Bar defends throwing out breastfeeding, beer sipping mom


A war of words on Facebook has erupted over a mom who was tossed out of a bar in Chesapeake, Virginia on Labor Day after customers complained that she was drinking alcohol while breastfeeding her 11-month-old.

The mother, who has only been identified as Crystal, told News Channel 3 that she did have alcohol on the ready but that she was waiting until after finishing the breastfeeding session to partake:

“I had a huge water I was downing. I had a beer and a shot of Fireball in front of me but that was for after I was done. And I had one sip of beer and I’m not planning on the rest until after I’m done nursing.”

Crystal said she is a degreed chemist and that the amount she drinks does not affect her breast milk. She added,  “I said there is no law that says I can’t breastfeed and drink. I’m not doing anything wrong, and he then proceeded to say, ‘You know what it’s also my right to refuse service. I’m going to be cashing you guys out, you can leave.’”

The co-owner of Big Woody’s, Jeff Leroy, said he was out of town and it was the manager on duty that handled the situation. The bar received a ton of criticism via Facebook – so much so that management issued a statement:

The incident has Crystal motivated as she added, “Next step is I’m trying to organize a nurse-in. I’ve got so many people just waiting to.”

As for the affect of alcohol on breastfeeding – here’s a link and the lead-in to an article on the topic via The Mayo Clinic, “Breastfeeding and alcohol don’t mix well. There’s no level of alcohol in breast milk that’s considered safe for a baby to drink.”

A breastfeeding mom who works at Big Woody’s wrote:

As a breastfeeding mother that works there, all I need to say is every owner and manager did nothing but whole heartedly support me while I breastfed. Whether I was at the restaurant with my baby, working and needing to pump, or being sent home early so I could actually nurse and not have to pump.. All staff supported me in my breastfeeding journey. A majority of our staff are parents including both owners and all managers… We were looking out for the safety of the precious, innocent child. The staff, customers, managers, and owners a like are a huge happy family! Come on in an enjoy our events and awesome food! I love my job and everyone that works there and comes there!

The co-owners intend on retraining their staff so that they can improve their approach if and when this sensitive subject arises again.

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