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Parents: Babies at the Movies? Toddlers at the Bar?

Think twice before taking your children to places that are not socially appropriate.

I often wonder if some parents have lost all common sense when it comes to young children and socially appropriate situations.

Recently, we were at the movie theater. We arrived during the previews, so I missed the opportunity to scan the theater because it was already dark. So, I was surprised when an infant started screaming about 20 minutes into the film—and was still crying when the manager asked them to leave until the baby quieted.

It was so distracting.

I felt bad for the baby who was stuck sitting in a dark, loud room. And I couldn’t help but think—what parent brings a baby to a movie theater? I understand that your older child wanted to see the movie, but honestly, babies don’t belong there.

This isn’t the only situation that warranted better judgment. Parents are notorious for taking overtired children to much-too-fancy restaurants. I’ve seen toddlers with their parents out at a bar, even seen children attending business meetings. Kids don’t want to be at these places—it’s not fun for them and it’s inappropriate.

And lately, the news has brought national attention to some controversial parenting mishaps. First, there was a Utah mother who took her two toddlers to a restaurant and had them sit on potty seats, instead of booster seats. I can’t even contain my disgust that someone would think this is socially acceptable. Then an American University professor made news because she chose to breastfeed her sick baby while teaching her class. As beautiful as breastfeeding can, a room full of college kids doesn’t seem to be a proper place to care for a sick infant.

I’m not usually one to criticize people for the way they parent children. I won’t talk about you if you discretely (note discretely) breastfeed, or when you sit your screaming toddler on time out, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"parents-who-is-the-disciplinarian-in-your-family"} --> in the grocery store. Nor will I make a snide comment when your kid refuses to eat anything at a family-friendly restaurant, or talks through the entire church service. I’ve been there, done that. Some days I’m a great parent, other days,

Tim September 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Yep Marie, I do. Did it occur to you that perhaps, if your child is feeding every two hours, that maybe you shouldn't take him out to dinner? Or perhaps maybe you bring a back up bottle just in case? I mean...we did. Just sayin'. Your chest isn't going to explode if you're 30-60 minutes late on a breastfeeding.
Tim September 18, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Marie, I'm sorry, but this strikes me as a classic example of someone who's self absorbed and entitled to do what she wants, when she wants, regardless of who might be bothered. You think only of yourself, the baby is not even a factor here as there are alway EASY to implement alternatives in a restaurant scenario. Now sure, we could come up with some scenarios when actual feeding in public is the ONLY practical solution. I'm not suggesting at all that these scenarios don't exist. Example: on a long flight as Steve mentioned below. Nothing wrong with that at all. Where else is it going to happen? There are no practical options if you are 2 hours in on a 4 hour direct flight.
Marie B September 18, 2012 at 03:56 PM
"Consideration for others trying to enjoy a meal." 1- If you're enjoying that meal so much, then you are not worried about what anyone at any other table is doing and 2- Much respect your showing to that baby by saying they shouldn't be eating. What a hypocrite you are. What do you think mothers did before formula? My God you people are so ignorant. A WOMAN'S BREASTS ARE MEANT TO FEED HER CHILDREN. Period. I don't feel the need to continue having to defend my right to feed my child wherever, whenever. Just like a mother who feeds her child a bottle.
Tim September 18, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Now see, you have the consideration to manage your babies when they are out. You, my friend, are in the slight majority of people who do. Although I'd question any parent's judgment in taking their kids (now babies, toddlers) to scary movies they have no business seeing. If you can't get a sitter, don't go.
Tim September 18, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Marie: If the baby's hungry, and you don't have the foresight to pack a bottle (which is your fault), you go somewhere in privacy to feed your child. Again, you are passing the buck on personal responsibility. There's no sugar coating this. Rant all you want about your myopic right to breast feed whereever you want. Most people don't agree, and folks like me, far from being hypocrites, actually do plan ahead for these things.
David R. September 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I'm not saying I would definitely take them until they were old enough to understand what they were even watching. More then likely, I would wait. Just saying if I were to take them for any given reason I wouldn't be one of those parents who just sit there and let them cry. I get agitated enough by certain people talking nonstop in the theatre and kicking my seat! Let alone trying to add to any annoyance in there. As for scary movies, no worries there. I barely go to those enough as it is. Needless to say, I like to sleep good at night. haha
Tim September 18, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Definitely agree that, in the movie setting, out of control babies/toddlers are a small minority of issues once faces. It's why we seldom go anymore. Paying for aggravation is not very high on my list of things to do.
Gomer Pyle September 18, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I have to agree with Tim on this one. PHParent, if its just a breast as you say, then why are women not allowed to go topless at the beach? After all, they are just food sources :P
Taylor M. September 18, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Tim (among others here)- you absolutely disgust me. Babies need to eat every few hours and it is not realistic to think that a mother should have to be at home every few hours to feed them. First of all, you are suggesting that Marie B. takes her baby to bars and restaurants for hours at a time which is obviously not the case. There are plenty of legitimate reasons a mother would need to nurse outside the home that do not involve her being "selfish." Perhaps she goes grocery shopping? Maybe she has other children who are involved in activities outside the home? Why should she not be "allowed" to nurse her child because an ignorant a**hole like you is going to judge her. And your bottle suggestion is bogus. Why pump and store milk, pack & tote around a cooler to keep it fresh, take the risk of having it spoil, and then heat it up when baby is ready to eat...when you can simply do what Is NATURAL by feeding directly from the breast. I'm amazed by the stupidity and ignorance of a lot of you patch readers. There are REAL problems in the world, some of which recently hit close to home with the PHHS shooting...and you are worried about a mother feeding her child from her breast in public?! I feel bad for your children if this is the type of thing you are teaching them. I don't even have any children, but its people like you who will make me want to let my UDDERS hang proudly to feed my child the way they were intended.
Taylor M. September 18, 2012 at 05:18 PM
And regarding your comment that the mother will not explode if she goes 30-60 minutes over...have you ever heard of engorgement? or mastitis? TWO very real reasons that mothers DO need to nurse regularly. Although I don't expect you to understand considering you have never nursed a child and therefore have no business judging anyone who does. I cannot imagine you being the husband of a college professor. I'm shocked that an educated woman would put up with an imbecile like you.
Stacey Schantz September 18, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I am a mom with two kids, I do my best not to bother anyone's good time in a restaurnant with screaming kids, when they're unruly they leave until they calm down. Going to a movie theatre with a baby is rude and obnoxious, same with going to a 4 star restaruant like the prime rib. If you have kids, you can't always romp around pretending you don't. You either need to get a sitter or find some place more family friends. It's not like your only option is chucke cheese. As for the breast feeding comments, breast feeding an infant, and a 10 month old are two entirely different issues. In my opninion, after your child is able to eat table foods, they should be eating at the table. A 10 month old can eat cheerios, can drink from a sippy, even sample some things off your plate. Not saying you can't nurse, just saying you have options that someone with an infant doesn't have. I'm not a prude, and I don't mind if you breast feed. My kids understand what you're doing, I've explained it to them. But as your baby turns into a toddler, breast feeding in public isn't as necessary, in my opinion. The college professor in my opnion was completely wrong. If she needed to care for her child and had no child care, cancel the class. Taking the baby to nurse durning the lecture is wrong. No professor would allow a student to bring a baby to class and nurse in the middle of it. The reverse should be professionally courteous as well.
Marie B September 18, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but a 10 month old is still very much an infant, not a toddler and breastmilk or formula is still a major source of nutrition... and that's fact.
Steve September 18, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Babies in bars are big No-No's. I saw a guy in a bar the other day give his 5 year daughter old a handful of quarters so she could play the video poker machine while he drank with his buddies. I think it's wrong to be breastfeeding your 6 year old in public. But that's just me. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2202103/Times-attachment-parenting-mom-breastfeeds-son-ANOTHER-magazine-cover.html
M. Sullivan September 18, 2012 at 07:56 PM
The biggest problem with taking babies to bars and movies is that it can severely damage their hearing. Babies hearing structures are still developing and are extremely sensitive. These idiots that bring babies into such loud (not to mention dirty) environments are doing permanent damage to their kids hearing. Also, to keep a screaming baby in a restaurant where people have paid good money for a peaceful experience is just pure self-absorbed ignorance.
Tim September 18, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Taylor, yes I have heard of it. Engorgement is a non-factor, again, if you feed your child before you go out to dinner. Common sense stuff, again. Secondly, if you're filling up within an hour, here's a smarter idea - don't go out to eat in public. No one wants to see it. I was home with my wife, actively participating in managing our outings when our baby was an infant each and every day. I'm more familiar with this stuff then you realize. I actually can't imagine someone as brilliant as you couldn't wrap your head around the concept that there are actually some husbands out there who take a VERY active role in raising their babies. So much so, I actually took FMLA leave myself - AFTER my wife did her time, in order to best raise our son as an infant. I fought my employer over it, and fortunately I had friends in high places that made certain my job was waiting for me when I came back. The reality of the matter is, Taylor, you have no idea how much I actually know. I do apologize for you if your husband just wasn't up to my standards in helping raise your infants though.
Lynda K September 18, 2012 at 09:29 PM
unfortunately i have to chime in on this for personal reason...why would anybody take their child to a bar first of all? what kind of parenting is that? And anyone who has children and actually take care of them know that children do unexpected things..you can prepare all you want but at times it will still never be enough!! And just because a woman has a baby doesnt mean she shouldnt be able to leave her house when she has things to do....and like others above have said you have women and teenage girls showing more of their breast these days than a woman who has to breastfeed in public. I guess next time we should just let our child starve and than have he/she taken away for child neglect, right?!
VS September 18, 2012 at 10:27 PM
We saw a baby at the Ravens game last week. An infant! They were sitting in the section with band. The noise was so loud for this poor child. The mother kept leaving with the child but we felt so bad for the little baby! Where is the common sense????
Tracey September 18, 2012 at 11:18 PM
just for the record... when Tim mentioned I have taken my son to school with me, he has never "sat in" on one of my classes. He's just not ready. He would be disruptive and that is not fair to my students. When I've taken him to school, one of my colleagues (or as responsible student) generously volunteered to keep him company in my office while I taught my class. I don't think I've ever seen a professor bring an infant to class. It would be one thing if the baby were asleep in a carrier the whole time, but what the bfing prof did was totally over the top.
VERY Concerned September 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM
wow....wow.....volumes are spoken about those parents...VOLUMES
Kelly September 19, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Marie and PH Parent, Sorry I have to agree with Tim on this one, and I am a MOM who did breastfeed her kids. If I went out, I always tried to feed before leaving, I would excuse myself and go feed in private when out, many, many times I took myself and baby to the car for privacy. Yes, it is a mom's right to be able to feed her baby when needed out in public. But, have some self-respect to get your self up and be a little more private about it. I don't understand why some women are so up in arms about the NEED to do it everywhere. I never had any problem finding a fitting room, private space, or nothing better than my own car. I do agree that if you feel you should be able to just do it anywhere, then you are feeling like the world revolves around you and your rights.
Kelly September 19, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Marie, a 10 month old is not an infant. Yes, breastmilk is a big portion of their diet, but they can also drink water and eat food at a table and be just as happy. It sounds like you are arguing just to have the right to do it whenever/wherever. That starts sounding a little odd at that point....ie. not about "food" for baby, but more about you.
Marie B September 19, 2012 at 01:36 PM
A 10 month old is not an infant? What is a 10 month old then? Define infant for me, please! You are seriously misinformed. Yes, my son does eat food, does drink water, but he still nurses regularly. It has nothing to do with me. You people are crazy... there are WAY more important issues in society today. You all are so concerned with my right to nourish my son. Sounds to me like the odd thing is morons like you people just wanting to hate on SOMETHING, anything. My God, find something more important to attack!
Kelly September 19, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Ok, Marie, sorry an infant is up to 12 months defined by AAP. BUT, there is a huge difference in the nursing needs of a newborn versus a 10 month old. I know that, because I did bf all 3 of my kids up to 1 year. I NEVER had a problem finding a private place (even my car). Yes, we all know you have the right to nourish your son, but it sounds like you are the one so upset if others suggest you find a private place. I didn't need others to suggest that to me, I was respectful of myself enough to get up and move elsewhere. I didn't think everything revolved around my right to do it whenever/wherever.....ie. that didn't matter to me, I had self respect. You are the one who needs something else more important to attack. I don't hate you or your right to bf wherever. I'm just saying, it's not all about you and your rights....yes, find something else more important to worry about.
Marie B September 19, 2012 at 02:20 PM
And that is YOUR personal preference. I choose not to drop whatever I am doing while I am out to go to my car or find a dressing room just because others might be uncomfortable if they take the time to be nosy and realize what I am doing. If I am in my car and my baby needs to eat, sure I will feed him there. If I am trying on clothes and my baby is hungry, sure I will feed him there. If I am walking the mall with 10 month old and 6 year old in tow and there is a bench nearby, I am certainly not walking to my car just so I can feed him. It has nothing to do with me, my rights or self-respect. It's the way that babies are supposed to eat and I still am not sure why it's such a big deal for mom's to feed their kids. I'm not flashing the mall or the restaurant when I nurse, in fact I guarantee if you saw me out, you would'nt even notice. When my son was a newborn, even a couple months old... I did actually find a private place to nurse as it was much harder at that time to get comfortable. You know right? You've done it. My son being 10 months, he's latched and we're comfortable in a matter of seconds. If you are such an experience breastfeeding mother, I would think you would understand that each nursing relationship is not the same. My son does in fact, often eat as much as a newborn. Ever heard of a growth spurt? Why do you expect me to hide? Or go out of my way to feed my baby?
Ashley September 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I went and saw the new Resident Evil movie over the weekend. We went to a showing after ten and there was a woman with a child around the age of four there. Every five minutes: "Mommy! What's that?! Who's she?! What are they doing?! Why did she do that?!" Not to mention I don't believe that movie is at all appropriate for a child of that age to be viewing. I completely understand that people cannot always find sitters and what not, but when you have children and are planning on taking them out in public you need to think about being courteous to others. The public domain is not your house. It is a space that we all share and we should be respectful of one another. If that means you don't go to the movie because you can't find a sitter or you have to go outside to breastfeed. (Which I believe should be done with a blanket, sorry, but as much as I don't care if you're breastfeeding I just don't believe it's something that the world needs to witness. Regardless if it is a necessity, it is still an intimate act of bonding between mother and child. It doesn't need to be witnessed by everyone in the direct vicinity.)
Kelly September 19, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Some people will take their kids to an inappropriate movie (or even watch at home) with their small child, ONLY because they want to see it and can't afford/find a babysitter. That's pure selfishness. Part of a bigger problem in society is small kids being exposed to way too much than they should.
Tim September 19, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Yep, sorry I mis-remembered that detail (thanks for that, Roger Clemens!). Honestly it's been over a year since E has even been on campus at all (save for Monday when we just stopped by for lunch). He's real popular with Tracey's department and students though. They keep wanting him to visit more, but he doesn't get terribly sick as much these days.
Tim September 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM
That's awful. People's selfishness overrides common sense. We see it every day, sadly.
Andrea F September 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM
"Personal responsibility" would dictate that all parents should do the responsible thing and breastfeed... it's scientifically proven to be the BEST thing to give our children, yet society dictates that we have to be as inconvenienced as possible? That's BS. "Personal (and social) Responsibility" would dictate that anyone who is NOT a breastfeeding mom provide as much support possible to those who are as a way of doing their part to improve the health and longevity of the species. I'll breastfeed in front of ANYONE, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME I want to because it's the RIGHT thing to do. If you're uncomfortable with that, please, get your food in a to-go box, or go eat it in the bathroom, or in your car. I certainly won't be paying attention to YOU because I know how to mind my own business.
Susan Kim September 19, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I'd rather see a boob than hear a screaming baby. I don't like it when moms bring their small children into nail salons and let them run rampant while they get pampered. I've seen kids break and spill stuff while mom ignores the situation. 1) The nail techs aren't babysitters and 2) Those harsh chemicals aren't good for US, let alone the little ones.

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