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Burger King: Breast-Feeding Fine

Burger King adopted a corporate policy Friday allowing women to breast-feed their babies in restaurants, a day before a threatened "nurse-in" at the fast-food chain's facilities.

The new policy says Burger King welcomes mothers who wish to breast-feed their children.

"We want to be a family friendly place," said Rob Doughty, vice president for strategic communications for Miami-based Burger King. "We want to be responsive to our customers, and didn't know this was a big issue. Unfortunately in Utah, it went directly to the press, and we didn't have a chance to take a look at it."

He said 20 states, including Utah, allow breast-feeding in public.

A furor erupted Nov. 8, when a customer at a suburban Salt Lake City franchise complained about a woman breast-feeding her baby. An employee then allegedly asked the nursing mother, Catherine Geary, to either go to the bathroom to breast-feed or leave.

Under the new policy, employees are told: "If a customer complains about a mother who is breast-feeding, kindly explain that breast-feeding is permitted in the restaurant and suggest to that customer that he or she relocate to another section of the restaurant."

"That's all we asked them for," Geary said Friday. "At least employees will be aware of how to handle a situation more discreetly."

Plans for a nurse-in at Burger Kings on Saturday have been circulated in an unsigned e-mail sent to members of La Leche League, an international group that promotes breast-feeding.

Doughty said Burger King's new policy had been in the works and wasn't timed to defuse the threatened protest.

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