A Pennsylvania woman is speaking out against a judge who ordered her to stop breastfeeding her 10-month-old daughter.
Jessica Moser is in the midst of a custody battle with her daughter Jasmine’s father and the Northampton County resident told local TV station WFMZ that two weeks ago a judge told her to stop nursing her daughter so the girl could spend two days a week at her father’s house.
“I’m feeling frustrated, hurt,” Moser told WFMZ-TV. “I’m trying to keep myself from crying, it’s very emotional.”
Moser has had primary custody of Jasmine but now the girl’s father would like time with the child. Moser told the judge that it would be difficult to meet the judge’s request because Jasmine doesn’t take a bottle. Moser claims that she will have to stop nursing in order to meet the judge’s request.
“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,” Moser told WFMZ-TV.
“If I do not comply, I will have my child taken away,” she added.
National news outlets and parenting blogs are picking up the story and presenting a heated debate over whether it’s more important for a baby to see her father or breastfeed? Many are attacking the judge.
Over at Mommyish, Frances Locke writes:
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.
Custody battles are complicated, personal and often brutal. With this situation we don’t have all the facts so it’s hard to point fingers, but I don’t think this has to be an either-or situation. This child should be able to see her dad and continue nursing — and the judge should encourage this option, not tell the mom to stop nursing and use formula.
It’s important for a child to have a bond with both parents and for a baby to be nourished with her mother’s milk. The World Health Organization recommends that a woman exclusively breastfeed until a child reaches six months, and then start solids, while continuing to nurse until 2 years. Moser’s daughter, Jasmine, should be eating an array of solid foods in addition to her mother’s milk at this point.
As a mother who has nursed three children, I know it’s possible to spend time away from your baby and continue nursing. When my son was about 9 months I had to go on a three-day work trip, and I fretted that my time away would put an end to nursing. But I dutifully pumped milk a few times a day and after the trip I continued to nurse him until he was 2 years old.