Cafe manager tells breastfeeding mom to cover up

Feb 08, 2018
  • By Karla Ray, WFTV.com

An Apopka restaurant is facing social media backlash Wednesday after one of its managers told a mother who was breastfeeding her baby to cover up.

Manager Bridget Tarassenko told WFTV investigative reporter Karla Ray she didn’t know that a state law allows women to breastfeed almost anywhere.

>>> Read the Florida statute here <<< 

Mother Amber Wilkie told Eyewitness News that in late January, she ordered enough food for her toddler and middle school-age child, but her 8-month-old, Savannah, needed to eat too.

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"I was getting ready to feed her because she was hungry. It had been a couple of hours," Wilkie said. 

Wilkie said she started breastfeeding Savannah uncovered in the restaurant, which she said she's always done.

"It's purely natural to breastfeed a baby," Wilkie said. 

>>> Read other 9 Investigates stories <<<

Natural or not, Tarassenko told WFTV that she had never seen someone openly breastfeeding in her restaurant before. 

“I didn’t know how to react to it. I wanted to protect her privacy because I had other customers in there as well. I asked her to cover up, and the next day I was being harassed on social media,” Tarassenko said.

Many of the posts 9 Investigates found online pointed out the Florida law, which states, "A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be." 

"You can breastfeed your baby anytime, anywhere you need to, covered or uncovered; that is state law," Wilkie said.