Tuesday, July 20, 2010

tisk tisk Johnny Rockets!

I was about to go to bed when I saw this post from Nursing Freedom.  This just kills me.  Why can't people leave well enough alone?!?

With blessings, I've stolen borrowed used some of the facts from the original post to write the following letter.  Seriously...I don't go telling bottle feeding moms to feed in the bathroom or pass judgement on them..why is this such a big deal?!  This will find its way into tomorrow's mail.

Cozette Phifer Koerber
Vice President of Brand Marketing and Corporate Communications 
The Johnny Rockets Group, Inc.
25550 Commercentre Drive,
Suite 200
Lake Forest, CA 92630 

Dear Ms. Phifer Koerber:

I am writing to express concern about a recent incident at your Newport on the Levee restaurant in Kentucky.  A mother was nursing her 6 month old and was asked to move to a bathroom to feed her child.  As a breastfeeding mother and human in general, I find this very upsetting.  Below you will find an explanation of why I am so upset about this.  No mother should have to be harassed for feeding her child, regardless of method.  No mother should be fearful to feed her child, regardless of method.  No mother should have to avoid establishments because they disagree with feeding a child and with local laws.  You can bet this will keep me from visiting Johnny Rockets.  If I'm allow to eat somewhere, my child should be as well (as is protected by law).

Breastmilk and breastfeeding are the standard for infant nutrition.

Breastmilk contains growth factors, hormones, enzymes, and other substances that are immune-protective and foster proper growth and nutrition.[1] Breastfeeding is associated with a reduction of the risk for children of contracting pneumonia, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, severe infections of the lower respiratory tract, asthma, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, certain types of cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).[2]

Encouraging breastfeeding is an integral part of many governmental health and wellness initiatives, including programs created by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, among others.[3] And breastfeeding is not just for infants. The American Academy of Family Physicians 2008 Position Paper on breastfeeding states that “breastfeeding at least until the second year of a child's life is not considered 'extended' breastfeeding. Rather, breastfeeding until the bare minimum age of 2 years is the norm and anything less brings about detrimental consequences.”[4]

Children should not nurse in a bathroom.

The thought of a mother taking her child to a public restroom to nurse is disgusting and dangerous. Every time you flush your toilet, an aerosol spray of water droplets – laden with bits of feces and urine – explodes into the bathroom. Significant quantities of microbes float around the bathroom for at least two hours after each flush. In a public bathroom, that means the air is continuously blasted by feces droplets. What’s more? Women’s public restrooms contain twice as much fecal matter as men’s, probably due to the fact that there is the added contamination of soiled tampons and pads, and women are more likely to be dragging in small children and babies in need of a change.[5]

The Law Protects the Right To Nurse in Public. 

Kentucky State Law KRS § 211.755 states that a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.  Additionally, every US State in which Johnny Rockets currently operates has similar laws in place as does locations in Canada, Europe, and other countries in which Johnny Rockets operates.  As such it is the responsibility of your corporation and local managers to ensure that those working at your restaurants are aware of these laws and regulations. To not do so is truly a dramatic oversight that can lead to dangerous precedent and negligence.

Please work with me to normalize breastfeeding in our society. I am writing to ask you to take positive steps to help breastfeeding mothers.

  • First, if your organization has internal guidelines regarding breastfeeding mothers and how to handle complaints of patrons about a mother breastfeeding their child I encourage you toreview these guidelines on a state-by-state basis to ensure that your guidelines are not actually violating local laws. There are some very real business risk reasons to follow through on this particular item. 
  • Second, I would also encourage you to post your policy in an easily accessible location so that all mothers who may be nursing their child can read your policy and decide for themselves whether they are comfortable with your policy. 
  • Third, a public and sincere apology to the mother in question.  
  • And, fourth, please educate your employees and franchisees about the rights of breastfeeding pairs.

I hope you found this information informative and helpful.  Thank you for taking the time to review it.


[1] Hamosh, Margit, PhD, Breastfeeding: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mother’s Milk, http://www.asklenore.info/breastfeeding/additional_reading/mysteries.html
[2] Ip S, et al., Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17764214; see also Burby, Leslie, 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child (and citations therein), http://www.promom.org/101/
[3] See http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/ ; http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/policy/hp2010.htm ; http://www.letsmove.gov/tfco_fullreport_may2010.pdf
[4] http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/policy/policies/b/breastfeedingpositionpaper.html; The AAFP’s position is almost identical to that of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/9241562218/en/index.html.
For similar positions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical organizations, see http://www.aap.org/breastfeeding/faqsBreastfeeding.html#10; see also http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/bfm.2008.9988?journalCode=bfm.
[5] Breastfeeding and Bathrooms Do Not Mix, http://codenamemama.com/2010/05/24/breastfeeding-and-bathrooms/

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