KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) It all started about a week ago when a mother was breastfeeding her child inside the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Parkside Drive and customers started complaining about her not covering up. That's when Jennifer Day took to social media to let others know what happened. Wednesday evening, dozens of mothers and fathers showed up at the restaurant to demonstrate a peaceful breastfeeding nurse-in.
Anna Hurley was one of the big pushers on Facebook to get the group together.
"I want to still feel comfortable coming here and nursing my baby," Hurley said. "If I don't feel comfortable, they're going to lose a lot of business."
Sitting quietly and peacefully among themselves, mothers talked and laughed with one another as they ate their dinner and fed their child. Hurley added this wasn't done to spite anyone, they felt it was important to stand behind a mother who she says was unfairly criticized. Nor was this sexual.
"We're not doing it to get attention. I've never heard of a mom breastfeeding her baby in public so that men can see her boobs," Hurley explained.
Kara Lockmiller agreed.
"I think there will always be people in the community that sexualize breasts. But women who breastfeed, we don't see our breasts as...a sex object," Lockmiller said.
Several of the mothers agreed that breastfeeding without covering up is not something done to attract anyone's attention. Some said their child prefers not being covered up. Others, like Bri Plott, said it was quicker and easier and more convenient.
"If your child is hungry, you have to feed him. And it's not always opportune to get a cover or go somewhere else," Plott said.
Still others argued that breastfeeding in a bathroom is just too dirty.
And customers sitting in the restaurant Wednesday evening didn't seem to mind either. Jill Montgomery and her husband didn't have any issue with it.
"I just don't understand the purpose of carrying it any further," Montgomery said.
Richard Spiller and his wife echoed that opinion while they sat with their children eating dinner.
"If your child needs to eat and you're breastfeeding, then I think it's fine," Spiller said.