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No Diaper Changes at the Table Please

baby change

Where's the Change Table?

Yesterday, Danielle wrote about a New Jersey woman who claimed that she was asked to leave a Dunkin Donuts because she was breastfeeding in public. Apparently, the police were called over the incident. If that’s what really happened, obviously, I’m appalled. But it seems that there’s more to the story.

As Danielle wrote, there are conflicting reports about what actually happened. One account has one of the mothers changing a cloth diaper on the table at Dunkin Donuts. One of the mothers said she had no choice but to change her child’s diaper on her lap because there wasn’t a changing table.

Now that’s a different story entirely — although it still doesn’t warrant calling the police!

The Globe and Mail reported on the controversy:

While we’d probably lose our appetite for that Boston cream donut if we watched someone remove a soiled diaper from a squirming baby on a restaurant table, we do understand the predicament the mom in question was facing.

The fact is that while there are laws in place in New Jersey to protect nursing mothers, there are no such laws for diaper changes.

I’m ashamed to admit that when my kids were babies and I was feeling underslept and desperate, I changed a diaper or two on a restaurant banquette. In hindsight, I can’t believe I subjected the other customers to the sight (or stench) of my baby’s bottom. Not to mention, it’s unhygienic and no doubt, violates health regulations.

Yes, it’s a drag when there’s no changing table. But it’s not okay to turn your table into a changing table. Instead, put a changing pad on the bathroom floor and change your baby there (I’ve done that too).

A diaper change at a restaurant could potentially get the place in trouble with the Health Department. We don’t know all of the details of what happened in this case. Certainly, calling the police certainly seems unwarranted.

But if the issue really was the diaper change, I hate for this incident to turn into a story about a breastfeeding mom who was mistreated for nursing publicly.

I fully support a woman’s right to breastfeed publicly even if it makes other people uncomfortable. But I don’t think that a breastfeeding mom is allowed to get away with any sort of offensive behavior simply because she is breastfeeding.

What do you think? Is it okay to change a dirty diaper in a restaurant?

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photo: flickr/balcita

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