Mom Gets Kicked Out of Trade Show for Breast-Feeding
byKaitlin StanfordMay 20, 2014
When Kristin Osborne made the big trip from Minnesota to Chicago this weekend with her husband Justin, she had high hopes of promoting their family-owned winery, Four Daughters Wine, together. But less than an hour after she entered the National Restaurant Association trade show floor, a very different scene went down.
It seems Kristin had made one big mistake: She brought her newborn baby with her, when the rules clearly stated that children under 16 were not permitted in the showroom. Problem is, Kristin's baby is less than two weeks old and needs to be breastfed every hour.
While the mom of three says she was aware of the rule previously, and knowingly left her 2- and 4-year-old kids home with a sitter, she didn't think the same rule would apply to a newborn infant, who was sleeping soundly against her chest as she held him in a baby carrier.
"As a working mother — and I have been working since I had my first one — this is a big surprise to me," Osborne later told the Chicago Tribune. "I have brought my babies all sorts of places. You don't bring children to adult places, but he eats every hour currently."
It was then, while sitting down to breast-feed her little guy (and less than an hour after arriving) that Kristin was approached and asked to leave. After a back-and-forth with security guards, they finally offered an alternative solution: She could stay, so long as her husband took the baby off-site for the day.
"I said, 'Clearly he's a breast-feeding baby. I can't separate from him,'" Osborne told the Tribune. "I understand not having kids run around or not having strollers — that I understand. A tiny breast-feeding infant, I hope would be an exception to this rule."
But according to the trade show's coordinator, Sue Hensley, apparently not.
"There are knives. There are ovens. There are cooking demonstrations with open flames," Hensley said. "There's all sorts of equipment that could be very dangerous to a child to have any interaction with and certainly not an infant."
As the Tribune points out in their write-up of the incident, there is a law in Illinois that states anywhere a woman is allowed to be, she is legally allowed to breast-feed.
But as attorney Jake Marcus clarified, that loophole doesn't exactly apply when a child is banned from a place for safety reasons. "A child can be banned from an unsafe place," Marcus said. "The 'If my child is banned, I am banned' argument doesn't work. The adult's right to be in a space and the child's right to be in a space are not legally connected."
As for the Osbornes, they are both pretty bummed about how the whole thing went down.
"I'm disappointed mostly," Osborne said. "It was a really big deal they invited us to pour at the show. It was a really big deal for our little winery."