Nursing Mom gets Praise for Breastfeeding in Public

A major win for breastfeeding moms!

While breastfeeding in public can bring many moms shame and embarrassment, one Iowa woman was shocked – with delight – after the attention she received for nursing her baby at a restaurant.

Jackie Johnson-Smith, 33, a stay-at-home mother from Ankeny, Iowa was celebrating her 33rd birthday at a local pizzeria with her husband and their three kids, ages 4, 3, and 12 months.

“I usually don’t go downtown for dinner because lots of places aren’t family-friendly but I had heard good things about Fong’s,” Johnson-Smith told Yahoo. “It was chaotic—I had one kid licking the honey container on the table, another standing on his chair, and my baby was fussing.”

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When her baby began to fuss, Johnson-Smith threw on a nursing cover and breastfed her 12-month-old.

“I usually don’t like to breastfeed in public because people can be judgmental,” said the mom-of-three. “The waitress kept walking by, and I was worried she didn’t want me nursing in the restaurant.” Worried that her baby would continue crying, Johnson-Smith left the restaurant and finished nursing in the car.

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Shortly thereafter, her husband walked out with a big smile on his face — and a huge surprise.

“He handed me the dinner receipt and at first I was confused—why is he showing me how much my birthday dinner cost?” she said.

But she was delighted to see a handwritten note on the bill,

‘I bought one of your pizzas. Please thank your wife for breastfeeding!’

“I was in total shock and started tearing up,” said the mom-of-three. “After dealing with people’s reactions for so long, it was like the universe was giving me a pat on the back. I was too stunned to go back inside and thank the waitress.”

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When she got home, Johnson-Smith posted a photo of the receipt to her Facebook page with an uplifting message:

“I have breastfed three children… I have breastfed them in a countless number of places both pleasant and unpleasant, discreetly and out in the open. I have gotten many looks and stares, but tonight erases any negativity I have ever received. I ate at Fongs for the first time tonight. Having a fussy baby I nursed him for awhile in the booth and eventually left the table early as to not disrupt the restaurant. The waitress gave this receipt to my husband. I was speechless and emotional. Although I don’t need a pat on the back for feeding my child, it sure felt amazing. It is amazing how we women can make each other feel when we empower each other.”

As of Thursday morning, the photo went viral with over 2,000 shares and more than 100 likes on Facebook.

Waitress Bodi Kinney, 33, said she was “thrilled” to see Johnson-Smith breastfeeding at the table she was serving.

“I noticed Johnson-Smith nursing and was so thrilled she did it,” she said. “I tried not to stare because I didn’t want to seem creepy or make her feel uncomfortable, but I felt like doing jumping jacks.”

She added: “Although I nurse my baby no matter where I am—at the supermarket, in clothing stores—people often react negatively. Recently, I had to leave my daughter’s school play to nurse my 8-month-old for fear of offending someone. I wanted to let this woman know in some shape or form, that she was doing the right thing.”

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