• Sun, Nov 10 - 2:00 pm ET

The Judge Stops Breastfeeding Mom From Nursing For Visitation And Now I Have A Rage Headache

judge stops breastfeeding

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Ready for your daily rage? Well here it comes. Apparently a judge in Allentown, Pennsylvania ordered a mother to stop breastfeeding her 10-month-old baby to comply with a court ordered visitation schedule. Rage headache coming on in three, two, one…

Jessica Moser and her ex-husband have been in a custody battle for months over their daughter Jasmine. According to Jessica, she has been Jasmine’s main caregiver since she was born back in December of last year. Two weeks ago a judge ordered Jessica to stop breastfeeding her daughter so the child could spend the entire weekend at her father’s home. Jessica also says:

 ”I’m feeling frustrated, hurt.I’m trying to keep myself from crying, it’s very emotional…if I do not comply, I will have my child taken away.”

When Jessica tried to explain to the court that she wasn’t able to express enough milk for two days and that her daughter had rejected the bottle (as many breastfed babies do, my own daughter included) he was allegedly less than sympathetic:

 ”He did say something along the lines like, well she should be on formula, or why isn’t she on formula, she should be able to have formula at ten months.”

judge stops breastfeeding

Now, I know that we don’t have all of the details here. There are two side to every story, and in this case probably three (the mom’s, the dad’s and the judge’s) but we all know that this type of attitude about breastfeeding is still very prevalent. I can’t tell you how many times, when I was nursing my kids, I would get shit from people. Even my own family would say things like “there’s no reason you can’t give her a little formula, you’re being ridiculous,” or “Are you sure he shouldn’t be getting formula too? What if she isn’t eating enough?”

Someone should remind this judge that the World Health Organization recommends that all babies breastfeed for at least two years (exclusively for the first six). Not every mother is able to pump enough milk to go long stretches between nursing, I know I couldn’t. Especially not if I was given short notice.

I am all for a father’s right to have visitation with his child. I’ve discussed the issue of father’s rights numerous times here, and as a woman who was raised by my dad for much of my childhood, I think society should give dads more credit when it comes to child rearing. But the rights of either parent should never trump the rights and interests of the child.

Plenty of divorced parents manage to work out a visitation schedule that works for everyone. Whether it’s because of breastfeeding, school, extra-curricular activities, or something else, there are things that stand in the way of a convenient visit, and as parents we have to deal with that. Unless there are details that haven’t come out yet, I think the judge in this case is a douche and the father should be ashamed.

Now I’m going to go pop a Fukitol for this rage headache, because this got me HEATED.

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  • Emil

    Ugh.. this situation reminds me of a friend of mine who’s husband announced he was leaving her for another woman when their baby was just three months old. All of a sudden she had the baby taken away from her every other weekend. She wasn’t able to pump so it put an end to breastfeeding. Getting a rage headache just thinking about it.

    • brebay

      “her baby” taken away from her? Wow, here I thought the baby had 2 parents! Sorry the guy was a douche of a husband, but that is a separate issue from visitation with his child.

  • keelhaulrose

    Yeah, I’m sure that judge is a lactation consultant or doctor, so they know what they’re doing. *eye roll*

  • personal

    That is completely sick. And sad. Poor, poor baby.
    My son was also born in December of last year. He NEEDS his milk. It gives him comfort and makes him feel safe, as well as providing him with nutrition. He also can’t take a bottle, though he can drink small amounts from a cup. This would be a trauma for him.
    (Note: Not nearly as bad, but I just returned from an emergency clinic because I have tonsilitis and the doc there gave me a prescription for antibiotics and said I could ‘finally wean’ my boy. Not going to happen.)

    • Katia

      I agree. This will be traumatic for mother and baby. Why the whole weekend? I would be very sad.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      Your comment “Why the whole weekend” makes me really sad. He’s the father, not a stranger. There’s no evidence that he’s an unfit father, he just doesn’t have lactating breasts. That’s not exactly his fault

    • brebay

      Why the whole weekend? Because she’s his child. If she keeps it up, he ought to file for joint custody.

  • Annona

    Well, I’m sure this is just going to be downvote central…but really? I’m pretty sure if the baby was going to starve to death, no judge would have ordered him to be away from his mother for the weekend. Maybe “oh, i’m breastfeeding!” has been her excuse to keep the kid away from his father all this time? They’re in court fighting for custody rights, so I’m guessing things aren’t exactly rosy and civil between them. And I get it, women breastfeed their kids until like kindergarten now…but if the father wants his kid for the weekend, I’m sure there is some way to work it out so that can happen. Just like the majority of these sensational “rage headache” stories…I’m betting there is a whole mess of details that we aren’t getting.

    • Evelyn

      I agree totally. Ordering a mother to stop breastfeeding does appear to be insensitive but without us having all the facts that could be the judge’s response to a mother who is using breastfeeding as an excuse to prevent the father having any time alone with the baby. Saying that the baby ought to be on formula, implying that breastmilk is wrong, is not a good thing to say to a mother. However if the mother won’t let the father be a part of the girl’s life because she needs to breastfeed her all the time then at 10 months switching to formula won’t hurt the baby. If it makes it easier for the father to be involved that may be better for the child in the long run than a few extra months or so of breastmilk.

    • brebay

      SHE WAS NOT ORDERED TO STOP BREASTFEEDING. REEEEAAADDD!!!!!!

    • Evelyn

      I’m sorry if I got it wrong but “Two weeks ago a judge ordered Jessica to stop breastfeeding her daughter” was all I had to go on as to whether she was ordered to stop breastfeeding or not. The article that this one is linked to merely stated that she was ‘told’ to stop breastfeeding, which I will admit is not the same as ordered as it may not be legally enforced. While her being ordered to stop breast feeding may be an exaggeration and she may have just been told that her daughter will just have to have formula while with her father that was not what the article above said, or the source articles that the author got her information from.

    • EX

      Why are you yelling? This post and the article it links to both say the judge “ordered” her to “stop breastfeeding.” If you have some other source of information please share.

    • EX

      I agree and I’m frankly confused by this whole situation. While not breastfeeding for a weekend could potentially reduce supply, she should be able to keep up her supply by pumping (and then stock up breastmilk for the next weekend when dad has visitation). I don’t see why this custody order would force her to stop breastfeeding completely. The way I see it, baby would likely only need to get formula for one weekend if she does not have a milk supply stocked. As for the baby not taking a bottle – at 10 months most babies have been (or should have been according to my daughter’s pediatrician) introduced to sippy cups (or a real cup). If the judge did, in fact, order her to stop breastfeeding that seems like it crosses some lines but I don’t see how breastfeedimg a 10′month old should stand in the way of the father’s visitation rights.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Nowhere does it say in anything I’ve read about this case that the father hasn’t had regular visitation. I see no reason why the court and the couple couldn’t work out a schedule where he could have dedicated visitation AND the baby could be back to nurse, even if it was only for a few hours and then back to dad. The mother seems willing to compromise, the court does not, and the father refuses to comment (both to the news station and when I tried).

      If my parents could work out their shit enough so I could make volleyball practice or whatever other trivial things I had growing up, they should be able to work out something as important as breastfeeding. It’s not “an excuse.”

    • Annona

      I could only find one article other than this one about the case…and it didn’t specify anything about the prior visitation schedule other than that the mother had identified herself as primary caregiver. The fact that they’re in court fighting over visitation tells me that somebody is not cooperating. The fact that the mother actually used the phrase “breast is best” is pretty telling. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a father to want to spend the night with his child. The child is not drawing primary nutrition from breast milk anymore, one hopes…if not having access to breast milk was going to endanger her, no judge would have ordered it. Maybe they live far enough apart that driving the 10 month old to her house to breastfeed and back to his house is a hardship. It might not be what the mother wants, but to imply that it’s endangering the child is a stretch, and there is certainly not enough information out there to draw any kind of conclusion about it one way or another. Spend some time in family court, listening to some of the bullshit people come up with to try to keep their kids away from the other parent; this smells like “bullshit excuse” to me.

    • Hannah

      Completely agree with this line of conversation. A ten month is not going to starve to death if it doesn’t breastfeed for a weekend. If this woman was adamant about her child never having formula pass her lips, she probably should have found a partner that was more supportive of her breastfeeding goals. As it stands, Jasmine has two parents and when she’s with her dad, he has every right to feed her as he sees fit (assuming he’s not neglectful, of course).

    • brebay

      This isn’t like working out a sports schedule. This would be like you mom telling your dad that he has to feed you a menu she chooses when you’re with him.

    • Momma425

      So essentially the father is allowed to see his child, but that time is interrupted because every time that child is hungry, his ex comes over and breastfeeds (or worse- he has to drive to mom’s house and have her breastfeed and take the child again).

      We don’t know how far apart these parents live from each other so maybe i am making completely incorrect assumptions here- but my daughter’s dad lives 30 miles away. There is no freaking way I would be able to afford to drive up there every 4 hours to feed our daughter, and to be perfectly honest, I really would rather not be undressed in anyway, shape or form around him at All, especially not in his home (and while I’m sure he would welcome the idea, even now, I would probably show up to find no doors and him with a lame excuse as to how all of them broke). If he was required to see our our daughter for four hours and then return her to me for breastfeeding so I could do so in my home- same problem. Then our daughter would be spending more time in the car than with either parent. Not to mention that WHEREVER the mom lives in reference to the dad, forcing him to give the baby to mom for feedings every certain number of hours forces him into a position of not being able to really do anything on his visitation with his child. Maybe he is wanting to drive three hours away to see his parents or family. Can he not do that, because heaven forbid the baby have formula instead of breast milk? Additionally, what if the baby wakes in the middle of the night hungry? I think that the idea that the father is unwilling to compromise is not necessarily true- there might not be a way in which a fair compromise can be made, and he can still spend an equal amount of time with his child. Or, depending on the reason for breaking up, he and the mother might not be on very cooperative terms right now, and maybe both parents being in the same room or doing. So many drop offs/pick ups is really NOT something that the child needs to be around right now. I can certainly understand that as well. When my ex and I were fighting for custody, things got really nasty, really fast. I would drop off or pick up our daughter, and he would scream profanity at me in the driveway in front of our daughter, and then deny it to our attorneys. It got so bad that I ended up having to bring a family member or friend with me that could witness. The two of us being around each other was really NOT in the best interest of our kid, and was limited as much as possible for a very good reason.

      We argue ALL THE TIME here that formula is just fine for babies, and breast milk is not the liquid gold miracle everyone freaks out and tries to make it. Now, a judge says it in order to let a father see his daughter, and that judge is a huge douche?

      Is the mother really THAT upset that her daughter might have a few bottles of formula for a weekend, or that she is going to be spending a whole weekend away from her baby? I will admit, on my daughter’s first weekend away from me (she was 16 months at the time), I was heartbroken. It was so hard, and I have empathy for her.

    • Andrea

      I must say I find myself somewhat in agreement. Yes, breastfeeding is great. Yes, it is probably better for the child. Yes, you cannot just stop breastfeeding.
      However, this isn’t a new born infant. He is 10 months old. He probably already has some solids. I think it should be ok for him to start taking other nourishment for a weekend if it means he can spend some time with his father.
      His father has rights too. He should be able to spend time with his child in his early life too.

    • rrlo

      I don’t disagree that we may not have all the facts. In fact, the author mentions it in the blog.

      The child is 10-months old. Their main source of food is milk. They can’t drink from a cup. This baby doesn’t drink from a bottle – nothing earth shattering – lots of breastfed babies don’t like bottles. The judge sounds like he doesn’t really know what he is talking about… Sure, the baby can be trained to drink from a bottle. But breastfeeding is very good for her. I don’t understand why you do not understand why a mother would have trouble weaning a 10-month old baby before exhausting all other possibilities. Also, the rage headache is more directed towards the callous attitude of the judge is showing towards this situation – rather than anything else.

      Finally, this whole “Everyone is breastfeeding their kids until kindergarten” hyperbole is blatantly wrong and frankly getting VERY annoying to hear over and over again. Only 27% of mothers breastfeed past 6 months (here is the link http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0731-breastfeeding-rates.html) and extended breastfeeding is HECK of a lot less.

    • Andrea

      Breastfeeding IS good. It is ALSO very good for a child to have a bond with her father. The judge’s cavalier attitude is wrong, but at the same time, it isn’t fair for a dad to only be able to have his child for two hours at a time because he has to rush the baby to his mother. And again, this is not a new born. Ten month old children DO take other forms of nutrition.

    • rrlo

      I don’t think a 10-month old would need to nurse every two hours probably three/four times a day – along with other food. Abrupt weaning would be difficult for a baby and the mother. But again the anger inducing part of this story, at least for me, is the attitude of the judge… (IF you take what the mother is saying at face value.).

    • Andrea

      Well it wouldn’t surprise me if the judge had actually said that. There is somewhat of that attitude sometimes. And I DO know abrupt weaning is not a good thing. I will also say that this is NOT the perfect solution. But it just isn’t fair to dad to be prevented from bonding with the child at an early age. I think that it would be better for a child to have a strong bond with dad than to extend breastfeeding for a couple more months. Most of the benefits this baby has already had.

    • DatNanny

      No one is saying a 10 month old needs breast milk every two hours. But she can’t pump a two day supply, even if baby learns to take a bottle. I would think, in this situation, the father should be willing to compromise, because there’s no denying that whether or not the baby can have other forms of nutrition, supplemental breast milk is optimal, and he should want to do what is best for child – even if it means stopping by for baby to feed or mother to pump in the middle of his visit.

    • brebay

      The she’ll drink breastmilk when she’s with mom, and formula with her dad.

    • Alex

      We’re all of the opinion that what’s best for the child is what should be done.

      Some of us just disagree with the assertion that uninterrupted breastfeeding is better for the child than uninterrupted paternal bonding.

    • Andrea

      Yeah, if this was an infant, then I would say that the breastfeeding is not really negotiable. But this isn’t an infant. The long term effects of breastfeeding is already established; interrupted parental bonding will be felt for a lifetime.

    • JLH1986

      Clearly the parents do not have a good relationship, I don’t know that forcing them to spend time together while the child breastfeeds is going to be helpful to anyone. I agree the judge’s cavalier attitude is at issues, but we don’t know the facts, maybe dad hasn’t seen the child in 6 months and now he has to visit with mom 4 times a day? I’m sure there is another alternative here, but I don’t know that forcing the parents to interact in what is clearly an acrimonious custody battle is good for anyone.

    • Annona

      So if only 27% of mothers breast feed past six months of age…what are they then feeding their children? Why can’t this mother do that, as well, if it means that her child can have a relationship with her father that was obviously important enough to said father that he took her to court over it? Nobody said she had to stop breast feeding period…we’re talking about a weekend visit, during which time the child can be fed some other way without starving or causing undue distress…otherwise, no family court judge would have dared order the visitation to happen. Nobody is implying that the situation is perfect…but it is something that can be worked out, without the mother being a giant drama queen to the news media about it or the father being vilified by the feminist blogosphere. Certainly, the only “rage headache” I feel coming on is some of the drivel I’ve read in the comments section of this article.

    • rrlo

      The other babies are drinking formula. This mother CAN feed her child formula – lots of mothers do it. There is nothing wrong with it when it is the mother’s choice. The part that is bothering everyone is that formula is being forced on the baby. I think if a judge and/or a father of a baby ordered a mother to breastfeed when she didn’t want to , people would feel the same way.

      According to the article it says and I quoted below:

      “A Northampton County mother is outraged after she says a local judge told her to stop breastfeeding her daughter. Jessica Moser has been in a custody battle with her daughter Jasmine’s father for months. She says, two weeks ago ajudge told her to stop breastfeeding Jasmine so the 10-month-old could
      stay overnight with her dad.”

      So if we believe the mother (and you may choose not to) then your statement “Nobody said she had to stop breast feeding period…” is incorrect – according to the story the judge told her to stop breastfeeding.

      Whether the mother is being a drama queen or not that is not for me to judge and same with the father. It is their battle – they need to figure it out. However, many of us can empathize with the sadness and the feeling of complete unfairness that comes with being told to put our babies on formula when we don’t want to. And for a judge to dictate this is blatantly unfair.
      Also, maybe you’re unfamiliar with breastfeeding but if you stop breastfeeding a child for two days, there is a very high chance that would be the end of the breastfeeding (as milk supply would dry up). Additionally, judging by my own children’s reaction to breastfeeding, cold turkey weaning for a 10-month old would be rather traumatic.

    • brebay

      She was NOT ordered to stop. The judge listed that as among a list of options when she complained. NO ONE ORDERED HER TO STOP doing anything except interfering with a custody order. She feeds the kid whatever she sees fit during her parenting time, and dada feeds her whatever he sees fit during his.

    • Annona

      So what do breastfeeding mothers with jobs do? Obviously most of them can’t stop working every two hours and drive home and feed the baby….they pump. I just saw a news story a few weeks ago about a soldier who was pumping to get enough milk to last her baby the entire time she was gone on a six week deployment. Breast feeding mothers sometimes pump just so the father can also feed the child with a bottle. She can pump while the baby is gone, and it’s pretty unlikely that 36 hours of pumping will make her dry up. The judge does not seem to have a hard-on against breastfeeding. It seems like the formula suggestion was in response to the mother’s unwillingness to compromise on the custody agreement. (And no, I don’t think “yeah, you can have the baby for the weekend but you have to drive her to my house so I can breastfeed every four hours” is a compromise.) If this disagreement has been going on for “months”, that was plenty of time to start trying to adapt to the possibility that there was going to have to be some flexibility in the feeding schedule. Obviously, the mother was unwilling to entertain that possibility. So, frustrated judge made a slightly shitty comment and hurt her little fee-fees. She’s still coming off as selfish and stupid, IMO.

    • Ennis Demeter

      She could stay in a hotel nearby, or drive over and pump when needed. That is no more unreasonable than what she is asking her child’s father to do.

    • Mel

      10 month olds can drink from a cup – my son had to learn cold turkey how to drink from a sippy-cup at 7 months old. We were initially told he could continue to use a haberman feeder (a type of nipple used in cases where children have trouble sucking such as when s/he has a cleft palate) after surgery and then they changed their minds in the hours after surgery. I was NOT happy to say the least – apparently not all the protocols had been figured out when he had surgery (clinical study) but it can be done.

    • EX

      10 month olds can drink out of cups. My daughter was drinking out of straw sippy cups by that age. Her pediatrician had said we should be introducing cups by 9 months at the latest.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      My daughter could drink from a cup when she was 5 months old, and our pediatrician told me that between 5 and 6 months is when he recommends cups be introduced. I’m not at all saying this judge was right to say what he did, but this child should have other means of getting liquids at this point.

    • joe wilson

      Okay, so I am one of the father’s best friends and yet I am writing this reply objectively.

      To be clear and offer some more background:

      The mother has recently been depriving the father of overnight stays with his child as written in the judge’s initial order. That is why this story came about. The mother’s excuse for violating the terms was because she had to nurse her baby, who does not take bottles (but she does drink from sippy cups and has a doctor’s note to drink formula at this age – they left that part out).

      In order to reach a decision and come to some middle ground, the judge simply “suggested” that the baby could go 1-2 days a week without breast milk (or with pumped breast milk) in order to stay overnight with her father, who lives across state lines. The mother was outraged at this “suggestion”.

      The judge did not “order” or “rule” on anything since the case is not over. And the judge did not order to stop breastfeeding altogether, which I think we would all agree is ridiculous and not within the right of the government. What the judge may order this week, is that if visitation rights are violated again, the mother may face charges or risk losing custody.

      The title of the article clearly references “she says” and the body of the article quoted her saying, “He did say something along the lines like”… meaning that this is simply the mother’s recollection of what she believes was said, and not what was actually ruled. It was also the mother who went to the press as a last resort.

      The journalist offered the most sensationalist account of what actually happened, while slanting the story to be more biased in favor of the mother’s angst, in order to offer maximum jaw-drop. If you have a news story that hits you on an emotional level, you’re more likely to respond as outsiders, with no background, with highly opinionated and irrational outbursts. We all know that treating situations with logic instead of emotion is the best route to take. That is what the judge is doing here.

    • Ennis Demeter

      And yet most posters here think the mother is being unreasonable, despite the stance of the article.

  • Nat

    As a mom of a 26 week preemie who is now 17 months, and still breastfeeding because of all the benefits both him and me are getting, this really upsets me as well. It is one thing to stop breastfeeding because you cant, or you consciously make the decision to stop – it is another to be forced to! Specially since for many women (me included!) breastfeeding did not come easy and we had to work our butts off. Nights of waking up every 3 hours for months just to be able to continue your supply, and then all that effort is basically ripped away. Very frustrating to know that a judge can have the right to take that away from you.

    • brebay

      SHE’S NOT BEING FORCE TO! DO YOU PEOPLE READ PAST THE HEADLINE?

    • Nat

      Brebay, it is one thing for people to be emotional and post their opinions on what this article means to them and another for you to be antagonizing everyone for it.

    • brebay

      It isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact. She was NOT ordered to stop breastfeeding. She doesn’t get to restrict visitation any more than a parent who’s vegan when the other parent isn’t. She was ordered to follow a visitation decree, nothing more. She’ll decide what baby eats with her, dad will decide when baby’s with him. It’s not a matter of opinion, It’s public record. There is absolutely nothing in the court order telling either parent what to feed the child.

    • Nat

      Brebay, it is apparently a little hard for you to understand that most people posting are upset regarding the attitude of
      the judge to tell you ‘not’ to breastfeed during whatever amount of time, and give formula instead. A responsible judge would have come up with a better solution than to state that. Someone telling you ‘not’ to do something, is someone invading your ‘right to do it’. So I reiterate my comment above, it is very frustrating to know that a judge can have the right to take that away from you. And whatever is your opinion regarding people’s comment,
      understanding of, or misunderstanding of the article, does not authorise you to antagonize them. Good evening.

    • brebay

      he didn’t tell her that. The judge gave the child’s father the right to have visits with her unobstructed by the mother’s rules, just like every other custody case. She’s free to breastfeed the kid as long as she likes.

    • Cheers

      OK, if you want to get literal, she can breastfeed the child as long as she likes, EXCEPT of course, as you acknowledge, when the child is with her father. Which, since she can’t pump enough milk for the weekend, means that even when the child comes home, she will likely not be able to breastfeed any more, because her body will stop producing it when there is no baby drinking it. That’s how the body works.

    • brebay

      Don’t tell me how it works, I pumped for 6 months. If she pumps while the baby’s at dad’s, her body will still produce milk. And if it doesn’t, so what? That doesn’t mean a dad doesn’t get reasonable visitation uninterrupted by mom. The body only knows milk’s being used, it doesn’t care if it’s being ingested or pumped. That’s how the body works.

    • Guest

      you’re just a bitch.

    • lea

      That’s how YOUR body works. Not everyone can pump, or pump sufficient volumes to maintain supply. But please, continue to extrapolate your experience to apply to everyone….

    • brebay

      point is, it doesn’t matter if she can or can’t pump, it’s about his visitation rights, which trump mom’s food preferences.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      A judge isn’t going to pop out of your fridge and say “Oh, sorry! You wanna breastfeed… Well that’s TOO DAMN BAD!”. The judge ordered that the child’s father gets visitation. That’s fair. A child is not only the mother’s baby because she is breastfeeding him.

  • NicknamesAreDull

    This situation just sucks. I would hate to be the father who couldn’t take his child for a weekend without stopping by the ex’s. It’s inconvenient, and not fair. I know from my experience that young kids can get really anxious around people they don’t see a lot, and it broke my heart the first time I realized my eldest niece didn’t know who I was, even though it had only been a few months since I had seen her in person. I also saw how hurt my husband was when he left for a month when our daughter was a baby, and when he came back, she cried anytime he picked her up. I don’t think anyone should be told how to feed a child, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if she was using breastfeeding as an excuse to keep the child away from him. Divorce brings out the worst in a lot of people, and custody battles get dirty. I don’t see how anyone could “win” in this situation.

  • M

    I’m with Annona. In the long term, this child will suffer no harm from being weaned (or not having breast milk on the weekends) at 10 months. She won’t even remember it. What WILL have long-term influence is whether or not she has a relationship with her father. Having a close relationship with her other parent is far more important than a few additional months of breast milk.

    • Rachelxoxo

      I think there’s a way that the father can have a relationship with his daughter and still support breastfeeding. Just taking a weekend off of breastfeeding isn’t as simple as it sounds. It can be very traumatic for a baby to completely change the way it’s been eating along with being away from the mother for the first time (I’m guessing.) Also some women’s milk can dry up in that time and also cause the mother lots of pain from an abrupt stop in nursings, such as plugged ducts or mastitis. I know because I got mastitis at 9 months from moving towards mostly solids and from bed sharing to a crib in the same week. And I was still nursing! I couldn’t imagine the pain if I had to stop for a whole weekend! This judge needs to be better informed on breastfeeding and then make a decision that can include the father in his daughters life along with breastfeeding too.

    • Annona

      The mother, I’m sure, knew that the father was going to be asking for overnight visits, and the article states the custody dispute has been going on for “months”. She could have (and should have) taken steps to adapt the baby’s feeding methods and schedule with the idea that the overnight visits might be granted by the judge. She chose not to. She chose instead to act is if her personal preferences about her child’s diet were more important than the father’s right to spend time with his child in a way that works for him. If the baby suffers hardship, in my opinion, the mother is as much if not more at fault than the father and the judge. I’m guessing she thought that her breastfeeding practices would prevent the judge granting overnight visits, and she figured wrong.

      Working mothers do it. Mothers with active partners who want to share responsibility for the child’s feeding do it. The judge isn’t a lactation consultant or a breast feeding advocate and it’s not his job to be…he’s a judge in family court who needs to make a fair ruling based on the rights of the non custodial parent to still have access to the child. It’s a crappy job, full of hard decisions that have to be made for grown ass people who are 9 times out of 10 acting less mature than the children they’re fighting over.

    • Ennis Demeter

      This is not a newborn, it is a 10 month old. We are mostly mothers here and we know from breastfeeding. Babies often hate being weaned or changing to a bottle- for about a day, and then they adjust. Her relationship with her father is way more important.

  • Angela

    The judge was out of line mandating that the baby be switched to formula but I can’t help but think that if the parents were behaving like mature adults they could have worked this out on their own. First of all I get that breastfed babies often resist bottles. My youngest was that way. But babies can be taught to drink from bottles and this mom should be supportive of this so that the dad can spend time with the kid. If the mom can’t pump enough milk for a whole weekend can she arrange to drop off milk throughout the weekend? If dad lives too far away then they perhaps he should arrange to stay near the mother for visitation. Or she could stay near him. Or they could alternate. Or (gasp) they could supplement with formula until the mom can get enough of a supply stocked up to send. It’s a tough issue, but it could be worked out. And parents owe it to their kids to work out tough issues, married or not. It makes me livid when I see parents fighting over their kids like they’re a favorite toy instead of sitting down like grown ups and saying, “OK, breastfeeding is good for our daughter. Bonding with Dad is also good for her. What can we do so that she gets the best of both?” If they’d done this to begin with the judge wouldn’t have had to get involved in the first place.

    • brebay

      Can you even read? He DID NOT MANDATE that. He made a comment about it from the bench, it is no part of the order, and he listed it as a number of options.

    • Angela

      I think we all understand that it wasn’t part of the court order. But it was an inappropriate order to give, on or off the bench and he should have taken the fact that baby won’t take bottles into consideration when issuing his judgement. Yes, baby and dad need time to bond and she certainly does need to learn to take bottles so she can be with him more. But doing this cold turkey is very traumatizing for babies and it would have been much kinder to let dad gradually increase his visitation over a several week period. I do wonder however if fully read my comment however, because I feel that you missed my point which was that if the parents had been mature adults to begin with then they could have worked this out without involving the courts at all.

    • Véronique Houde

      ok dude. broken record. move on along now. People get it. It doesn’t stop them from making arguments.

    • candlesoffate .

      what is wrong with you? can you not voice your opinion without insulting everyone? GEEZ

  • brebay

    No reason she can’t pump. If so, too bad. She doesn’t get to interfere with or deny the father’s rights to their mutual child. When she’s with mom, mom decides how and what she eats. When she’s with dad, dad determines how and what she eats. Please stop saying a judge “ordered her not to breastfeed.” That’s just BS. Baby will be fed by each parent as each parent sees fit.

  • Alex

    Absolutely not. A mother’s desires to continue breastfeeding do NOT trump a father’s parental rights to see his child. Anyone suggesting otherwise brings out MY rage headache.

    The mother can pump and the father can supplement with formula during his visitation time. She does not get to use breastfeeding as an excuse to keep the child from developing a relationship with both parents, especially for the first two years of her life.

    • OhHeyDelilah

      Agreed. I’m sympathetic to both parties here, but the father’s rights are of equal importance in this situation. Yes, breast milk is optimal, but relationship breakdowns don’t tend to create optimal situations. The baby has had 10 months of breast milk, presumably including 6 months of exclusive feeding. The judge sounds like an insensitive douche but that doesn’t mean the father’s rights should get thrown out the window. As many people have pointed out previously, there are a thousand and one reasons why it may not suit the father to have to meet up with his wife every four/six/whatever hours so she can breastfeed. It sucks for the mother that she can’t pump enough, and I really do feel for her, but in some situations, there are no winners and you have to find the solution that benefits as many people as possible, to the greatest extent possible.

  • AP

    I think this is one of those things that we can chalk up to “life’s not fair.” There are a lot of things in life that are good for us that come at the expense of other things that are good for us (ex: breastfeeding vs. having a good relationship with two involved parents; having plenty of free time to cook nutritious meals and exercise vs. having a job that covers our expenses.) In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to choose between these things, but the fact of the matter is, life is not fair, and sometimes we do. And it starts being unfair the minute a kid is conceived, based on the amount of time, resources, and networks their parents have. This girl was born into a custody battle when plenty of other kids were born into loving two-parent homes. It’s not fair, but it’s life.

    • Felicia Pinckney

      I breastfed my daughter for 2 years. Now I admit they were the 2 LONGEST years of my life. She was on BF only for the 1st 7 months and was fed rice cereal by my old fashioned mom while babysitting. Grandma swore the baby was starving to death on Breast milk only ” this from the mom who made formula out of Karo syrup and pet milk for her kids”. While I was upset because it was not what I wanted my daughter thrived. I went back to work when my baby was 8 months old. When I knew I was headed back to work I began to pump in between feeding to bring my supply back up. Sometimes I was able to pump 1 OZ sometimes more but after 3 – 4 weeks time I was able do almost 4 oz at a time. Every little bit of milk was frozen and stored for the time I was not available to feed her myself. Was I upset that I had to pump. Yes. But for me the benefits was it was the next best thing to me being there with her. Being a parent is about sacrifices.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Not to make light, but can you explain “pet milk” before I continue imagining cats hooked up to milking machines?

    • Annona

      “PET” is a dairy brand name. PET milk is milk that is shelf stable in a can. At least, it is where I am.

  • blh

    Its crapy situation but really theres no way around it. The dad shouldn’t have to bring the baby to the moms house several times a day to eat. That’s too inconvenient and its not fair to him. Having a relationship with her father is more important that breastfeeding.

  • Angela

    Another thing I wonder is why this has taken 10 months to resolve. I mean, ideally the baby would have been given bottles (pumped or formula) so that the father and daughter could spend time together and bond. It’s possible that the mom was being difficult by refusing to give her daughter a chance to learn to bottle-feed and gradually increase her time with her father. If she was refusing to cooperate the dad may have not had much of a choice. Then again it’s also possible that the father has only recently expressed an interest in being involved which is a different situation entirely IMO. Either way I’m very grateful for my husband. He’s a great dad to our kids and I know that even if we were to spilt up that he would try to put their interests first (as would I).

  • Gangle

    I guess it sucks that this situation means that the mother may not get to feed her baby just how she wants to.. but what other way around this is there? Her right to breastfeed does not trump her daughters right to have a relationship with her father. We don’t know the real situation here. It isn’t fair at all, and I am not talking about one womans right to feed her child how she sees fit. This isn’t fair on the poor kid stuck in the middle.

  • Véronique Houde

    You know, my sister had an issue with her daughter taking the bottle. She thought for months that her daughter would refuse it, until she left the floor where her husband was with their daughter and the daughter wasn’t given any other choice. The daughter took the bottle of expressed milk then, and then whenever else my sister was not physically there. If my sister were to come back into the room though, my niece would throw a fit until she got the breast. But all this to say that a baby will not allow him or herself to starve to death. Between a bottle and nothing, they will take the bottle if mom is not around.

    So the mom can’t produce “enough” milk right now. At 10 months of age, they should be theoretically getting about 3-4 4 ounce bottles a day nutritionally. Maybe she won’t be able to express enough the first week, but the second week, she might get more. And more and more in the weeks after that. She won’t dry up during the weekend if she pumps. Perhaps she hasn’t really tried to get enough milk in the past, but now being away from her daughter on weekends, she’ll be able to get at least half of the milk she gives to her daughter through the pump.

    I can only imagine, if left unchecked, how long this mother would use the “sorry, breastfeeding, can’t leave her with anyone!” excuse… I agree with many other people that the benefits of having a relationship with her father far outweigh the benefits of being breastfed at this age. You have to look at the bigger picture. This child did not choose to be born into parental conflict. There are no perfect solutions where both parents will be content. But at the end of the day, it’s about the emotional needs of the child (because physically the milk is not necessary to survive at this point). She needs her father, and he should not be constrained by a mother’s lifestyle choice. He has 50% to say in parenting decisions.

    So the two people who love to click the downvote button, downvote me all you want. But I have 0 compassion for this mom, and 100% compassion for this child who’s parents can’t seem to communicate beyond going to the media to bitch about decisions that a judge had to make when they couldn’t find common ground themselves.

    • helloshannon

      all of that is all well and good but it is SO not the judge’s place to tell her to stop nursing. and you assume that the father is some kind of saint but if he was a good and caring father he would deal with a different schedule until the child was weaned. he sounds like a jackass who just wants to stick it to his ex.

    • Véronique Houde

      When two parents are in conflict and are unable to find a middle ground that is in the best interest of the child, then who’s job would it be to decide? The mother? Right now, the mother is thinking purely of breastfeeding to the expense of her daughter and ex’s relationship. Judges sometimes have to make difficult decisions. But they are not there to please the mother, or to make politically correct decisions. If the problem in this custody battle was the mom’s boobies, then it’s his duty to let her know that she will have to find alternative arrangement to give her daughter booby juice without keeping the child chained to the boobie.

    • Andrea

      First of all the judge didn’t tell her to stop. The judge told her that visitation had to proceed as ordered. Yes, I do get that it is very possible that the child won’t take the breast when she’s back (although I doubt it, at 10 months, the pattern is established). She can still breastfeed, just not while the child is with her father.
      Second of all, if the father had disappeared, we would all be up in arms about what an asshole the father is. This guy is making the effort and pushing for the right to spend time with his daughter and for that he is a jackass?
      Third of all. all that the judge is trying to do is make sure the father doesn’t get sidelined. If this child doesn’t get to bond with her father during this time, it will be a million times harder later on. Kids this age do not respond well to people they are not familiar with. If she’s only allowed to spend limited time with dad, she will not respond well to him and THAT is something that will affect her for a LONG ASS time. Dads are important. They are important when the baby is born, they are important when they are 1 year old, they are important when the kid is 5, 10, 15, 20 and 50 years old. This woman doesn’t get to dictate that baby cannot spend time with dad beyond a feeding a schedule just because she will not compromise about what a kid can eat.
      MILLIONS of women have had to compromise when it comes to breastfeeding because they have to go back to work. This is even more important than work: it’s the relationship that kid has with her father.

    • JLH1986

      Maybe mom has prevented him from seeing the baby for the last 10 months and now he is being told he’ll have to wait months more for quality time because mom is breastfeeding. SInce the father hasn’t made any comments I’m not sure how you can draw the conclusion he is a jackass. I’m not saying he’s a saint either, but I think both mom and dad (and the judge who was incredibly unprofessional) need to put on their respective big boy/big girl panties and deal. Dad needs to give mom some time to introduce the bottle and mom needs to accept that she can’t tell dad when to see the baby. They all need to grow up and think about what’s best for this kid (including nutritionally and emotionally)

    • http://www.whatwouldshethink.com/ Rachelle

      Truth. After having ups and downs with introducing the bottle to my daughter (so that my husband could partake in feeding her/give me breaks) we did finally succeed, like Véronique says. Once I was out of the picture, she took to it. And after a very short time, she would even let me give her the bottle myself.

      The bottom line is you do what is best for your child. If that means pumping your milk on the weekends where your daughter is with your Dad (magically producing the exact quantity needed for the next weekend) and increasing solid foods – which at 10 months old their main diet should be a variety of solids anyways (I still breastfeed my 11 month old whose diet mostly consists of a large variety of foods, but whatevah), then you do that. If it’s making visitations a pain in the ass for everyone concerned until you feel like changing things, then you do that.

      I personally don’t agree with the mother, but that’s my ignorant-due-to-lack-of-information-on-this-case self.

    • Annona

      There was a nursing mother in the news in my hometown recently. She was in the army, and was working her way through pumping enough milk for her daughter to continue to have breast milk while the mother was away on a six week training deployment. If she can do that, I feel pretty sure this mother can figure out a way to adapt to having to be away from her 10 month old for some weekend visits. Life sucks, sometimes, and it isn’t always fair, but you get over it and do what you have to do for the benefit of your child. And I’m sorry, but having a bonding relationship with her father IS more important than a couple missed weekends of good old “liquid gold.”

      And it really tickles me, all these people who would just be soooo gutted to have to pull the baby off the boobie for a whole weekend, who seem to have no empathy at all for someone who had to go to court to get a judge to let him spend ONE NIGHT with his own baby.

    • Andrea

      That’s dedication! I am in awe.

    • Karie Ryan Ordway

      My first granddaughter was super picky about breastfeeding. Would not take a bottle for anyone, mom present or not. Not her dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, no one. The crying was relentless and feeding was always a tense affair. Never did take a bottle. Went from the breast to a sippy cup. What we learned from the whole ordeal is that she insisted on nursing not for the milk, but for the comfort and closeness. SHE was telling us in the only way she could what she needed.
      Everyone keeps talking about what’s best for the baby, but no one listens to the baby. What they hear is mom being a bitch to dad. The position that no antibody gleaned from breast milk can rival a relationship with dad is an apples and oranges argument. One is biological, the other is emotional.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I think the dad should be allowed overnight visits with baby. But I think the mom should be given some time to introduce a bottle first, because otherwise I think dad and baby are in for a terrible time. If baby rejects the bottle for hours, I don’t think dad is going to get the kind of visit he wants. I mean, come on.
    She can pump in baby’s absence and resume breastfeeding when baby comes back to her. She says she can’t pump enough for baby to get exclusively breast milk, and some formula would be necessary. And yes, that is against mom’s wishes.
    However, dad gets a say too in how his baby is cared for. And she’s not being prevented from breastfeeding in life, only briefly. One has to balance the risks and benefits.
    A line does have to be drawn somewhere. Can a 2-year-old be withheld from overnight visits to breastfeed? What about 18 months? 12 months? Whenever mom chooses to stop?
    Regardless of whether she wants to introduce a bottle or not, a bottle seems to be a required tool in her life now and one needs to adapt to one’s reality. Moms have to go back to work, or deal with low supply or share custody. Bottles are brought in, and life chugs on.
    I don’t really believe those missed servings of breast milk are more positive for baby to have than a visit with dad would be. The Dad. We focus so much on how important it is for mom’s to feel connected to their babies. What about this man’s ability to bond with his baby? Continuous time proving care matters. We all know this. Perspective, let’s have some. It’s just breast milk. It’s food. Good food, but food. It cannot trump or define a parental relationship.

    • VLDBurnett

      Maybe you should become a judge…

    • HS

      This is perfect. I agree with everything you wrote here. Thank you!

      (I’ve been through family court and yet I still think the mother is being unreasonable)

  • aliceblue

    I’m just wondering (no proof or anything) if part of the reason the judge seems so “do it now and it has to be two days” instead of just easing into to it (in two weeks Dad gets a 24 hour visit) is that, according to the article, this has been going on for “months.” There has been plenty of time for the mother to work on getting the baby to use a bottle or cup, freezing any milk she can pump to build up a supply, and/or start introducing solids. I’d have sympathy if this were during the first six months but not so much at 10 months, with mom knowing that dad has been wanting more visitation.

    • Alex

      That is a good point. Since this has been going on for “months”, a visitation schedule should have been anticipated and prepared for, which would require the baby to be fed with formula from a bottle when not in the mother’s custody.

      It isn’t like she was completely blindsided by the idea that she might no longer be in full control over how the child feeds (or perhaps she really DID believe that no judge would order overnight visitation until the child is two years old).

  • SusannahJoy

    I’m with most of the comments here, and disagree with you. The baby is 10 months old, and the father has a right to see his child for longer than an hour. The transition to bottle is going to really suck, but that’s often the case. Sooo many people have real life problems that get in the way of being able to breastfeed exclusively for as long as they’d like.

  • joe wilson

    Okay, so I am one of the father’s best friends and yet I am writing this reply objectively.

    To be clear and offer some more background:

    The mother has recently been depriving the father of overnight stays with his child as written in the judge’s initial order. That is why this story came about. The mother’s excuse for violating the terms was because she had to nurse her baby, who does not take bottles (but she does drink from sippy cups and has a doctor’s note to drink formula at this age – they left that part out).

    In order to reach a decision and come to some middle ground, the judge simply “suggested” that the baby could go 1-2 days a week without breast milk (or with pumped breast milk) in order to stay overnight with her father, who lives across state lines. The mother was outraged at this “suggestion”.

    The judge did not “order” or “rule” on anything since the case is not over. And the judge did not order to stop breastfeeding altogether, which I think we would all agree is ridiculous and not within the right of the government. What the judge may order this week, is that if visitation rights are violated again, the mother may face charges or risk losing custody.

    The title of the article clearly references “she says” and the body of the article quoted her saying, “He did say something along the lines like”… meaning that this is simply the mother’s recollection of what she believes was said, and not what was actually ruled. It was also the mother who went to the press as a last resort.

    The journalist offered the most sensationalist account of what actually happened, while slanting the story to be more biased in favor of the mother’s angst, in order to offer maximum jaw-drop. If you have a news story that hits you on an emotional level, you’re more likely to respond as outsiders, with no background, with highly opinionated and irrational outbursts. We all know that treating situations with logic instead of emotion is the best route to take. That is what the judge is doing here.

    • Véronique Houde

      Hey Joe, thanks for writing with specifications! I think most of us were able to read between the lines to know that the mother was in fact completely exaggerating. ;)

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  • megan

    Has anyone considered the psychological implications that stopping breastfeeding old turkey could have? Depression for the mom after abrupt weaning is very common and it could be traumatic for the infant to be pulled off her mother and lose the comfort of nursing all at once.

  • MrsBryant8

    I was in this situation except my daughter was even older. She was small for her age and had allergies. Luckily her dad, didn’t want to keep her overnight because she would cry for me. He was happy to visit with her for half a day.

    We later got back together and have been together ever since.

  • rationalmoderate

    WHO does not say “for at least two years”. They say clearly on the link provided, “up to two years or beyond.” Please do not misquote or mislead others’ statements just to make your point stronger.

  • AmandaJ

    I am recently facing this same issue but worse and with a 4 month old. The judge in our county, Transylvania North Carolina, has ordered that my daughter go out of state for 5 days/4 nights every other week to stay with her dad. She is exclusively breastfeeding, adamantly refuses a bottle though I am working hard with her on that, and has never spent more than 3 hours with her dad. PLEASE HELP

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