Patterico's Pontifications


Drinking and Breastfeeding

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The result: “A North Dakota woman accused of breast-feeding her 6-week-old baby while drunk has pleaded guilty to child neglect.”

Sounds like an easy case, but it’s not:

“Since [the woman’s] arrest, blogs have been abuzz with comments questioning whether breast-feeding mothers could risk criminal charges if they drink even modest amounts. Authorities insist police were right to make the arrest, even if the mother had not been breast-feeding, out of concern for the child’s welfare.

“Since when is breast-feeding while drunk a crime?” said Dr. Amy Tuteur, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist in Boston who has been following the case on her Web site, the Skeptical OB.

If the 26-year-old woman had been bottle-feeding her baby, “no one would have bothered to check what was in the bottle,” Tuteur said. “You can do a lot more damage by mixing formula wrong.”

Dr. Tuteur’s comments sound shocking but, in fact, there is little or no medical research on drinking and breastfeeding because “[r]esearchers cannot ethically conduct controlled research on intoxicated women who breast-feed.” Instead, experts rely on anecdotal evidence to advise against breastfeeding after drinking or drinking to the point of intoxication, but it’s not clear what the risks really are.

In addition, the police in this case did not do a breathalyzer test because an arrest on a charge of child abuse and neglect is based on all the circumstances and does not require a test. That means we don’t know how intoxicated the breastfeeding mother actually was. A further complication is that the police were at her house because the breastfeeding mother had called them to report her boyfriend had assaulted her. “A police report said she had swelling on her nose and chin and a small scratch on her left cheek.”


166 Responses to “Drinking and Breastfeeding”

  1. Another intrusion into our privacy under the guise of “protecting our children.”


    Doesn’t government have anything better to do like catch criminals or build a school?

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  2. Sonja Clapp scares me with her stupid.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  3. How about letting them drink and then pumping the breast milk? It will at least tell them how much alcohol (if any) is being transmitted. I doubt there is any at all, but I could be wrong and haven’t looked it up. I can query MedScape and a couple of other professional sources later.

    Maybe one of the MD’s here knows more and I would defer to their expertise.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  4. She brought the police into her house, with her phone call, she got … a waste of the taxpayers’ money. Breastfeeding the baby while drunk as opposed to what? The baby growing up to be the same kind of trash as his mommy and daddy?

    nk (e98769)

  5. What kind of breathalyzer contraption fits on a breast?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  6. You could probably get 100 guys to volunteer within the hour…

    I’ve never understood the fascination, but I’ll leave that to Freud

    SteveG (c99c5c)

  7. SteveG – I’d need pictures.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  8. What kind of breathalyzer contraption fits on a breast?

    I believe that would be a contraption called a breastalyzer. Not to be confused with the mamm-o-meter which was all the rage back in the days of rack and ruin.

    political agnostic (375415)

  9. You know what, if you think about it, women have been breast-feeding while drunk for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

    And, men have been beating their wives for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

    Both are wrong and should be condemned. That’s why we have laws and, more importantly, social rules about how to raise children.

    I’m prepared to be flamed and criticized for what I’m about to type, but when you take away the social condemnation and put it in the hands of the state, the end result is this type of behavior.

    How anyone acts, unless they are insane, is based more on mores than laws. The law can regulate, but behavior is based on morals.

    Ag80 (3acbfd)

  10. There are just too many really really easy jokes about this one.

    JD (611195)

  11. Ag80 –
    beating wives have a clear effect– harmed women.

    We’re trying to find if anyone has bothered to find out if breast milk while drunk is actually hazardous.

    (I’m finding that there are a LOT of BS stuff aimed at pregnant women out there– spent a lot of time digging to the bottom of “don’t drink tonic water when you’re pregnant! Danger, danger!” stuff, only to find that one study in Germany found that women who drank over a liter, every day, their entire pregnancy…had children who had withdrawal symptoms for a day or two.)

    Foxfier (db0f51)

  12. Okay, there is alcohol in breast milk after drinking which clears in about the same length of time it takes to clear the bloodstream, probably a bit longer though. The levels are much lower of course, but can cause sleep disturbances in the baby.

    Strangely, there is a test kit available. Must be more of a concern than I’ve ever heard about, but we didn’t treat a lot of (as in none that I recall) nursing mothers. I do a lot of journal reading though and have never come across this before. Thanks for bringing it up DRJ.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  13. By the way, can’t link to MedScape because it requires registration which is only open to MD’s, RN’s, etc…

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  14. foxfier, it’s not really BS stuff. It’s pretty reasonable, but based on assumptions. I assume that microwaving children is bad for them, too. I can’t provide a citation to that effect.

    Alcohol is hard for the liver to process. While the liver is dealing with alcohol, it has a really hard time doing the rest of its work. there are probably a million other effects of alcohol on a person. Babies aren’t like adults and have to be treated with a lot of care.

    Given that we have proof that alcohol damages development of humans, such as with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, wouldn’t it be quite bizarre if alcohol, at some level, wasn’t quite harmful to development of slightly older and external fetuses?

    Anyway, I think the absence of a direct study does not leave us without the ability to make a great prediction.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  15. Juan,

    Unfortunately, there is a citation. :(

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  16. JEEEZ.

    Well, I guess we can see why Cyrus sued his parent, after all.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  17. Stashiu,

    A breast milk alcohol test kit? I had no idea that existed.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  18. Juan –
    I can provide evidence that microwaves are harmful to living beings. The same can’t be said for the level of alcohol in the breast milk of a woman of unknown intoxication.

    Saying “tonic water is dangerous to drink while pregnant!” is right up there with the folks who tell you not to eat poppy seed muffins or you’ll pop for opium and go to jail.
    It’s flat bull feces.

    It’d be easy if it was a case of “the woman poured Guinness into a baby bottle and handed it to the kid.”

    Instead, we have “the cops say she was drunk and dangerous, but didn’t even prove she was drunk, let alone that her actions were dangerous, and are claiming something for which we have no scientific evidence.”

    By your logic of FAS, shouldn’t it be logical to conclude that slightly more mature fetuses– that is, 21 year old humans– should not be allowed to drink alcohol? It could induce delayed FAS. Hey, no evidence, but let’s use the law to force it, anyways.

    Ban all possible teratogenic substances! And don’t require any actual *proof* before prosecuting folks, either.

    Foxfier (db0f51)

  19. I’m afraid to look. Do you think there is a breast milk marijuana test kit?

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  20. I apologize if I was not clear.

    Breast-feeding a baby while drunk is wrong.

    I have no idea if it causes damage to the baby, but that’s not the point.

    I do know this is not a new situation. Laws can help correct the problem, but social conventions have more of an effect. That’s all I’m saying.

    When laws replace common sense, all you have is a nanny state that controls every aspect of life.

    Ag80 (3acbfd)

  21. DRJ, it’s a news story about a mother microwaving a child to death.

    Foxfier, 21 year olds are able to manage risks to themselves. They can skydive and drive motorcycles without helmets.

    Babies are not able to make these decisions and so we, as a society, have decided that precaution is a good idea.

    I am not talking about tonic water, but rather alcohol. And a baby is very similar to a grown fetus… doesn’t have fully functional filtration like a 21 year old might have, for example.

    Are you really claiming that alcohol probably doesn’t harm kids? Or are you claiming we don’t know for certain?

    Juan (bd4b30)

  22. ag80, that’s a hell of a good point. A kid under the complete control of a parent who would breastfeed while drunk is probably still in a lot of trouble if that parent is prevented from doing so.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  23. There is a weird disconnect here. The mother is arrested and tried, pleads guilty and awaits sentencing for having imbibed while nursing (or prior to nursing) her six week old baby, with no alcohol levels determined; and yet a mother with a growing baby in the womb – which may be perhaps even more vulnerable to the impact of alcohol impairing it’s development, is perfectly free to drink as much as she wants. She could be get hammered every night and there would not be legal recourse. Or would there?

    Dana (8d88ef)

  24. DRJ, I looked. Don’t.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  25. I’m afraid to look. Do you think there is a breast milk marijuana test kit?
    Comment by DRJ — 7/6/2009 @ 10:25 pm

    Apparently not a home version, but it does pass through and the baby will test positive for two-three weeks afterwards. These were google-results though, not MedScape, so I don’t vouch for the accuracy. Seems plausible though.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  26. Dana, a few years ago, Austin’s local NBC news station had a story about how it might be OK to drink a little win while pregnant. Might not be, but might be. the level of emotion that some of the guests on the program were showing was so bizarre. Of all the hills to die on, the ‘maybe I’m not screwing up this baby, and I really like martinis!’ hill seems an odd one to select.

    But fetuses are somehow entirely different than young babies. In no way I can determine, but legally, yes.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  27. Silly peon… What was she thinking, assuming she had some sort of right to privacy?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  28. “I’m afraid to look. Do you think there is a breast milk marijuana test kit?”

    DRJ – An argument I heard in a rural court by a stoner for a bad urine drop was that he had been eating venison and that the deer must have been eating the marijuana plants the local growers had planted. The Judge did not buy it, not for a minute.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  29. Ummm… she pled guilty and the story mentions that the drunken breast-feeding was not the only thing considered.

    Authorities insist the woman’s decision to breast-feed was not the only factor in her arrest.

    “This case is more than just the breast-feeding. It was the totality of the circumstances,” said Grand Forks Police Lt. Rahn Farder. “It is quite unusual for a mother to be breast-feeding her child as we are conducting an investigation, whether she was intoxicated or not.”

    She must have been really hammered along with other evidence of neglect.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  30. One article I read also stated that she had an arrest record, but didn’t elaborate.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  31. Dana:

    Good point.

    Under the current wisdom, a baby unless delivered at the end of its nine-month term, is nothing more than a mass of cell tissue.

    However, when it’s born, it is indeed a human that needs protection from any harm.

    Philosophically, I’m not opposed to abortion in certain situations. But politically, I believe it is not a federal matter.

    Nonetheless, Dana’s post raises a very interesting question.

    Ag80 (3acbfd)

  32. Correction: she had an arrest a criminal record…

    Dana (8d88ef)

  33. DRJ, my #24 was in response to your ‘afraid to look’. I looked at Stashiu3’s citation in #15. Wish I hadn’t.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  34. Dana,

    My comment mixed microwaves and test kits, but I didn’t want to look because I’ve seen other microwave cases before (here and here).

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  35. Sorry Dana (who is prettier than adjective-Dana or so I’ve been told),

    I should have put a description and warning instead of just a frowny-face. There’s nothing graphic there, but it is nauseating to think about. Please accept my sincere apology.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  36. Back in the day, a new mother would indicate to the nursing staff after delivery that she intended to breast feed. The nurses would then give instruction and help teach the new mother what to do. For me, the doctor happened to stop by during this first feeding/training session and he told me that I needed to drink at least one beer each day to help with milk production.

    Ideas and times have sure changed in the last 40 years.

    Sara (Pal2Pal) (84fd4f)

  37. It seems a matter of simple logic that an intoxicated woman has no business even so much as holding a baby given what we know about the behavior of intoxicated people.

    The police should have done a breathalyzer test so as to establish the level of her intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Regardless of the technicalities of alcohol being passed through breast milk, I can’t believe that no one hear is disturbed by the fact that this woman had no problem getting drunk while she was the primary caregiver for an infant.

    What would you say if you came home from an evening out with your wife, and you found your babysitter wasted while your infant was crawling around on the floor?

    Are you seriously telling me that you wouldn’t do anything about it other than send that babysitter home with a stern warning not to do it again?

    The woman should have been charged with child endangerment, and the child should have been placed with more responsible family members until she figured out that her responsibility as a parent is first and foremost to her child even if that means she has to swear off drinking. If you can’t figure that out, then you have no business being a parent.

    Jim B (3552e7)

  38. […] A North Dakota woman has pleaded guilty to child neglect and faces a possible five years in prison. But was the baby endangered? [AP/Austin American-Statesman via DRJ/Patterico] […]

    Drinking and breastfeeding (1562ea)

  39. Ag80 – you are exactly right. It is the piling on of laws, and the removal of social stigmas that have led us to enact more laws and revile morals and what used to be called common sense.
    We have allowed our country to be run by lawyers instead of good, moral sense. It’s not that we don’t need laws, but laws (I know this sounds funny) only lead to more criminals. Laws don’t teach people to act morally or with common sense.
    This is, of course, a big-picture view. When looking at the nitty-gritty details, we need laws to control the aberrant behavior. The aberrant behavior should be the very small minority when looking at the entire populous. Yet today, it is all-too-very-common, so we create more and more laws in hopes of stifling the behavior.
    Bring back the scarlet letters and public stocks.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  40. you all are missing the forest. the reason* she was arrested and prosecuted was that both cop and prosecutor were afraid that they’d be ruined when (not if, but when) this kid turned up dead or in the emergency room and the news came out that they had given the mother a free pass. Much better to prosecute now than to lose their jobs later.

    * yes, I’m guessing, but it fits.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  41. There’s a story on Drudge about some poor lady in Beverly Hills who is facing criminal charges, under a non-existent law (honest Injun), for feeding stray cats.

    nk (e98769)

  42. From the sound of it, the child was in big trouble from the moment of conception on. Attitudes about alcohol during pregnancy have changed greatly in 50 years but no one in those days anticipated the decline in common sense that has occurred.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  43. steve sturm, I am delighted by that arrangement. Prosecutors and cops should want to keep their jobs, and prosecutors and cops who don’t press charges when they think behavior is potentially going to lead to deadly results and headlines probably should not keep their jobs.

    Juan, who is an insomniac (bd4b30)

  44. Of course, now they’ve got the problem that she’s breast-feeding the infant jail food.

    htom (412a17)

  45. I am pretty sure that Vivid Videos made a movie or 20 about this topic …

    JD (8592a8)

  46. My mother related to me several times that while breast feeding she used to down a couple shots if I was being fussy. Not for her benefit, she said, but because it would calm me down. She thought nothing of it, and she was a doctor. Just sayin’ that there are levels to this.

    Thomas (acd353)

  47. Which raises the question: Can you ply your wife or girlfriend with vodka after the birth of a child and drink white russians from her breasts?

    I see a Myth Busters episode over this!

    Joe (17aeff)

  48. Myth Busters: Adam will ply his wife with drinks, and Jamie will do the “sampling.”

    Okay, that is very wrong!

    Joe (a32cff)

  49. She thought nothing of it, and she was a doctor. Just sayin’ that there are levels to this.

    Boy, I agree.
    I pumped and tossed when I drank while nursing, but a lot of women don’t. I just hate to go down this road where a nursing woman’s choices become public property.

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  50. This is all kind of icky. The dangers this lady posed to the welfare of a child likely pale in comparison to the likelihood of harm from breast feeding in such a manner. At any rate, criminalizing bad parenting, while on some level may feel right, is really not a path we want to go down, unless we want to cede even more of our lives to the legislative douchebags.

    JD (14288f)

  51. Juan: I have no problem with prosecuting those who they legitimately felt posed a threat to society, but the fear of being sued/criticized has led to punishing those who aren’t real threats.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  52. Good point, Steve. I honestly just long for prohibition and formula. I’m a huge F1 fan.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  53. If the State is going to take such an overbearing interest in the welfare of the kiddies, perhaps they should just make all newborns wards of the state and institutionalize them until matriculation?
    It worked so well for Rumania!
    Leftist do-gooders seem to be like vampires:
    They literally suck the blood from the productive people,
    and the only way to rid yourself of them is to figuratively drive a stake through their heart.

    AD - RtR/OS! (17371b)

  54. AD, there is a role for discretion on the part of the cop and the prosecutor. As said, they didn’t yank her merely for having any alcohol in her system when breast feeding. That was just an interesting detail in a world of awful.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  55. If Sonja Clapp went back just a couple generations and seen how they done it back in the day her nazi little Sonja Clapp head would explode I think.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  56. oh. I think actually that’s Vivid Entertainment, JD. Cause of they do toys and publishing and … stuff.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  57. One of my cousins was discussing baby-care, and we cousins noted that the one thing we had in common was that our moms drank gin and smoked Kents while pregnant and nursing. I think we have gone just a wee bit overboard in protecting kids, here in our 2% of global population. At least a billion kids still sleep in the same room where their parents are busy making the next kid after having a little cachaça, rice wine or whatever.

    carlitos (730478)

  58. After women have babies, whether by C-section or otherwise, they are usually prescribed pain meds, (Tylenol with codeine, percocet, etc.). They’re given a prescription to go home with that lasts about 4-6 weeks. Explain to me how that is ok but drinking isn’t? Would it have been better if she was drugged vs drunk?

    sherri (1a37c6)

  59. Sherri, that’s a good question, but it’s completely possible that some drugs are better than others, and pretty likely that a prescription is a lot better than higher levels of drinking.

    There is no direct equivalence between the two. And it’s also possible that the drugs you’re talking about aren’t good for the baby either, but that in our culture, we accept that for convenience.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  60. Juan,
    Granted, pain meds and alcohol are different substances, but they both secrete in the breastmilk, they’re both metabolize by the liver. The issue I’ve seen other commenters have is with the infants immature liver being able to process the substance. Speaking as an IBCLC (lactation consultant for laymen) there is zero evidence of alcohol use while breastfeeding having anymore lasting effects on an infant than the pain meds I listed previously. The standard caution we give women is that as long as you feel the effects of alcohol, it’s in your milk.
    I still see women weekly that are being told to have a beer or glass of wine to help with milk letdown.
    And we accept formula for convenience yet it has been shown to have a correlation to increased childhood obesity, diabetes, and some cancers. Should we start arresting women for formula feeding?

    “Authorities insist police were right to make the arrest, even if the mother had not been breast-feeding, out of concern for the child’s welfare.”

    Wasn’t her husband home? When did it become illegal for me to have a drink or 6 in my own home when my kids were in bed? Apparently beating your wife isn’t a danger to the child in the home.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  61. With all due respect…


    Who cares? What do you know? how many classes at the graduate level of molecular biology did you teach? Have you done a study on this? This is something that experts have trouble with.

    I am so sick of our government, local, state, etc, giving titles to people for no bloody good reason.

    I’m not upset with sherri, just the idea that a lactatolgist even is a real thing.

    Sherri, there is a degree of common sense mistreatment that should bring the police to arrest people. Drinking 6 drinks, to use your example, and then breast feeding, is absolutely one of them. That’s lynchable, in my book.

    Now, can you explain to me what the physiological difference is between a fetus who is suseptable to FAS and an infant are? Saying ‘but drugs’ is not good enough. I am quite sure, just from looking at some kids who got a lot of medication in their breast milk, that drugs screw kids up too.

    but this woman was arrested for neglect that went beyond the drinking. Of course, any mother who drinks, does drugs, or hits her kid with a frying pan while breastfeeding is probably a jerk.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  62. IBCLC– International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. There’s only about 20000 of us worldwide because it’s very rigorous training and education. I specialize in lactation. I teach breastfeeding to women. I’ve helped adoptive mothers breastfeed. I’m also an RN that works in maternity. I’ve breastfed 3 kids. How many have you breastfed?

    I am just pointing out that the government has profoundly overstepped it’s bounds. I could find reasons to arrest half the moms out there with the standard of flimsy excuses the police have use in this case.

    And I wasn’t talking about having 6 drinks then breastfeeding. I was refering to the statement in the article that even if the mom wasn’t breastfeeding they would have arrested her because she had been drinking. Why? Why is illegal to drink when you have kids?

    sherri (1a37c6)

  63. Talking about someone who breast fed at the public tit for way too long…

    Alert, Alert, Alert:

    Ward Churchil gets no job and no money.

    This helps partially restore my faith in humanity.

    Joe (a32cff)

  64. sherri,
    The same reason it will probably soon be illegal to smoke when you have kids. Read Hillary Clinton’s book for a vision of our Brave New World, where the government helps you raise better kids. She talked about having breastfeeding and parenting videos playing in the DMV. It was jarring.

    It kind of reminds of of a place where your kids were encouraged to denounce you, and then be sent to an orphanage where the State would raise them to be proper citizens. Wait, that would never happen.

    carlitos (730478)

  65. We are having beer can chicken tonight. I wonder what that means?

    carlitos (730478)

  66. Juan
    I never claimed to ba a lactologist, I’m not even sure what that is.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  67. I was joking. Sheesh.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  68. I don’t remember anyone teaching me how to breastfeed, back in ’68 when my first was born. Just seemed to come naturally.

    Joe – Re: Ward Churchill. I said a “way to go” on that one.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  69. Pat,
    No one taught me how to back in ’00 either, but you’d be shocked at the number of women who are misinformed and/or give up because of simple, easy to remedy problems. There’s still a majority of women who don’t even want to try because they believe that it will hurt because their mother’s cousin or so and so had a bad experience.It would be too long a post to go into all the ridiculous stories I’ve heard.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  70. After women have babies, whether by C-section or otherwise, they are usually prescribed pain meds, (Tylenol with codeine, percocet, etc.). They’re given a prescription to go home with that lasts about 4-6 weeks. Explain to me how that is ok but drinking isn’t? Would it have been better if she was drugged vs drunk?

    Where are these doctors who prescribe percocet for 6 weeks post-partum? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  71. Juan – Lighten up.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  72. Oh, I’m plenty light.

    Bear in mind that I’m responding to an attitude that this is some kind of oppression.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  73. They do prescribe them for that long, esp for C-sections. Even if you run out by week 2-3, if you call them, chances are they’ll write for more. I see it all the time. Mostly women are encouraged to get by with ibuprofen, but it really depends on the doc.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  74. I’m with sherri on this, it is time to tell the Nanny-State to BUTT OUT!
    Otherwise, we will end up as Rumania.

    AD - RtR/OS! (17371b)

  75. Juan,

    This is oppression. It’s oppression by ignorance (of the cops). Keep in mind that I’m not defending the mom getting drunk and breastfeeding, I’m defending the intrusion into private life by ignorant people who don’t even substantiate their claim with a breathalyzer, or science for that matter.
    And, this is what makes me really angry, nowhere have I seen a report that they arrested the husband that was hitting her. How is violent behavior not a greater threat to the child?

    sherri (1a37c6)

  76. It is oppression, Juan. It’s almost like a consensus here that yes it is oppression. This judge person is valuing this woman’s freedom very very cheaply relative to a one time offense of nonquantifiable harms. It’s not just oppression it’s unjust oppression. Tell her hey look lady cut it out with the breastfeeding your baby when you’re drunk ok. Then everyone can get on with their day. A baby person isn’t better off with mama in jail as a general rule I wouldn’t think. You can get horrible staph infections in jail.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  77. Was “gripe water” ever popular over here in the US ?

    Back in the 1950s in the UK, Dinnefords was a well-known brand of gripe water (mums used it to try to help fussy or colicky babies) … it got a bit of a reputation because mums would feed a teaspoonful to their baby then a couple of swigs for themselves – and, since it was something like 4.75% ethanol (9.5 proof) – and some mums were up to several bottles of it a day …

    One has to suspect that the proof of lactated breast milk has to be low or the milk would curdle (try mixing beer (not lite) and regular milk, and you’ll see) …

    We should remember actively that there is a reason our species is still around … babies are remarkably resilient for the most part …

    And we should also remember that babie who are sheltered too much have a much higher risk of succumbing to the first exposure to some thing from which they spent their upbringing being sheltered … (“boy-in-a-bubble”) …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  78. Sherri, I agree that the statement is troubling. If she wasn’t breastfeeding, they would have arrested her anyway? Why? It makes me believe there had to be more evidence of her intoxication than what the paper revealed. Was she having troubling holding the baby safely, angry with it, stumble while holding it? And what did her prior criminal record involve?

    Overall, the information was limited to know much for sure. But it is scary to think you can be arrested for drinking in the privacy of your home.

    However, my ultimate problem with this whole thing is at #23, but that’s a whole different can of inconsistent worms.

    IBCLC? Who cares? What do you know? how many classes at the graduate level of molecular biology did you teach? Have you done a study on this? This is something that experts have trouble with.

    Harsh for a serious commenter with a unique insight.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  79. Harsh for a serious commenter with a unique insight

    Should be: Harsh for a serious commenter with a unique insight (Sherri) from a serious commenter (Juan).

    Dana (8d88ef)

  80. Juan – It’s just pretty clear you don’t know WTF you’re talking about. Just sayin’.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  81. Comment by Alasdair — 7/7/2009 @ 4:37 pm

    A Hundred years ago, a folk remedy for colicky babies, was to go down to the drug-store and get a small bottle of Coke syrup from the fountain.
    This was when CocaCola still had traces of cocaine in it. I don’t think it did anything for the colic, but it quieted them down and let the Mother, and Father, sleep.

    AD - RtR/OS! (17371b)

  82. “nowhere have I seen a report that they arrested the husband that was hitting her.”

    There was no husband but a boyfriend, and he was not home when police arrived. It went on to say that he had not yet been charged with anything.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  83. That’s gross about the curdling.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  84. I used the term husband because I didn’t want to have to write out the PC “significant other” every time.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  85. Comment by sherri — 7/7/2009 @ 4:52 pm

    Yeah, I used boyfriend because I didn’t want to write out the not p.c. sperm donor every time.


    Dana (8d88ef)

  86. I tend to view every discussion about women’s “breasts” as pornographic. :)

    The Emperor (1b037c)

  87. It’s added another dynamic to the story that he wasn’t there. Some states have a mandatory arrest requirement for domestic violence calls. If they get called out, someone’s going to jail. Does ND have this?
    Just another thought my husband came up with. Was she really intoxicated or did she possibly have a concussion from the beating and appeared drunk?

    sherri (1a37c6)

  88. I know she pled guilty, but it could’ve been both alcohol and a strong hit to the head that made her appear worse than she was.
    Did she plead her case out for expediency sake?

    sherri (1a37c6)

  89. sherri,

    She pleaded guilty. Unless her attorney was completely incompetent (or Cyrus Sanai, but I repeat myself) if that was a plausible defense I expect it would have gone to trial.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  90. A potential 5-year sentence is not really expedient. Just sayin’ :)

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  91. Then would her prior criminal record have made a difference in outcome?

    Dana (8d88ef)

  92. Yeah, her attorney is incompetent. And Cyrus would never do something like that. Neither would I.

    nk (e98769)

  93. But the main reason people are convinced to plead guilty is for the lighter sentence, like time served. Is she taking a gamble knowing that if she does go to trial her criminal past might be admitted and she could face the full 5 years?

    So that means that if I get drunk in my own home where my children are, and then my husband runs to the store for milk, I can go to jail for 5 years?

    sherri (1a37c6)

  94. Good question. I would ask nk or one of the hosts how likely that is. She may have cut a deal which will become apparent at sentencing.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  95. They do prescribe them for that long, esp for C-sections. Even if you run out by week 2-3, if you call them, chances are they’ll write for more. I see it all the time. Mostly women are encouraged to get by with ibuprofen, but it really depends on the doc.

    I’m objecting to your original statement, After women have babies, whether by C-section or otherwise, they are usually prescribed pain meds.

    Perhaps I’m being picky, but I believe it is much more accurate to say women are sometimes given prescriptions. Certainly not usually.

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  96. Dana
    you’re much more succint than I am.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  97. The lady was engaging in two legal activities. Drinking alcohol and feeding a baby. WTF is she guilty of?

    nk (e98769)

  98. MayBee,
    How about this: After women have a C-section they are usually prescribed pain meds for 4-6 weeks, after a normal vaginal delivery they are sometimes prescribed pain meds for 2-6 weeks.


    sherri (1a37c6)

  99. Women who have C-sections didn’t just have a baby, they had major surgery and a baby to care for, hence the usually.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  100. A little better.

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  101. The lady was engaging in two legal activities. Drinking alcohol and feeding a baby. WTF is she guilty of?
    Comment by nk — 7/7/2009 @ 5:14 pm

    Drinking alcohol is legal. Driving a car is legal. Doing them together, not so much.

    Point is, we don’t know enough of the circumstances besides the drinking. Having a drink just before or during breast-feeding may be unwise in some cases, but that doesn’t mean the government should be able to arrest the mother as an abuser. Taking an absolute position on this, either way, is rather foolish. A mother might have a half-glass of wine with dinner, or she might get ripped before every feeding… these are two different situations.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  102. A mother might have a half-glass of wine with dinner, or she might get ripped before every feeding… these are two different situations.

    Both legal, as far as I know. Do you want to make it illegal to drink and nurse?

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  103. If I were defending the case, just off the top:

    Demand jury trial (winner);
    Motion to dismiss the indictment (fifty-fifty);
    Fourth Amendment motion to suppress the arrest (loser);
    Fifth/Sixth Amendment motion to suppress any statements (loser);
    Motion in limine to suppress the cop’s opinion that she was drunk (winner).

    Bottom line, Not Guilty.

    nk (e98769)

  104. Do you want to make it illegal to drink and nurse?
    Comment by MayBee — 7/7/2009 @ 5:24 pm

    Nope. For just that reason. Who defines “ripped” and how do you enforce it without giving the government permission to get even more intrusive than they already are?

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  105. Demand jury trial (winner)

    Why a winner? Wouldn’t sympathies be toward a defenseless baby at the mercy of it’s drunk mother with a criminal record and lives with a bfriend who beats her and insists on nursing the baby (while drunk)? Wouldn’t it be very easy for a prosecutor to play this up?

    Dana (8d88ef)

  106. The system can only do so many jury trials. Do you want this case on the jury calendar or do you want the gangbanger who shot an eight-year old girl in a gang turf war?

    nk (e98769)

  107. Women who have C-sections didn’t just have a baby, they had major surgery and a baby to care for, hence the usually.

    It’s the “baby to care for” part that makes me question the 6 weeks of percocet. You can have all kinds of major surgery without 6 weeks of major pain killers. I just don’t like the picture you painted that most new mothers are drug zombies for six weeks. You may see it all the time- that hasn’t been my experience.

    It’s beside the point anyway, so I’ll drop it.

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  108. Taking a couple percocet after surgery doesn’t turn you into a “drug zombie”, it does however control pain so you can care for your baby.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  109. Sarah Palin for sure wasn’t a drug zombie or the media would have found out and made a big deal out of it.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  110. Palin probably gave birth then was field dressing a moose a week later.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  111. while breastfeeding.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  112. I like breasts, and also percocet. Is that wrong?

    /no potential elected office, ever

    carlitos (730478)

  113. Comment by carlitos — 7/7/2009 @ 7:10 pm

    Or, you could run for POTUS! 😉

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  114. for TOTUS anyway

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  115. Drinking while breastfeeding has essentially no risks to the infant, apart from the risks inherent in drinking while holding the baby (e.g., you might fall on it, or pass out and not hear the smoke detector.)

    If you are pregnant, and have an alcohol level of 0.20% (about as high as you can have before risk of fatal overdose becomes high, and 2.5 times the drunk-driving level of 0.08%), then your fetus has the same alcohol level of 0.20%. This is very bad.

    But if you are breastfeeding and have an alcohol level of 0.20%, the fetus does not attain this level; instead, the milk you express will have this level. The infant’s blood alcohol level will barely be measurable (0.01% if it rapidly drinks 1/20 of its own weight of milk). Furthermore, many “nonalcoholic” foods and drinks you might give your baby (like fresh fruit or fresh cider) will often have an alcohol level higher than 0.20%, so we know there is nothing unusual about these microdoses. (Beer is about 4.5%; “near-beer” promises to be under 0.5%.)

    That said, I am not criticizing the police in this case; I would certainly not feel comfortable leaving a baby with a drunk woman in a volatile relationship.

    DWPittelli (2de73b)

  116. Nothing against the district attorney and public defenders out there in Grand Forks, North Dakota… but geez. Maybe they are angling to lead the Obamacare health scofflaw zero tolerance enforcement team.

    I read somewhere that Grand Forks was in the top 10% of “least stressful” cities in the USA.
    Maybe the cops considered this woman to be contributing to stress in the community.

    SteveG (c99c5c)

  117. “Yeah, her attorney is incompetent. And Cyrus would never do something like that. Neither would I.”

    nk – Absolutely correct. Cyrus would blame the entire sordid incident on Judge Kozinski.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  118. that is a very elegant explanation Mr. Pittelli thank you very much

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  119. I see a Myth Busters episode over this!

    Comment by Joe — 7/7/2009 @ 8:38 am

    By odd coincidence, Kari Byron gave birth nine days ago. If we see a news report in the next few days about Kari beating her co-workers up over a proposed myth to be busted, we’ll know what it was. ]:-)

    M. Scott Eiland (5ccff0)

  120. DWPitelli,

    Everything you say makes sense, and I agree with your conclusion about the police officers’ actions. However, one of the things that jumped out at me in looking at this issue is how we don’t really know much about breastfeeding and drinking. We can make some informed judgments but the fact is drinking and breastfeeding may be benign (as you seem to suggest) or it could be dangerous for reasons we don’t understand because there hasn’t been enough research. In addition, there could be variations among susceptible subjects that we’re not aware of.

    Like you and others, my take from reading this is that the police acted based on the mother’s behavior more than the fact they thought she was drunk. Perhaps she was wobbly/falling to the point it endangered the baby, and if so I think that could be a reasonable basis for police intervention. But even though we agree on the outcome, I’m curious where your research comes from and why you seem so sure that drinking and breastfeeding is not a risk to a baby.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  121. Another thing the article did not mention, which may or may not have influenced the arrest decision, is that the mother was also taking prescription medication.

    It doesn’t state what the medication was but is it possible that it was something that if combined with alcohol, could have increased the possibility of harm to the baby? Mike K?

    As sherri above informed us, pain killers can still be taken 6 weeks after birth or longer, and we don’t know whether this was a vaginal birth or a c-section. And don’t know what the prescription was for.

    There are more questions and not enough given information to do anything but vaguely speculate it seems.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  122. DRJ, did I get a comment stuck in spam filter? I don’t see it but tried to re-post and it said I had already made the comment…

    [Dana – There was a comment in the filter. It’s now #121, and thanks for commenting so I could look for it. — DRJ]

    Dana (8d88ef)

  123. I’m thinking the cops decided they were experts on breastfeeding while drunk when they should have been neutral.
    However, the cops need to be able to decide if a parent is too drunk to protect a six week old infant.

    This case should have revolved around: she appeared too drunk to take care of her infant.
    I realize that by nurturing the child with breast feeding, she was showing she could indeed take care of an infant and in order to counter that, the best way would be to “make breast feeding bad”

    This is a disaster on a personal level and on a national policy issue level

    SteveG (c99c5c)

  124. I should not have said “the best way”… it was actually a poor option, but in the end an effective one due to circumstances unknown.
    My guess is that the woman has a lot of stuff going on her attorney didn’t want upfront and center…. now we get “bad case = bad law”

    SteveG (c99c5c)

  125. However, one of the things that jumped out at me in looking at this issue is how we don’t really know much about breastfeeding and drinking.

    See the excellent works of Thomas W. Hale, R.Ph. Ph.D., member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, and author of a book every breastfeeding mother and every medical person who has anything to do with breastfeeding mothers, and apparently ever cop on a domestic violence case should have- Medications and Mothers’ Milk. The testing has been done. It’s not anecdotal evidence. There is NOTHING unethical about testing the milk of nursing mothers, nor about testing their baby’s blood after they have nursed as usual.

    Lawyers always advise clients to just roll over adn play dead for any CPS type accusation, so her guilty plea is meaningless to me.

    IF she was drunk, then she should have been arrested on that basis- child endangerment, and the cops shouldn’t have said a thing about her breastfeeding. IT would have been just as dangerous if she was feeding formula or taking care of a five year old.

    IF she was drunk, I would like more evidence for that than the accusation of two police officers who didn’t bother with a blood test or a breathalyzer and who obviously are a little bit ignorant.

    deputyheadmistress (067f99)

  126. Obviously ignorant because of what?

    Seriously… they need to test the milk and only arrest this horrible mother if her milk is beyond the bad level? Wasn’t she also doing drugs?

    Thomas Hale notes that nursing while drunk leads to psychomotor problems, poor growth, and babies drinking much less milk (they reject it).

    He also notes that chronic drinkers simply shouldn’t breastfeed at all.

    His test for when a mother can breastfeed is when she no longer feels the effects of alcohol. So it’s apparent that this drunk mother was well beyond the safe level.

    Thomas Hale is indeed apparently pretty smart about this stuff. I think he would agree the cops have helped the child.

    I get so angry about child abuse. I don’t like the nanny state telling me or a mom what she can consume. But there is a line you can cross. When a person can actually tell you’ve been drinking, you have crossed to the point where you shouldn’t nurse.

    Hale also noted that beer helped with milk production, but it was the barley, not the alcohol. That’s an interesting aside that supports what someone said above.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  127. Wasn’t she also doing drugs?

    There wasn’t anything mentioned about recreational drugs but there was mention that the mother told paramedics she was on prescription medication.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  128. deputyheadmistress,

    Thanks for the link. Does the testing included in the book cover alcohol? It looks like it only covers medications.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  129. DRJ, I found the following as a citation for a few studies talking only about alcohol in milk.

    Hale, T. Medications and Mothers’ Milk. 2006. 322-323

    Juan (bd4b30)

  130. But even though we agree on the outcome, I’m curious where your research comes from and why you seem so sure that drinking and breastfeeding is not a risk to a baby.

    In my opinion, it must never ever be illegal to nurse a baby when drunk, whatever the alcohol level.

    There are so many ways to be a bad parent that are not illegal. What a woman puts into her own body – especially a legal substance- when she is nursing can not become an issue if it is used in a way deemed unfit by some authority.

    Women have to be able to maintain some legal autonomy over our own bodies, even when nursing. The downside of not acknowledging this right is monumental.

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  131. THANK GOD Maybee’s opinion is not the law (yet).

    Babies have rights. If a mom doesn’t like that, that’s just tough. Other drivers have a right that I not drink while driving. It’s not such a bad thing. I can just drink when I’m not driving. A mom can drink while she’s not nursing.

    Yeah, there are so many ways I can be a bad driver that aren’t illegal specifically. Just as there are many ways to be a bad mother that are only illegal in the basic ‘neglect’ and ‘abuse’ statutes, whatever they may be.

    Maybee, my apologies if you are being sarcastic and not being a sociopath. It’s kinda like Palin… there’s no level of hatred of praise that will be effective satire, because it’s believable. There’s no level of selfishness in anti-child rights advocates that won’t be somewhat believable. After all, some ethicists earnestly advocate post birth abortion. Which is probably a better fate than being the captive infant of a mother who thinks it’s some kind of monumental right that she be able to nurse while drunk.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  132. There is value to both sides of this issue and the law has to take that into account. We want people to have autonomy over their bodies, including nursing mothers, but we also want to protect their babies. The law has to draw a line somewhere and that line may be drawn differently in different communities, or it may be enforced differently by different law enforcement agencies. I appreciate discussions like this that help me think about what those competing interests are.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  133. I’m glad you do, DRJ, but I honestly have such a damn hard time not going crazy. I mean, the reality is that the law doesn’t really reach into the hearts or behind the closed doors. I usually think that’s a great thing.

    But sit on a family court docket, or just mentor a kid who happens to be … off when it comes to brain function, and you can tell his diet is awful and his mother would need some kind of impossible proof it’s doing harm before changing.

    Nursing a baby is simply the most wholesome pact a mother can make to a child. It’s not some annoying problem to schedule after happy hour. Being a mother and a father is extremely serious business. And being a mother is a more physical arrangement. The mother has to be healthy before pregnancy, during, and as long after as nursing takes place. The dad needs to … quit smoking?

    It’s not a fair thing, I guess, that dad can drink while mom cannot. I’d much rather both be asked to stop than the mother be given 100% license over her body. When you are nursing, ladies, your baby has a right to you staying off crack. Evolution was not a feminist.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  134. IBCLC– International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. There’s only about 20000 of us worldwide because it’s very rigorous training and education. I specialize in lactation. I teach breastfeeding to women. I’ve helped adoptive mothers breastfeed. I’m also an RN that works in maternity. I’ve breastfed 3 kids. How many have you breastfed?

    Ah, a tit-Nazi. When our daughter was born, our tit-Nazi insisted that the daughter was going to latch on to that tit and suck or else starve to death, because once she got the bottle she would never get off. Well she did not latch on. Thankfully, I was there, and my wife is a person who knows how to deal with nurses, and we had already bought the breast pump, so the kid did get some nourishment, eventually. And, yes, it was cesarian, and there were all kinds of weird chemicals in my wife’s body (epidural) and she was on Vicodin afterwards.

    [nk], Attorney at Law (e98769)

  135. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with your lactation person. I had a bad experience with one myself and that memory now guides how I work. I always follow what the mom wants, just try to reassure her with the facts.

    And I prefer the term ‘lactavist’.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  136. I don’t want to harp on this IBCLC silliness. It’s apparent from reading their website’s requirements that we’re talking about something below the associate’s level of education (in and of itself), and Sherri was claiming expertise on an emergent topic of molecular biology she was completely wrong about. And disagreeing with the experts with PHDs listed later in this thread, but also disagreeing with common sense. Alcohol does damage babies at certain levels far, far below 6 drinks.

    It’s hard to be an RN. Probably, it’s hard to be an IBCLC for many hard working people who do a great service. But such people have no business saying it’s safe, chemically, to drink alcohol because drugs are prescribed. When doctors prescribe drugs to new mothers, they are controlling risks and making a lesser of two evils decision.

    Sherri, if you’re serious about telling mothers that they can drink 6 drinks while nursing, or that alcohol and drugs are equivalent, read that book.

    My point beyond that was that it’s a shame that all these certifications are used as some kind of evidence of expertise, when really, it’s a political agenda that is the basis for the argument. Some women don’t want the government to tell them what they have to do to protect their baby. But alcohol is different from drugs in general, and worse than some drugs in paticular, and Sherri’s consistent argumentation contrary to that is disturbing to me.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  137. Kumbayah, Juan and Sherri. My wife, no alchohol, only one cup of coffee a day, for six months.

    Now, my mother, I know she made wine, and she like her demitasse and shot of brandy at 5:00 p.m.. But after fifty-three years, I don’t know what I’d be asking her.

    [nk], Attorney at Law (e98769)

  138. In my limited experience with the “lactation consultants” they are evil single-minded overly zealous advocates of breast-feeding, to the extent that you are made to feel you are abusing your child if you do not, or cannot. Fortunately, my moobs cannot lactate.

    JD (6207a2)

  139. You don’t get humor like this in the WSJ over the morning coffee.
    Thank you, one and all.

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  140. Occasional drinking has a lot of benefits. It’s not really an absolute either way.

    And I’m sure if someone held me up to enough scrutiny they would have plenty to gripe about. I’m not trying to be confrontational of anyone specifically. I just don’t like politics pretending to be science… which is becoming such a pervasive constant annoyance.

    That, and my mother didn’t hug me. :(

    Juan (bd4b30)

  141. AD – I agree.

    JD (6207a2)

  142. I think I’ve been polite in this thread, and maybe I’m a little sensitive. But so far my knowledge has been called “silliness”, compared to nazism, and been called evil. Really?
    I never professed to be a molecular biologist, but I’ve worked with one and he didn’t know the first thing about breastfeeding or infant care.
    Juan, before someone becomes an IBCLC they have to have specific ed regarding breastfeeding(including on the micro level) & hrs upon hrs of working with breastfeeding women. You have to maintain continuing ed in the breastfeeding field and recertify every 5 years, retest every 10. I’ve worked in maternitty for 12 years as well as breastfed 3 children for a total of 8 years.

    sherri (e1c1e2)

  143. I did not call you evil. I stated in my limited experience, so unless you were the lactation expert that we dealt with, I was not referring to you.

    JD (017490)

  144. No, you did not call me evil, but you used that statement to dismiss my position and my background.

    sherri (358462)

  145. I did not dismiss you or your background, unless you happen to have been the specific one that worked with Better Half.

    JD (4c3332)

  146. Some of my fondest memories are of drunken breast feeding.
    I am for it.

    papertiger (3cf898)

  147. Comment by JD — 7/8/2009 @ 8:23 am

    JD, OT…
    Why were you travelling to St.Michael Isl AK?
    Was that the jump-off point to St.Lawrence?

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  148. compared to nazism

    That was me, I guess. But, once my wife and I decided “it’s our baby”, our “lactavists” (three) were a source of amusement and “tit-Nazi” still produces a giggle in my house. And I wonder how my mother managed to feed three sons without one around to tell her how to do it.

    [nk], Attorney at Law (e98769)

  149. nk,
    Most women who consider breastfeeding normal and no big deal are able to do it without a problem. Oddly enough, the younger moms that don’t really do a lot of reading and ‘prepping’ for the baby are able to stick the kid at the breast and go. It’s usually the moms that have waited til they’re in their 30s or 40s to have their first child and have read every book on the shelf that have the most problem. Not to mention the women that have constantly heard from friends or family how difficult it is, or about the evil nazi lactation consultant that will turn you into child services if you don’t breastfeed right away without any problems.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  150. I don’t care too much about this anymore, but it’s really simple. There’s proof that alcohol damages kids. Psychomotor damage and growth inhibition, FAS, etc.

    If a lactatician claims otherwise, they are wrong. But that doesn’t matter. Nurses and assistants are not meant to understand this stuff at that level, and I don’t mean that as some kind of slight or slur.

    Whether it should be illegal or not to be a drunk mother, drunk breastfeeder, or ignorant mother, it is wrong. Whether or not the police should involve themselves in this, or to what extent, it is still morally wrong. All mothers have an absolute and unbreakable obligation to their babies. None of them really own their bodies 100%, or have the moral right to deprive their children of health at the gain of a little fun. Not PC, but certain. Men have their own responsibilities, and perhaps it is unfair in some bizarre way that nature doesn’t link the baby’s health to the fathers as much, and therefore does not create the same implications for his fun.

    Mothers who abide by this will be a hell of a lot happier, and they are better people. Relying on the ‘there’s no absolute proof!’ is simply absurd.

    And this ‘expert’ we have who is calling cops ignorant for doing what was probably difficult but right, is statement enough.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  151. AD – That was a starting point for a month-long dogsledding/camping/hunting trip.

    JD (985829)

  152. And I’ll add that Sherri sounds like a smart person who probably does a great job… at what she does, which is not clearing various drugs for use or policing cops.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  153. Sounds like you got to see some of the Iditirod Trail territory?

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  154. There was no way I was going to let my wife get up every three hours to breastfeed. (But she was pumping at work for six months.) And the baby got momma’s milk and daddy’s cuddle/heartbeat, from a bottle. But I was so damn glad to stop boiling those bottles and tubes.

    [nk], Attorney at Law (e98769)

  155. Juan,
    I don’t really know why you have such a hard time understanding my position. No where have I said it was okay to get drunk and breastfeed. I have simply pointed out that there’s not enough science behind it to know to the point of making it illegal. Hale’s info points to a study that was done with 12 women, that’s not a large enough group to be definitive.

    Would you consider a pharmacist an expert on meds? I do. But while they can tell me the lactation category of a drug, they can’t tell me what it means.

    And test questions on the IBCLC test do include microbiology questions.

    I agree that once children are born, parents are morally obligated to do their best for them. But who are the cops to tell me what that is? Where does it stop?

    Before I set this down, I’d like to state that I believe in what I do. I don’t force my services on anyone. I’ve seen women on the verge of a nervous emotional breakdown trying to breastfeed, and have been able to help them. I’ve seen adoptive mothers thrilled to find out they can still have that breastfeeding bond with their infants. Above all else I have always stressed to moms that their bond with their baby is paramount and breastfeeding an incidental. I’m constantly fighting an uphill battle with women who come in with all kinds of prejudiced views about breastfeeding, trying to give them correct information.

    And 1 more thing, speaking strictly as a nurse, never forget that when the doctors aren’t around, we’re the ones interpreting all the lab and test info to pass on to the docs, we suggest meds for them to write for, and do many more things behind the scenes propping up some of those docs to safely and compassionately care for our patients. Don’t underestimate the knowledge base there.

    sherri (1a37c6)

  156. Maybee, my apologies if you are being sarcastic and not being a sociopath

    I am not being sarcastic, and I don’t think I’m a sociopath (although, sociopaths never think that of themselves, right?).

    If there is neglect of a child, go after the neglect. We do not need some sort of law where there hasn’t been one before.

    You know, CA passed a law that was supposed to be very helpful in protecting pregnant women. A sign is to be posted in any public space when a chemical known to cause brth defects is used. Great, right?

    No. The informational stickers are everywhere. In bars, restaurants, new cars, dry cleaners, grocery stores. Everywhere. In an effort to protect pregnant women and babies, they created just another layer of bureaucracy and added to the noise.

    I’ll bet there are cleaning chemicals some moms use that are harmful to the baby, too. Perhaps there should be a law about what parents with small children can have in their home.
    And what about people who are neglectful and don’t babyproof? Your home is not your own when you have a baby. There ought to be a law!

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  157. Since this subject still seems to be around ….

    My daughter had a c-section six years ago. I asked her if she had painkillers to take. She said they gave her 10 days worth of something, she couldn’t remember what. But after one day, she did not take anymore, as it make her feel bubble-headed. She had the new baby, as well as two other young children and a husband who actually worked and felt the need to be alert for all concerned.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  158. literally for real the stickers are everywhere

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  159. MayBee is obviously a sociopath. Prolly racist too.

    JD (ad77e4)

  160. Thank goodness there is no law requiring putting stickers on sociopathic racists.

    MayBee (5ff8b1)

  161. Underlying some comments is the conventional wisdom that breastfeeding is always better for babies than formula, but a new study suggests that may not be true:

    “For years, mothers have been divided sharply on the issue of bottle-feeding versus breastfeeding. Studies have long supported the notion that breastfeeding provides infants with benefits like improved immunity to diseases, better maternal bonding and a plethora of important nutrients. But a new study published in the journal Pediatric Health found that premature infants fed a formula enhanced with extra protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zince [sic], copper and several micronutrients performed better on IQ tests than preemies who had been fed either regular formula or breast milk.”

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  162. I’m not sure I’d trust a study reporting on IQ scores, when they can’t spell zinc. :)

    carlitos (730478)

  163. Juan-

    “I don’t care too much about this anymore, but it’s really simple. There’s proof that alcohol damages kids. Psychomotor damage and growth inhibition, FAS, etc.”

    Um, FAS is about drinking while pregnant, but okay. BUT- how do we know that this woman was really drunk or that her kid actually was being damaged by alcohol? YOU are too quick to jump to conclusions- for instance, no, it wasn’t established that she was on drugs. She informed the officers she was taking legally authorized perscription medications. The woman is six weeks post-partum, for Pete’s sake, and was just punched in the head. If she was prescribed post-childbirth pain killers, as most women are, she probably took one. That’s hardly doing drugs. Or maybe it was an antibiotic, or maybe it was a prescription for something else- we do know it wasn’t illegal.

    It hasn’t been established that she was drinking enough for there to be elevated blood level alcohol in the child, and that would have been easy to establish. Did they test the mother’s alcohol levels? No. Yet that would have been easy. So why didn’t they? Maybe she was- but why didn’t they bother to give her any sort of test establishing that? Why didn’t they want objective evidence?

    If the child was really in danger from imbibing booze through the breastmilk, if they were really worried about this, then the baby’s blood alcohol levels should also have been tested- but if they were, nobody is saying so (and if this had been done and they found significant levels of alcohol, I think we’d have heard about it).

    The officers thought she seemed drunk- that’s not good enough for me. I’d like some objective evidence, which in this case could have been obtained but they chose not to.
    She called them because she’d been hit, and they agreed she had indications she’d been hit in the face. How do we know she hadn’t been hit hard enough and wasn’t emotionally distressed enough to make her behavior seem like drunkenness to these two?

    I’m not saying (and I don’t think anybody is) she could be as drunk as she likes and nobody should do anything about it. I’m saying the cops shouldn’t get to arrest a six week post partum mother and take away her nursing newborn without establishing better objective evidence (particularly when, in this case, it would have been quite simple) that she actually IS drunk and the child actually WAS getting some alcohol.

    I was also pointing out that it’s not true that nobody knows how much alcohol goes through the blood into the milk and that there is only anecdotal evidence on this issue. Hale has tested all kinds of things- alcohol, herbal remedies, and medications.

    deputyheadmistress (067f99)

  164. Carlitos,

    I thought the same thing! But, in fairness, the misspelling was by Popular Science Magazine and not the study.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  165. Re beer and breastfeeding.

    IIRC Konrad Lorenz, the founder of “ethology” (study of animal behavior) wrote that he was breast-fed by a “wetnurse”.

    Lorenz said that the woman was encouraged to guzzle beer for enhanced milk production.

    He also noted that the woman had sent her own out-of-wedlock child to a “home” (sign of bad character) and suggested jokingly that exposure to her theoretically created a “bad” infant environment, which he had “overcome”.

    Rich Rostrom (6de0ca)

  166. FAS still harms kids, deputyheadmistress

    As you noted, “OK.” Yes, that assertion is indeed OK. Indeed, it is correct that alcohol even harms fully grown adults. This is not complicated, and like i said, I don’t really find the topic interesting because it is like arguing that water is wet. There is some point at which alcohol is going to really fuck up that kid. And it’s not going to be much. More than a glass of wine every few days, I grant.

    As far as your critique of the cops, well, if they were solely concerned with the alcohol, then perhaps it would make sense to hammer them. If thousands of juries and judges did accept testimony as evidence for drunkeness, perhaps you’d have an additional point.

    Ultimately, that crap is what juries and confessions are for. I do think you have a point when you imply that some amnesty is due for her reporting domestic violence.

    But this is another issue I’m not really talking about. At the end of the day, I’m just saying that mothers who drink are horrible, awful, petty little people. Spit. I know that even these awful mothers are probably better than state care most of the time.

    When you’re a mother who is nutritionally directly linked to a little baby, you no longer have moral ownership of your body. I am condemning drunk mothers, unhealthy mothers, etc. Not as a proposal for the nanny state to fix the problem.

    Cops have a tough job. It’s easy to second guess them. These walked into a situation where an idiot was probably doing all kinds of idiotic things, to the point where they note that the alcohol didn’t need to be part of the issue for them to behave in the same way.

    Juan (bd4b30)

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