Both the owner and manager of The Irish Cottage Kitchen and Alehouse claim that Treddenick and her friend were causing, in their words, "a commotion" and that's why they were asked to leave. In an interview with The Wiarton Echo, owner Robert Costelloe said he asked Treddenick to extend some "common courtesy" to diners on the patio and that the issue had nothing to do with nursing in public. Nevertheless, Costelloe said he'd reach out to the local public health unit to ensure that everyone's rights are being respected.
Over the weekend, protests were held in front of The Irish Cottage Kitchen and Alehouse and Treddenick's supporters left one-star reviews on the restaurant's Facebook page.
I've been thinking about this one a lot over the weekend (and really, any time there is a nurse-in, which seems to be at least once a week in Canada). The big questions on my mind are: why are these incidents even happening and why is there such a gap in understanding between the public and nursing moms when it comes to breastfeeding rights?
Thankfully, I was never shamed for breastfeeding in public. And, to be honest, until I joined social media, I didn't even know such a thing as breastfeeding rights even existed. I fed my babies whenever and wherever they were hungry, whether it was on a skid of lumber at the hardware store or at a table at a restaurant. Is this because, at the time, I lived in a larger city and public health awareness campaigns made it clear that women could nurse wherever they wanted? Are incidents like what happened in Wiarton due to the health unit there not being as proactive as Saskatoon's? Or is it because nursing moms are now able to rely on social media to help give them a voice when they are shamed for nursing?
To be clear, I'm not siding with either Holly Treddenick or The Irish Cottage Kitchen and Alehouse, because I wasn't there. The matter has already played out in the court of public opinion and there's not much more I can add to that conversation. But to restaurant diners everywhere, I do have some words of advice: If you see a woman breastfeeding, just enjoy your meal in peace so the baby next to you can enjoy hers.
Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big-city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children. Read more Run-at-home mom posts or follow her @JenPinarski.