“Making milk public controversy”
By: Charles Winokoor, business writer
So there I was grocery shopping the other day when, just as I reached for a quart of skim milk, I noticed the strangest thing.Women – mothers, to be exact – began dropping to the floor and breast-feeding their babies. Hurrying out of the dairy section, I found myself surrounded by pet supplies, but again was confronted with a surrealistic sight: Unsupervised canines and tabbies relieving themselves willy nilly, and then sauntering off to leave the mess for the night crew to clean up. Get out now, I told myself, as the sweat trickled down my brow. And wouldn’t you know it, just as I scurried past the Health & Beauty aisle I spied a group of men, shirts off, nonchalantly spraying and rolling their underarms with the deodorizer of their choice. Decorum precludes me from detailing what I witnessed in the place where they sell the Charmin. Knocking over a shopping cart with a child’s seat, I ran into the parking lot and headed for my car to make a getaway. As I fumbled for my key, I realized it was too late; I was surrounded.
Waking up in bed, I took stock of my nightmare. What in the world had
inspired my subconscious to unleash such nocturnal torment?
Then it came to me. It was nothing more mysterious than this week’s story
about a Hingham mom who managed to cause a stir by breast-feeding her infant
in the middle of a store.
Last Friday, Brockton cardiologist Dr. Melissa Tracy, while shopping in the South Hingham iParty store, dropped to the floor and began breast-feeding her ostensibly starving 2-month-old child. “Rather than let him become hysterical, I sat down on the floor and breast-fed him,” Tracy told the Boston Herald. What happened next, she said, caused her to feel humiliated. The store manager, a regular Darth Vader it seems, had the gall to admonish her. “He stood over me and said ‘You can’t do that here,’ ” she was quoted. “I’ve never felt that badly before.” Feeling emotionally scarred, Tracy did the honorable and proper thing: She ratted out the iParty blue meanie to his corporate superiors – who issued a knee-jerk, please-don’t-hit-me mea culpa, faster than CBS Radio and MSNBC gave Don Imus the bum’s rush. What she’s failed to mention, either in print or on TV, is why she was so compelled to plop to the floor instead of walking to the ladies room. Would she have jeopardized her child’s welfare, his very life, if she had simply made the effort? Or was she more interested in making a point about who she is and what she thinks she represents? During a TV interview, her husband said in his native Germany breast-feeding in public is an accepted practice and one that is
“not vulgar.” Not vulgar for sure – but how about annoying? Not the act of breast-feeding, mind you, but the behavior of well-educated parents who want to impose their version of an enlightened society upon the rest of us, without regard to our
sensibilities. That sort of selfish, guerilla mentality is not just inconsiderate to those
of us backward Americans who are not used to seeing babies suckling while we’re shopping for party supplies or dog food, it’s also unfair to the companies whose employees are only trying to do the right thing. Now, if any business – be it retail chain, a local independent store or a car dealership – announces a policy explicitly allowing open breast-feeding then that’s their prerogative. But one also has to ponder how this type of
adult-baby behavior will eventually affect the child. No wonder there’s a legion of kids nowadays who have grown up thinking they’re extra-special, entitled and oh-so-superior; after all, it’s been imbedded into their id since they were fed mother’s milk. This whole silly episode reminds me, in a way, of the case of the “flying imams,” six religious Muslims who were removed from a flight last November after they insisted on standing up in the plane for evening prayers. They knew exactly what they were doing. They wanted publicity and they got it, in spades. That’s not to say the good doctor from Brockton intended, ahead of time, to use her breast-feeding as a publicity stunt to teach the rest of us a good lesson. From what I’ve read and heard, she comes across as a decent, sincere individual. What I do suggest to her and other mothers who act rashly, and then condemn anyone who complains, is to grow up before your child does. And next time you go shopping with your infant in your arms, try bringing along a baby bottle.
Charles Winokoor is the business writer for the Taunton Daily Gazette.
You are brave man to have included your e-mail address in your “business article.” That or you are just plain stupid, I am leaning towards the latter. I absolutely loathed your comparison of feeding an infant in a grocery store to animals urinating up and down the pet food aisles. I’m following you here with regard that both urine and breastmilk are in fact bodily fluids. But considering that one is used to nourish a child through its infancy (and beyond) and the other is waste matter excreted by the kidneys, I’m not really seeing the connection in your comparison. I am also not seeing the connection between mothers and infants in a grocery store and dogs and cats in a grocery store. Maybe you were unaware that women and infants are in fact permitted into grocery stores and permitted by law (in MANY states) to breastfeed in any public place that they are allowed to be. Maybe you are unaware that only service animals that DO NOT “relieve themselves willy nilly, and then saunter off to leave the mess for the night crew to clean up,” are permitted in these stores as well. But sure, compare the breastfeeding mother to an animal relieving itself in the middle of a store –
Once again, I am having trouble establishing the connection between grown, shirtless men engaging in personal hygiene routines in public and mothers feeding their children. This comparison is less offensive yes, but still as far fetched as you calling this a “business article.” And secondly, I am willing to bet my milk-makers that if this mother you are attacking was shirtless, you wouldn’t have complained one bit about what she was doing with her breasts (provided there wasn’t a feeding child on the other end). As ignorant as you obviously are, I still can’t let this slide -
Now your comment about what was going on in the aisle where Charmin toilet paper is sold was completely out of line. Somethings are just better left unsaid, as you obviously know because you only had the nerve to imply that defecating in the middle of a grocery store is equivalent to nursing a child. For this one, I’ll just be honest…YOU’RE AN ASS.
If seeing a mother feed her child in the way that was intended by nature causes so much of an upset in your life that you in fact have nightmares from it, then you should certainly reevaluate your mental health. There are highly qualified individuals who can help you with this. Or you could just come to Central, Fl, call me up and I can slap you in your face a few times -whatever works for you :)
“Last Friday, Brockton cardiologist Dr. Melissa Tracy, while shopping in the
South Hingham iParty store, dropped to the floor and began breast-feeding
her ostensibly starving 2-month-old child.” Okay Charles, do you even know what ostensibly means? Are you implying that a 2 month old child has ulterior motives to crying out in hunger? Oh that’s right, let me guess…maybe the child cried out in hunger but was really just trying “to impose their version of an enlightened society upon the rest of us, without regard to our sensibilities. ” Who knows?
“That sort of selfish, guerilla mentality is not just inconsiderate to those
of us backward Americans who are not used to seeing babies suckling while
we’re shopping for party supplies or dog food, it’s also unfair to the
companies whose employees are only trying to do the right thing.” Again Chuck – not sure that guerilla is anywhere near appropriate here:
|a member of an irregular armed force that fights a stronger force by sabotage and harassment|
While I am certain that this cardiologist had every intention of making you “backward Americans” (as you so accurately labeled yourselves) uncomfortable, I assure you that just because you aren’t used to seeing women feed their children in the manner which was intended, that does not make it any less natural or appropriate. Furthermore, if it makes you uncomfortable to see an infant eat, than again I highly suggest seeing someone who can help you overcome your sexualized perception of what is in fact not at all a sexual organ. Or maybe it isn’t that the breast has been sexualized in America that makes you quiver at the sight of an infant nursing. Maybe it’s your own insecurity in your ability to do something as powerful as grow, birth and provide nutrition for a child all with your own God given body alone. Am I sensing a little envy here? Or is it just back to you displaying ignorance in it’s purest form? Again, who knows? I am interested to know why it is that you feel sorry for company employees “trying to do the right thing” when these company employees are violating the rights of others? How is this the right thing?
“What she’s failed to mention, either in print or on TV, is why she was so
compelled to plop to the floor instead of walking to the ladies room. Would
she have jeopardized her child’s welfare, his very life, if she had simply
made the effort?” Would she have jeopardized her child’s welfare? Oh right, now you are concerned with the child’s welfare, Chuck. No one expects you to eat your lunch on a public restroom toilet, why should her child be expected to? Oh that’s right, because you think so. This woman is making an effort. She is making an effort to provide for her child in the best way possible. And she is doing it with a lack of support in this country from idiots like you. Everyday mothers feel embarrassed about breastfeeding and even quit breastfeeding because morons like you try to make it something more than what it is.
“What I do suggest to her and other mothers who act rashly, and then condemn anyone who complains, is to grow up before your child does.
And next time you go shopping with your infant in your arms, try bringing
along a baby bottle. ” WOW, I sincerely hope that no one asks you for suggestions on a regular basis. Breastfeeding a crying, hungry child is by no means “acting rashly.” Defecating on the grocery aisle floor, sure, but not breastfeeding. And as for ASSuming that all mothers who breastfeed are capable of expressing their milk so they can bottle feed their child for your convenience – once again shows how ignorant you are. And secondly, even if a mother is capable of doing so, it certainly shouldn’t be something she’s obligated to do to keep from offending someone like you. If you have a problem with seeing a child eat from its mothers breast, then I suggest you sir, be the one who takes a trip to the toilet. That is ironically, where all of your statements belong. YOU’RE OUT!