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.”
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.