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Cops, Glazed Munchkins, and Breastmilk… Oh My!

Is Breastfeeding a crime?

Here we go again!  This week a New Jersey mother enjoying donuts, and coffee with a friend and their children had the police called on them for breastfeeding in public.

While there are several conflicting reports of the story, the mother involved shared her tale on the popular website for mothers Cafemom, a story which has since been removed.

In the post one of the two mothers involved in the newest breastfeeding controversy stated :

It finally happened. A friend and I were just told not to breastfeed in Dunkin Donuts because there are “other people there”. I was going to leave and just write a letter to Dunkin Donuts headquarters suggesting that they educate their employees better. The police were called, though.

This mother also included that after they were told to leave because of breastfeeding in the coffee shop, they started to clean up the table they were sitting at and make their way out peacefully. Unfortunately not before the police confronted them and reportedly told them to “Shut up” in front of their young children.

Dunkin Donuts has posted this statement on their facebook page in regards to the incident :

We have looked into the matter concerning 2 moms at a DD store in NJ & have confirmed an employee was responding to another customer’s complaint that wasn’t related to breastfeeding. None of the DD employees challenged the guests about breastfeeding & all DDs must comply w/ local, state & federal laws w/ regard to nursing mothers. Our top priority is always to provide an excellent experience for our guests

The more publicity this story gets, the more accounts of events change. But not the accounts of the two mothers involved.

Some say one of the mothers changed a cloth diaper on the table of the establishment, as Sarah one of the women involved says she used her lap to change her small child because of the lack of proper changing table in the rest room of the coffee shop. But does any of this warrant a call to the police? Or are the employees who broke New Jersey state law trying to cover their own butts now that this has made national news?

As many other states in the U.S. New Jersey has a breastfeeding law on the books to help prevent mothers from incidents of this nature :

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:4B-4/5 (1997) entitles a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. Failure to comply with the law may result in a fine.

While the families involved, and authorities in New Jersey sort this all out the Dunkin Donuts facebook page is booming with boycott and disgust from mothers.

Brooke Foster Smith said :

Hey DD ~ maybe you should brush up on some laws because FYI breastfeeding in public is NOT against the law and you CANNOT tell a mother that she cannot do it. Infants need to eat just like everyone else and they have the legal right to eat in public just like everyone else does.

And Beth Mitchell Huntsberry said :

No more Dunkin’ Donuts for this family. Can’t believe in 2010 we still have people dumb enough to call the police because a women dared feed her child in public.

Will you be sticking to your Dunkin Donuts consumption after this incident in New Jersey?

Photo : flickr.com/diluvi

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