A Katy sushi restaurant is the latest food business to take heat for asking a breastfeeding mother to cover up. On Tuesday, a local mom felt “disrespected” after an Atami Sushi & Steak Bar employee decided to “help” her cover up her child.
KHOU 11 News reports that Dylan Downing was having lunch at Atami Sushi & Steak with her two-month-old child Mason. During the meal, the infant began to cry, and Downing started to breastfeed. A few moments later, her server approached the table. "She got a cloth napkin and placed it over me and my infant," Downing told KHOU. "I ripped it off and said why are you touching me and covering my child."
The waitress told Downing that a table of nearby male customers complained that “too much breast” was exposed, leading her to drape the napkin over the child. Downing, however, was incensed. "It's just a boob," said Downing. "Look away. You can see them for free on the Internet. I'm just feeding my kid."
After finishing her meal, Downing didn't leave a monetary tip, but did write “don’t touch breastfeeding mothers!” on her receipt. She later posted a photo of the message to KHOU’s Facebook page, where frenzied discussion on breastfeeding continued on the post with both supporters and those who think that mothers should cover up weighing in.
In Texas, it’s illegal for a restaurant or any other public establishment to refuse service to a breastfeeding mother or otherwise interfere with her feeding the child. The statute, enacted in 1995, simply states that “a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.”
The waitress has since apologized, and Downing says that she harbors “no hard feelings” toward the restaurant or waitress. She plans to return as a regular customer.