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Nurse-in at Olive Garden this Monday

2637 Views 54 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  mariposamamma
I don't know if this has already been posted here, but if so, sorry about the double notice.

A friend of mine is organizing a nurse-in for this Monday, June 14, at 1:00 p.m., because if I recall the story correctly, her friend was asked to leave Olive Garden for nursing her baby.

We are in Texas where the law says, "A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be," but I understand the nurse-in is national. My friend got interviewed by the Dallas Morning News and the reporter told her that if it is a national nurse-in that we will be on CNN.

SOOOOO, head out to your friendly local Olive Garden Monday, June 14th!

Here is my state law:

Texas Health & Safety Code CHAPTER 165. BREAST-FEEDING. SUBCHAPTER A. BREAST-FEEDING RIGHTS AND POLICIES. § 165.001. Legislative Finding

The legislature finds that breast-feeding a baby is an important and basic act of nurture that must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values. In compliance with the breast-feeding promotion program established under the federal Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. Section 1771 et seq.), the legislature recognizes breast-feeding as the best method of infant nutrition.

§165.002. Right to Breast-Feed. A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.
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So every Olive Garden, everywhere at the same time? If so, I'm there!
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Hmmm... but Olive Garden would be getting a lot of $$$ for being breastfeeding unfriendly, right?

Do you have any additional info?
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Well, I for one wouldn't buy anything. You make a good point though Tired. I envisioned everyone kind of sitting and standing around the entrance. How exactly does this work? Where do we nurse? What if we're told to leave because we're not paying customers?
To get around the issue of being asked to leave due to not being a paying customer, I would go in and order a pepsi, glass of milk, etc. Thats it. Nursr away and dare someone to say something about it.

I e-mailed my friend this thread and hope she will reply to provide more information.

This is the e-mail reminder of the nurse-in I got yesterday:

"well... we're all set to go! the date is june 14th.. this monday!! i look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the olive garden in mckinney [texas]. the address is 1700 n. central expwy and we'll be meeting there at 1pm! i have spoken with online friends of mine from across the country who are coordinating similar nurse-ins all over the place! how exciting! anyway, get your babies/kids ready and see you there!! if u need anything else, u can contact me at either [phone numbers].

Granola Mom to 4 fabulous kids
Briana-12 Anisa-9 Gage-5
And my home waterbirth nursling... Karma Sim
Born on September 12th!!!
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See another Mothering.Com thread about a nurse-in last week. This is how they did it.
hi there! this is dani.... the one who is organizing the nurse-in at the olive garden. to clarify.... a woman in kentucky was asked to use the restroom or leave her local olive garden to nurse her baby. she was not interested in pursuing the matter and at this point, we've been unable to track her down. however, i was upset enoughto email them immediately and after 2 weeks and an additional email, i received no response. i wrote letters to both the manager of my local olive garden in dallas and the corporate office. finally, i received an email response.... a form letter that others had received. here's a copy of what i got....

Dear Dani:

Thank you for your feedback.

We cannot substantiate the comments that you have shared with us nor do we take a position on breastfeeding.

We are interested in the comfort of all of our dining guests. Olive Garden strives to provide a combination of food, service, and ambiance that adds up to a special dining experience. We appreciate that you have selected Olive Garden in the past for this reason.

We trust that all of our guests would respect others in the dining room, use sound judgment and accepted community standards regarding their individual decorum. This regard for others extends to the use of cell phones, conversation volumes, feeding infants and restless children. If you have a specific concern while dining with us, one of our managers would be pleased to discuss the matter and make any reasonable accommodation.

Again, thank you for your interest in Olive Garden.

Olive Garden Guest Relations

now, after reading this email, i was even further disappointed.... comparing children and nursing infants to cell phones and noisy customers???? ugh.... for a family restaurant, that sure sounds anti-child!! so, i began organizing the nurse-in and have had a very good response. my intent is not to cause a scene. my intent is to encourage the olive garden, as a national restaurant chain, to create and implement a breastfeeding policy so that any nursing mom across the US will feel safe to nurse her child there. i have been speaking with the local newspaper who will be running a front page article on the nurse-in. it would be incredible if there were nurse-ins across the country. already, i have heard about nurse-ins in nebraska, ohio, pennsylvania and of course here in texas.

here's our plan.... we will meet at the olive garden on monday at 1pm. we will sit down and enjoy a meal. we will request to speak with the manager. i will have letters ready for him as well as plenty of questions, suggestions and concerns. we want to let the olive garden know that we ARE customers and that most of us have been treated well there, with no problems nursing our children there over the years. however, we want them to create a policy that affects EVERY olive garden across the country. if this problem can happen at one location, it can happen anywhere. i could just boycott them, but how would that be helping? and if we cause a big scene, we're only going to come off as fanatical, militant breastfeeders. i believe there is a time and place for getting loud and quite honestly, if this approach doesn't work, we'll see what we need to do next. no nursing mom should ever be harrassed and my hope is that this nurse-in will ensure that.... if nowhere else, at least at her local olive garden.

feel free to email me with questions or if you want to report a nurse-in. thanks so much for reading and for being interested in helping change how breastfeeding is perceived in our country!!
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WOW, that is really wild what they compared nursing a child to.

We trust that all of our guests would respect others in the dining room, use sound judgment and accepted community standards regarding their individual decorum. This regard for others extends to the use of cell phones, conversation volumes, feeding infants and restless children. If you have a specific concern while dining with us, one of our managers would be pleased to discuss the matter and make any reasonable accommodation.

I don't know Olive Garden, instead of accepted community standards what about the LAW and RIGHTS to feed our children in a place where everyone else is eating?! I would have asked them to take their meal into the bathroom.

Accepted community standards? That pisses me off...
I prefer not to give them my business, but I will call the local OG on monday and speak to the manager. I will also inform the home office that until they take a position that any nursing mother will be allowed to nurse as per the law I will not be dining there anymore.
I'm sorry but I do not think they should be given business. What they did was upsetting enough but their reply is...well...

Anyway, did you follow the link that Ruth provided. It has a link on that thread to the newspaper story of the woman who was asked to leave a restaurant for bfing her 6 mo. That restaurant gave a full apology and now has a sign welcoming breastfeeding mothers. I will not participate in the nurse in if it includes giving them $$$. They need to be losing business or at least fear losing business over this. Please reconsider your method.
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Oh, yea, that response would have gotten me really pissed. I know what they are implying and that is that they have a policy against BFing. That was mighty gutsy to admit. Now, watch how fast they turn that policy around after a few law suits. Good for you with the Nurse-in!

Incidentally, I didn't see if they were or will be given an "update" about BFing laws.

I'd be happy to send a letter as well if you have an e-mail handy. Please let us know how things are going.

BTW, have you contacted the LLL legal department for assistance? There was a wonderful lawyer that helped me when I had some problems a couple of years back. Also, they may appreciated being involved from the beginning incase this gets big, which I sincerely hope it does!

Keep us posted.
I cross posted with the last post. May I say that I think a boycott *IS* in order *IF* they don't comply. I do think a nurse-in is a wonderful idea and news coverage would be invaluable. I think you will have to give them money to sit down and nurse legally (ie, not be loitering) and I think that is a fine compromise to make for the publicity as well as a way to make a good statement and get your message out. Plus there is the added benefit of hand delivering your "demands" as a paying customer.

Now, if things don't go well - I assume that a boycott is planned. I think they will fear loosing business thanks to the OP's dedication. I'm sure the OP would be open to alternatives as well as additional action but I think this idea is well in the works and it sounds promising. Do let us know.

I wrote them and explained how I felt and that DH and I would be forgoing visiting until we have some sort of assurance that attempts will be made to remedy the situation and ensure that they will support a womans legal right to nurse. I wish I had saved my letter to post here.
I sent a letter also.

I have recently heard that you have a policy that seems to infringe on a woman and child's right to breastfeed in our restaurants. Could you share with me your policy on breastfeeding in Olive Garden Restaurants?

It is very important to me that all establishments that I patronize are aware and protect the right to breastfeed. I would appreciate if you would demonstrate to me that you are aware of this legal right as well as explain the efforts you take to be sure that this right is not infringed upon at your establishments.

If you are not aware of the legal right to breastfeed you can start by looking at the La Leche League website:
Or I'm sure you legal team can provide you with the up to date information.
Email sent.

I am uncomforable patronizing their store until I have guarantees that they are officially family friendly. As such, I won't be at the Nurse-In but will be happy to participate in a boycott.
I have never sent a letter regarding BFing rights before, but that response letter outraged me. My letter has been sent and I, too, will not be at the nurse in. While I think it's a good idea, I cannot and will not give them even a dollar of my business.

Originally Posted by TiredX2
I am uncomforable patronizing their store until I have guarantees that they are officially family friendly. As such, I won't be at the Nurse-In but will be happy to participate in a boycott.
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Originally Posted by MamaAllNatural
i'm sincerely curious here.... how does a boycott serve here? they haven't responded to my letters -- do you think they'll even notice if you boycott? the purpose of having a nurse-in where money is spent is to let them know that hey.. we 're paying customers! we've enjoyed dining there in the past and would like to continue dining there in the future! i don't know if they deserve it, but i'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and for now, i'm going to assume that they're being ignorant and in need of education and information. i plan on providing that. if, after being provided information, they choose not to make any changes, we'll figure out what comes next.... if that means standing outside with big signs shouting at all who enter, then so be it!! i don't see myself just withdrawing and boycotting, though. if they're not willing to change, obviously, i don't want to give them business or money, but i won't sit quietly.... in my opinion, its the easy way out. if we don't handle this, who will? they're not going to do this on their own and your average citizin certainly won't! its up to us.

anyway, i'm sure you'll do as you like, but i have carefully considered EVERY option i can think of and what's funny is that i've heard from many people on every side of this. i've heard from those who think i should sit home and write letters. and some who think that doing anything is idiotic because after all, kentucky has no breastfeeding laws and they were within their rights to ask the mom to leave. there are many who will join me on monday. and then some here who think that a nurse-in is too nice and that the only thing to do is make sure that the olive garden receives nothing from us until they change their policy. i'm grateful for every viewpoint as its given me a lot to consider. i hope, however, that you will consider my ultimate goal here.... to change the perception of breastfeeding mothers and breastfeeding in public. i believe that starts when family friendly establishments create and implement breastfeeding policies so that families feel safe and comfortable whenever they enter. wouldn't it be great to know that no matter where you travel, you could go into any olive garden and know that their employees have been trained in how to treat breastfeeding mothers??
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I won't be going but will gladly send a letter. I find their prices to be way expensive. I like, actually LOVE, Macaroni Grill better and have nursed my daughter in there several times. Once, was during our anniversary and I was nursing Jasmine. Well, the singing waiter comes to our table to sing an anniversary song and as soon as he noticed me nursing, he kind of stuttered, "Oh, um, sorry. I'll come back in a little bit." I was like, if you insist. I didn't care either way. We got a good laugh about that because he had already started singing and suddenly stopped when he noticed. :LOL

So Olive Garden doesn't get my business anyway. Good luck on the nurse in. I hope you'll post about it on apconnect because they have a lot of members in McKinney that would probably love to get involved.
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