(CNN) — A young mother nursing her baby at a Chick-fil-A was taken aback after a store manager asked her to cover up.
Samantha McIntosh was breastfeeding her 7-month-old daughter at a Chick-fil-A in Evans, Georgia, on Monday when she was approached by a store manager, McIntosh said.
“I feel as though I have a right to feed my baby however I want, just as any other mother has that right,” McIntosh wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“So imagine my shock and surprise when I am sitting at Chick-fil-a yesterday with my 9 year old niece and my daughter (breastfeeding) and the manager walks up out of nowhere and tries to hand me her jacket saying someone has complained and would prefer if I cover up because of the other children in the restaurant,” she wrote.
The 24-year-old mother’s Facebook post ignited a heated conversation around breastfeeding in public. More than 2,000 people commented on the post, many of them mothers coming to McIntosh’s defense, while others insisted that feeding a baby in public was not something they wanted to see.
The operator of the local franchise has since apologized to McIntosh. The store is about 10 miles from Augusta.
“I am truly sorry for the experience Ms. McIntosh had in our restaurant,” said Jason Adams, owner-operator of Chick-fil-A Mullins Crossing. “I have reached out to her to personally apologize. My goal is to provide a warm and welcoming environment for all of our guests.”
McIntosh said she was wearing a nursing tank top under a long-sleeved shirt and that none of her skin was showing as she nursed her child. She also noted that she was sitting in a booth in the back of the restaurant, according to her Facebook post.
She describes herself as a “modest person” who has never been a confident breastfeeder, she wrote on Facebook.
McIntosh decided to stop feeding her daughter after she was approached, saying she was “embarrassed” by the attention. But when she thought about it, she became upset.
“Now with half the restaurant watching this scene unfold, including my young niece, I have a decision to make. So I quickly unlatch and tell the manager I will finish feeding her later … but as I sit there in this family friendly restaurant I start to simmer,” McIntosh wrote.
McIntosh didn’t break the law by feeding her baby in public.
Mothers in Georgia can breastfeed in public or in private, according to state law. In fact, breastfeeding in public is allowed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as per state laws.
Knowing that, a group of mothers rallied to support McIntosh by hosting a “nurse-in” at the same restaurant the next night, according to CNN Augusta affiliate WJBF.
The mothers sat in booths and at tables nursing their babies in solidarity. McIntosh was there.
“They pride themselves on their Christian beliefs and their family values. Clearly, some people disagree with publicly breastfeeding,” Ashley Raskin, one of the mothers at the sit-in, told WJBF on Tuesday.
“With the way society is today it’s ridiculous because you see people with summer clothes, which is fine, but I can’t sit here and discreetly breastfeed without making someone uncomfortable,” she said.
McIntosh told CNN on Thursday that she has heard from the owner of the Chick-fil-A restaurant.
“I have been in contact with the owner of this Chick-fil-A and he seemed genuinely apologetic and very open to training his staff on ways to better handle incidents like this one in the future,” McIntosh told CNN via Facebook. “My only goal was to encourage education!”
McIntosh hopes that what happened to her won’t happen to other moms.
“Overall, I am happy with the way Chick-fil-A has responded to this incident and can only hope other moms will continue to feed their children in whatever way makes them most comfortable,” she said.