Shine On

Ottawa Starbucks barista makes breastfeeding mom’s day

A barista at an Ottawa Starbucks recently made a breastfeeding mother's day. The story of his act kindness is now going viral.

Julia Wykes had planned on getting a drink to go at the Trainyards location of the coffee chain, but when her five-month-old boy grew fussy, she sat down to nurse him.

Julia Wykes and her son. (Photo via Facebook)Julia Wykes and her son. (Photo via Facebook)Another customer approached the counter and, in a loud voice, asked the young male barista, "Could you get that woman to stop doing that in public? It is disgusting."

Also see: Why is breastfeeding in public still so taboo?

The barista walked over to Wykes, but instead of asking her to stop, he instead apologized for the grumpy customer's behaviour — in a voice loud enough for the complainant to hear.

"And here's a voucher for a free drink next time you're in here, I am so sorry that you had to deal with such unpleasantness today," he told Wykes.

" I had heard of women being harassed or told to cover up, but I honestly didn't think it would happen in such a liberal city as Ottawa," Wykes tells Yahoo Canada. "Also, as I have lived and worked in Central and South American and West Africa, I have been exposed to public breastfeeding as the norm, rather than the exception. It was a real shock to hear someone be so upset by breastfeeding."

"Also, I believe you would have had to have been staring at me to know that I was nursing and not just cradling my baby," she adds.

Wykes shared her story with a friend in her parenting group who runs the popular Facebook page, PhD in Parenting. The friend posted the story online.

Almost immediately, the story went viral. Thousands of "awesome" Facebook comments poured in, praising the barista for his respectful and generous actions.

Also see: Toronto mom's Instagram account shut down over breastfeeding photo

We often hear the not-so-great breastfeeding-in-public stories, like this one. (And this one. And this one.) So this story offers a refreshing change.

"I just hope that experiences like this can show women that nursing in public is normal. If you are hungry when you're running errands, you eat," Wykes tells SheKnows. "Why should we think that our babies are any different?"

However, it hasn't been all positive for Wykes.

"I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on the story that have been posted to various pages. It shows me that this woman is not alone in her views, and that some people (predominantly women, I might add) will still make these comments like this woman did to me," she tells Yahoo Canada.

"I don't think this will change anyone's point of view, because those who seem opposed to breastfeeding will be opposed to it no matter what I say or do. However, since the response has been overwhelmingly positive, I hope that these people are in the minority," she continues. "I hope that wherever someone makes a woman feel bad for breastfeeding her baby, there will be someone to stand up for her."

Moms, have you ever encountered opposition (or support) from a stranger when breastfeeding in public?

Watch the video below about a mom who had her Instagram account shut down over a photo of her breastfeeding.