"Cover Up" Charged At Local Restaurant

Breast-feeding mom drew complaints

Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010  |  Updated 9:46 PM EDT
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"Cover Up" Charged At Local Restaurant

A Frederick County restaurant is under fire after a manager asked a breastfeeding woman to "cover up."

That's according to a letter written by her husband to the Panera Bread Company.

Karsten Bartels and Lena Mayes were dining at the Panera restaurant on Urbana Pike Thursday.

Bartels told the Frederick News Post that when they had finished their dinner, his wife began to discreetly nurse their 2-month-old son.

A restaurant manager told the Post that some of the other diners had complained, and in the letter Bartels wrote to the company, he said that manager told his wife she'd have to cover up if she wanted to breastfeed.

A Maryland state law allows mothers to breastfeed in public.

Panera spokesperson Julie Epstein said the manager asked Mayes politely if it was possible for her to cover up more.

"We shouldn't have said anything," Epstein told the Post. "We should have asked the guests to say it to the couple themselves."

Bartels' letter to Panera suggested the restaurant evaluate staff training about breastfeeding.

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