A manager at the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn confirms she had no choice but to ask a woman to leave the premises after she began openly bottle-feeding her baby.
“It was right during prime shopping hours, and she whipped out that bottle and started feeding her baby like it was the most natural thing in the world,” says the manager. “Well, frankly, it wasn’t natural. It’s just plain gross.”
Shannon Edwards, the volunteer shift manager, says that when she first noticed Valerie Hinds bottle-feeding her baby out in the open, she politely asked her to relocate to the bathroom, or “at least cover that up with a blanket, or something.”
“I’m pretty open-minded,” she says. “I would never bottle-feed my baby, but I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I just don’t understand why she insisted on giving her baby a bottle right in the bulk dried fruits and nuts area, out where kids and any health-minded person could see her.”
Edwards adds, “And formula? Really? I just don’t understand how she can give her baby that with all the information about the benefits of breastfeeding out there, but who am I to judge? I just wish she didn’t throw it in everyone’s faces like that.”
But Hinds refused to move or cover-up the offensive bottle, which happened to be plastic, possibly not BPA-free, and definitely not earth-friendly glass in a silicone sleeve like the ones sold at the co-op. “She said she had the right to bottle-feed her baby anywhere she wanted, and that she wasn’t hurting anyone. Maybe she should check with her baby in a few years, when he has a lower IQ, all sorts of allergies, and Asperger’s, am I right?” says one anonymous shopper. She adds, “Yes, I am right.”
Edwards then told the woman that she was on private property, and that since she was upsetting other customers, she had to leave immediately.
Hinds left the co-op without incident; but to some, the damage was already done. “I had my six-year-old daughter with me,” says Ingrid Jackson, 38. “Now I’m going to have to explain how some selfish mommies use bottles instead of breasts. That will probably lead to her asking about C-sections, epidurals, and other topics I was waiting to discuss with Madison when she reached puberty.”
Other customers didn’t see a problem. “I didn’t notice anything weird. The baby was really cute,” says Michael Goldberg, 53.