Our thoughts Breast-feed­ing

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Dou­glasville res­i­dent Dawn Hol­land stopped at our Cov­ing­ton Ap­ple­bee’s last week with her son to grab a bite to eat.

While there, her 20-month-old son ap­par­ently be­came hun­gry and Hol­land chose to breast-feed him.

As she be­gan, ac­cord­ing to Hol­land, the res­tau­rant’s man­ager told her to ei­ther stop or breast-feed her child in the bath­room. Ac­cord­ing to the man­ager’s take, Hol­land was also given the op­tion of cov­er­ing her child while he fed.

Af­ter she re­fused the man­ager’s re­quest, Hol­land was told to leave the res­tau­rant and lo­cal Cov­ing­ton po­lice were called to the scene.

There is no ques­tion that Hol­land had a right to feed her child. The Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics, and sev­eral other health groups, say that breast-feed sys­tems and over­all health, and is healthy for the mother and more cost ef­fec­tive. Some stud­ies even show a cor­re­la­tion be­tween breast-feed­ing and a higher IQ.

The academy rec­om­mends breast-feed­ing a child ex­clu­sively for six months and then com­bin­ing breast­feed­ing and other foods for an­other six months or more. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion gives the same gen­eral ad­vice, but says breast­feed­ing can be con­tin­ued for up to 2 years of age or more in com­bi­na­tion with other foods.

We be­lieve many Amer­i­can have a stigma against breast-feed­ing chil­dren older than a year, which is prob­a­bly un­war­ranted. How­ever, while breast-feed­ing in pub­lic is some­times nec­es­sary, we be­lieve it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the mother to do so ap­pro­pri­ately.

The lo­cal Ap­ple­bee’s man­ager may have over­re­acted in deal­ing with Hol­land, de­pend­ing on whose ver­sion you be­lieve; how­ever, the man­ager also had the right to ask Hol­land to be more dis­creet in nurs­ing her child.

In the days fol­low­ing the dis­agree­ment, the At­lanta TV sta­tions were called and, as is usual with an in­ci­dent that strikes a so­cial nerve, jumped on the story and blasted it out across the air­waves. Once again, Cov­ing­ton was placed in the na­tional spot­light in an un­fa­vor­able light over a largely non-story.

Hav­ing taken on a life of its own, the story was also re­ported by our news staff.

For the most part, the com­ments on our Face­book page de­fended Hol­land’s right to breast-feed her child in a pub­lic place, though some pointed out she could have cov­ered her child — a seem­ingly rea­son­able com­pro­mise, which Hol­land said she didn’t sup­port.

Nonethe­less, Ap­ple­bee’s pub­licly apol­o­gized for the in­ci­dent and made it clear they sup­port nurs­ing moth­ers’ right to breast-feed in pub­lic.

You would think the in­ci­dent would then be re­solved, right?

Not so fast. Hol­land has since se­cured a lawyer, started a Face­book page to help keep the in­ci­dent in the pub­lic eye and made plans to hold a “nurse-in” at Ap­ple­bee’s.

There was a time when a sim­ple and sin­cere apol­ogy cou­pled with mak­ing amends through a free meal or item was sat­is­fac­tory and al­lowed life to get back to nor­mal.

Now, given our so­cial me­dia-fo­cused cul­ture, peo­ple are more than glad to grab their 15 min­utes of fame and hang on for dear life. Un­for­tu­nately for

We re­ally miss the good old days some­times.

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