Photo of the day: No breastfeeding

Mike Dizon and I went out for lunch around New Work City one day. We walked past Pepe Rosso, a pasta take-out joint on Sullivan St. that Mike insists is the best around. So I poked my head in to take a look, and saw this sign hanging in the entrance:

in Pepe Rosso
of children over
12 years of age

I had to do a double-take. Certainly breastfeeding isn’t allowed in a small restaurant, but wait what?! Over 12 years of age?! That’s just gross. And hilarious.

Of course my first thought was that it would be a great photo for my blog, so I had Mike snap a pic with his phone. The sign is behind glass so we got the best shot we could.

Watch out for those breastfeeding teenagers!

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  1. PeteWilliams says

    I'd love to know the backstory on this one! Just how breastfed teenagers did they have to put up with before putting up the sign??

  2. K says

    While I see the humor in the picture, I mean breastfeeding over age 12 haha
    The statement “Certainly breastfeeding isn’t allowed in a small restaurant” clearly shows your opinion of breastfeeding mothers. I just thought you should be aware that in New York there are laws allowing women to breastfeed in ANY public or private location. (ref.

    • says

      I was not suggesting that breastfeeding shouldn't be allowed there, but instead was just making a comment on a humorous sign. Yes, it is a hole-in-the-wall joint with only three or so tables, but I agree that mothers should be allowed to breastfeed wherever they please. Babies gotta eat! I didn't intend any offense, my apologies.

      • says

        The restaurant seats about twelve people, as long as their cozy with each other. One bench on one side, a few 2-person tables, and chairs opposite of the bench. The restaurant isn't small. It's tiny!

        Breastfeeding in that restaurant, while being perfectly legal, would be extremely rude. Two reasons: 1.) Proximity to others. A small adjustment could result in a jab to someone's ribs. Do you REALLY need to breastfeed within 2 feet of a stranger while he or she is eating? 2.) Seating availability. You can breastfeed anywhere (legally, too!) which means you don't have to take up one of the 12 seats that people are likely standing outside on the sidewalk waiting for.

        But, as “K” clearly knows, rudeness is not illegal. Not in tiny restaurants and not on the internet.

        • K says

          Well “Brian”, unlike you, in my response I was not being rude. I was just pointing out that a woman in New York is allowed to breastfeed anywhere in response to the statement “Certainly breastfeeding isn’t allowed in a small restaurant”. Clearly you are a typical male who thinks breasts are purely for your sexual entertainment. Otherwise you wouldn't find a mother breastfeeding anywhere rude. Perhaps you would rather listen to a screaming baby for the duration of your meal, would that be more polite? I think not. I am sure no one really wants to watch you stuff your face either, so could you please do that at home from now on.

          • says

            So what? Women are allowed to go topless too,… but you don't see them doing it.

            It's clear that the sign was dumb and anyone breastfeeding a 12-year-0ld kid in NYC is a Mid-Western schoolteacher, so there's no point in jumping on this blog and pushing agendas because you googled breastfeeding today and this is what came up. :D

          • K says

            I was not pushing agenda. The author made a statement that “Certainly breastfeeding isn’t allowed in a small restaurant”, I just pointed out to her that it certainly is allowed. That is not pushing agenda. If you see it as such, you are looking too hard.

          • says

            Hey Bill, I take offense to that! My mother, who lives in the Mid-West, was a schoolteacher! ;-)

            And what are you trying to say about people “jumping” on this blog? You know, it's perfectly legal for people to jump anywhere they want in public or in private!

  3. bob dabolina says

    I concur breastfeeding (within reasonable age parameters) is we humans keep our babies alive and the idea that it is not acceptable in a small restaurant or anywhere else for that matter is backward thinking.

  4. says

    I love Pepe Rosso! I agree that it's the best around — around the U.S.! I used to work a couple blocks away (on Spring St). They have a few other cool/funny signs. Stuff like “Are you expecting your mother? No? Then clean up after yourself.” Or something to that effect.

  5. A. says

    I for one would be repulsed by someone breastfeeding in a small restaurant. That doesn't make me “backward,” it just means that I don't share the same values as you do. Why do your values take precedence over mine? Because they're “natural”? So is eating with our hands, but that's considered impolite in the U.S. Or more extremely, why am I not allowed to urinate in a restaurant if I need to? That's part of being human, too.

    Civil society is a compromise amongst all of our values. Nobody is forcing you to take your child into the restaurant, let alone feed her there. And even so, there is an adequate solution that meets your needs and mine: breastpumps.

    • says

      As a father of a four-year-old daughter (who was breastfed, sometimes in public but always discretely, until her third birthday),

      – I would be disgusted if someone were repulsed by breastfeeding in public.
      – I would have been disgusted then had my wife had been forced to leave the room because my daughter was hungry;
      – I would be disgusted today if any hungry infant and her mother were required to leave the room;
      – I would be disgusted if someone confused the feeding of an infant with behaviour that appeals to prurient interest.

      So what are we going to do here? Why should your values take precedence over mine? No one else is forcing you to look at the breasts or the nursing mother or the infant. If someone is breastfeeding, why shouldn't you leave the room if it makes you uncomfortable? Why should you eat when someone's kid can't?

      I wonder what “A.” stands for.

      —Michael B.

    • Annie says

      Nobody is forcing me to take my child into the restaurant and nobody is forcing you to go to the restaurant. The reason my “values” take precedence over yours is that my values are protected by law. The reason my values are protected by law is because there are still people that cannot get over the fact that a baby's need to eat takes precedence over their hang-ups about breasts.

      More on this topic here:

      • A. says

        Michael and Annie, you both chose to ignore my question: why not simply use a breastpump and feed from a bottle? What is possibly wrong with that? Your child gets to eat naturally, and nobody can possibly be offended.

        My feelings aren't about prurience, or sexualization, or hang-ups, it's about simple consideration. Being discreet is a great solution — when it's done. Annie, I applaud you for doing it. But I've met people have no qualms about revealing the process in all its glory.

        As for what “A” stands for, it's “anonymous,” because I've learned the hard way that one can't disagree with breastfeeding adherents without being flamed. I suspect frankly the reason it's even the law to breastfeed anywhere is because of self-righteous advocates attempting to stigmatize anyone with an opposing view. Regardless of the law, there will always be people who are kind of grossed out by what you consider “normal.” Live with it.

        • says

          Why not use a breastpump and feed from a bottle?

          – Means I have to find somewhere to pump at least every 3 hours or risk getting an infection (the breasts need to be emptied)
          – Means I'm stuck preparing and washing bottles (one of the reasons I breastfeed is so that I don't have to do that)
          – Means I have to carry around bottles, cooler packs, breastpump, etc. everywhere with me (right now I just shove a diaper and some wipes in my purse and go)
          – Some babies won't take a bottle at all

          Why do you go to restaurants when you can make a perfectly good meal at home?

        • says

          Whenever my wife used the breast pump in a restaurant, people were kinda perturbed.

          Please note that I’m not flaming you. To me, there are interesting social issues at work here, and although I have my conclusions and my biases, I’m curious–and honestly trying not to be judgmental–about yours.

          You ignored all of my questions too, so here’s a more direct one. What, specifically, is gross about breastfeeding that isn’t gross about (say) pregnant women, fat people, skinny people, black people, white people, gay people, straight people, people in burkas, people NOT in burkas, coughing, sneezing, yawning, scratching, hiccupping, limping, stretching, spitting up (which, for babies happens even after bottle feedings), crying (grownups too, of course), or laughing?

          I guessing–just guessing–it involves breasts at some point. But to be fair to you, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it involves indiscretion on some level. Fair enough. I was sick of wearing cigarette smoke home from bars, we don’t usually tolerate people screaming in a restaurant, and there are sanitation issues involved with, say, urinating on the restaurant floor. But, absent a diner older than 12, what specifically is gross about eating from a breast vs. eating from a fork or eating from a bottle?

          —Michael B.

    • Oliver says

      In pre-industrial societies – evolutionary past – the greatest single threat to any child is their mother having another child within the first 4 years of their life. Why? Because the PI (Parental Investment – Trivers, et al.) required goes away and again, why? Because breastfeeding up to around 4 is the most natural condition. Not ALL the time, not EXCLUSIVELY – but natural.

      So let's see, on the 'argument' A. puts forward – perhaps he can help us understand what the driving factor in being grossed out would be, or why he chooses to equate eating and urinating. Perhaps, if he cannot eat without wanting to defecate, that is his issue?

  6. Apaulie says

    Hmm I would like to ask why Bill Cammack stated “anyone breastfeeding a 12-year-0ld kid in NYC is a Mid-Western schoolteacher.” That seems like an odd comment as well…Bill, care to comment on that comment?

  7. Joe Sokohl says

    Remember, author Thomas Wolfe mother breastfed him till he was six…and he slept in her bed till he was 13.

    Just a bit of literary breastfeeding trivia.

  8. lwcavallucci says

    Wow. Total boobies-milk wars going on here. As a former breastfeeding mom (although they are still under age 12), I need to comment. I feel that some of these comments are made without any experience with breastfeeding. I breastfed my babies everywhere and was very discreet. No one knew I was breastfeeding while eating my meal. The alternative would have been so much worse for anyone within crying proximity. These are things that are personal and a decision to be made by the breastfeeding mom & partner/husband.

    Thanks for the interesting post Whitney.

  9. says

    I am no expert. I seemed to have forgotten any of my breastfeeding experiences. At least in my conscious memory, which I think is the way it's supposed to be. IMHO as a general guideline I’d say that any breastfeeding should be limited to babies under 2 years old and grownups over the age of 21.


    And appropriately, it is Mother's Day as I write this so to all you breastfeeding mothers in Pepe Rosso: Happy Mother's Day.

  10. carmen says

    All the ground has been well-covered here, but I just want to note that the whole point of pumping is so that your child can be fed when YOU ARE NOT THERE. Breast milk is perishable and must be kept refrigerated. Why would someone pump milk at home and then schlep a refrigerated container around to keep it fresh? That's just nuts.

  11. g33kgurrl says

    I would love to know the back story on that sign. It is definitely humorous – that is IF you have a sense of humor.

    Some folks seem to lack humor or just want to start a fight. It's neither rude nor tacky to discreetly breast feed your child in public. I am offended by nose-pickers and loud talkers and otherwise inconsiderate souls. A sleepy breastfeeding baby – not so much.

  12. Oliver says

    The point being that US culture only accepts women as sexualised objects, and that this sign is making light of what is an absurd standard created by a blend of Catholicism and ole-timey Puritan attitudes?

    O-k-a-y …

  13. ravm says

    Wow, what started out as a funny picture turned into a real statement about people's values. This kind of conversation is valuable. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on the topic.


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