Childrearing

Breastfeeding Women Called Bad Moms for Taking Babies to a Showing of Bad Moms

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Bad Moms looks like a pretty funny movie, and it is a rare movie that is actually tailor-made for grown women with children. Sure, some child-free people, younger people, and dudes might well go see and enjoy it, but the primary target audience of Bad Moms certainly seems to be mothers, but this week a couple breastfeeding mothers were actually booted from the theater because they brought their babies along with them.

According to New York magazine, the two breastfeeding mothers were part of a group of 50 mothers who all went together to see a 7:45 p.m. showing this week. Because they were nursing, they brought the babies along, because nursing infants are pretty portable and for the most part very quiet.

When they arrived, however, the theater manager said they couldn’t take children under 6 into an R-rated movie after 6 p.m., and that they would have to go see Ice Age: Continental Drift instead. The women said that the babies would sleep and not be scarred by Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell, and they reportedly told the manager they’d sit on the aisle near the exit and book it out of the theater if a baby made a peep, but the manager was adamant.

The women did go sit down in the theater with the cartoon, but tried to sneak back into Bad Moms when they thought nobody was looking. Then they got caught and kicked out. Being a new mother is like being a teenager in many ways–hormones, acne, constant exhaustion, and now apparently sneaking into R-rated movies, too.

OK, they should probably not have tried to sneak into a movie after being barred from entry by the manager.

Kids under 17–even babies–are allowed into R-rated movies if accompanied by a parent. This theater’s particular policy said that babies and kids under 6 are allowed into an R-rated movie, as long as the film started before 6 p.m. If they’d gone two hours earlier, everything would have been fine. It would have made things a lot easier if the theater had made clearer that its policy barred R-rated movie entry to all babies and children under 6 after 6 p.m., because if they’d gone to a slightly earlier screening they’d have been allowed in without incident.

“I think that they have a right to have their rules for their theater,” one of the mothers said. “But I think it needs to be a little different with the age limit. Young babies are sleeping and being perfectly fine. If our babies are going to make a noise, we know how to handle this situation.”

Of course, now people are excoriating the mothers for bringing children to an R-rated movie period, as though the content would scar or scramble a newborn’s brain. But most of us who have breastfed have watched Game of Thrones or Sons of Anarchy or some such thing over our babies’ heads while they do that nurse/sleep thing that makes up most of a baby’s activities for the first year. As far as the babies are concerned, there’s not much difference between mom watching a movie in a theater and mom binge-watching Scandal on Hulu.

One baby was four weeks old, and the other was seven months. A seven-month-old might not be a 23-hour-a-day sleeper anymore, but by that point its mother surely knows whether or not it’s likely to sleep quietly in her arms from 7:45-10, or whether it’s more the sort of baby to be up and kicking a fuss, and that mother said her baby was just going to sleep the whole time anyway. As for the younger baby, a four-week-old baby is solidly in that “cute potato” stage where if it has a nipple in its mouth, it’s just going to lie there and sleep.

It’s completely understandable that the theater wants protect its other patrons from being disturbed by noisy kids, but it’s easy to see how frustrating this would be for a mother who is like, “Seriously, I know what I’m doing.  If she makes a peep, I’ll run. But really, she’s sound asleep. Just pretend she’s a bowling ball.”

Eventually the theater manager was persuaded to offer refunds to the whole group of 50 mothers, not just the two who had been booted from the theater. At that point, the whole crew took their party on the road and went for tacos, sleeping babies and all.