfeeding him the restaurant, something she says she does "everywhere," adding that it had never really been an issue before. That's when things started to go wrong.

Tomko notes in a Facebook post that while a manager of the restaurant did not ask her to leave, he did ask her to "cover up or nurse in an empty dining room at the restaurant or in the restroom." So Tomko went to her van where she "cried and nursed." Tomko writes that she was "made to feel embarrassed and shamed, as if [she was] doing something wrong."

Restaurant owner John Mathias tells the Daily Journal that the restaurant doesn't have an issue with breastfeeding and that the manager only went over when two different tables "expressed discomfort." Mathias adds in a lengthy Facebook post about the incident that Tomko was reluctant when first asked to cover up, telling the manager that "other guest[s] can leave if they do not like it."

Mathias writes that he regrets what happened and the he believes "everyone has rights and deserves respect." He notes that he has received a series of "hurtful" messages from upset mothers, however: "[I have received] phone messages threatening to kill me, break in to destroy property, hope we go out of business etc." Others have taken to Facebook to post messages such as, "A restaurant is where people eat. That human being was eating the only food it can eat. That simple, the end. Breastfeeding is only obscene if you are a weirdo." A group of mothers plan to stage a "nurse-in" this Friday at the restaurant in protest.

This isn't the first time mothers have turned to nurse-ins to defend their rights to breastfeed. A group of mothers held one last June at a Friendly's in Connecticut after a woman was allegedly asked to stop breastfeeding her baby within the restaurant. A few years before that, a group of women staged a similar protest at a McDonald's in Arizona after a mother was asked to leave the restaurant for breastfeeding her son. Read Mathias' Facebook message in full below: