Popular Restaurant Chain Allegedly Shames a Breastfeeding Mom

It's a story we hear far too often. While they were grabbing a quick bite at a North Carolina Qdoba restaurant, Karissa Riddle's 6-month-old son began to cry for food. So she did what any breastfeeding mom would do: she nursed her child. But shortly after Riddle began breastfeeding, a Qdoba employee allegedly approached the table and told her to cover up or leave, as the scene was making fellow customers uncomfortable. Riddle argued that North Carolina law allows women to breastfeed uncovered in public, but the employee said he had the right to ask her to cover up. Frustrated and embarrassed, Riddle left the restaurant in tears.

"I forgot for one second that being a woman, a mother, and breastfeeding my baby could ever be seen as inappropriate," she told Huffington Post. She added that she has nursed her son in public before, but this was the first time she received any backlash. A Qdoba representative reached out to Riddle and said they would discuss the situation, but she hasn't heard back since. The company did, however, release the following statement to Huffington Post:

"At Qdoba, we absolutely support a mother's right to breastfeed in our restaurants. We've been looking into a recent incident that occurred at one of our locations that made one mother feel otherwise. We genuinely and sincerely apologize that she felt this way, and have made attempts to speak to the guest to work with her directly to resolve the matter.

"As a brand, we welcome and support nursing mothers and want to make sure they feel comfortable in our restaurants at all times, as we do with any of our guests. We want to make it clear that we do not have any company policy in place that would not support that. We are always striving to create the best possible experience for our guests and assure you that we are using this as an opportunity to educate all of our employees of this right and our best practices."

Though disappointed, Riddle hopes her experience encourages other moms to continue breastfeeding in public and stand up for their right to do so: "I hope this encourages other parents not to feel shamed for feeding their children. That they will read my story, see the large amount of support I have, and they will stop feeding their children in bathrooms."