Pizza Hut employee shames mother for nursing son

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WAUSEON (13abc Action News) - A local mother says she was publicly shamed for breastfeeding her son at a restaurant. She's telling us her story.

"I felt humiliated, absolutely disappointed and humiliated," said the mother Paige Martin.

22-year-old Paige Martin says she went to Pizza Hut in Wauseon with her family. She says her three-month-old son became fussy so she began to breastfeed him.

"The shirt covered me the best I could be covered. I was sitting there nursing him and I got approached by a member of staff who asked me to cover up with a blanket. I told her I don't have to. It's my right that I don't have too. My son will not eat with a blanket over his head," said Martin.

She claims the employee told her she could move her to a more private booth.

"I told her No. This is my right. I don't have to move it's my right. Then she said well I'm going to have to ask you to leave then. So I calmly got up, put my son in his car seat and left," said Martin.

Martin was so upset she took to Facebook. She also sent an email to Pizza Hut's corporate office and she got a response.

"He called me back and he did apologize on that stores behalf and on the behalf of that employee," said Martin.

Pizza Hut disputes they asked the young lady to leave. They sent 13abc this statement:

"Pizza Hut fully supports state law regarding a mother's right to breastfeed in our restaurants and has demonstrated that respectful standard to many mothers at this franchise location. While this customer was not asked to leave the restaurant, but rather offered another table with greater privacy, we deeply apologize that this situation in anyway upset her or if she felt mistreated. We will take this as an opportunity to further train our employees regarding these situations."

"It just drew a lot of attention to me and it made me feel like I was doing something wrong which I don't think I was," said Martin.

Martin understands while everyone is not comfortable seeing mothers breastfeed their children in public, she feels people should have compassion.

"Breastfeeding is a constant emotional uphill battle. You are your child's bottle. That's a lot to ask because babies do nurse a lot. I think people need to be a little bit more compassionate about that and if you don't like what you're seeing, you're more than welcome to look away," said Martin.

Martin said she would like the employee who shamed her for breastfeeding her son, to apologize to her. Again, the owner said he's committed to using this as a learning experience for his employees.

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