can a judge tell me to stop nursing my one year old?

Ashly - posted on 05/04/2010 ( 279 moms have responded )

1

6

0

I'm in the midst of a custody battle and everyone, even y lawyer is giving me a hard time about my breastfeeding. ts ridiculous and I feel threatened because he is my son and I should be able to nurse him as long as we both want to right?

This conversation has been closed to further comments

279 Comments

View replies by

Brenda - posted on 05/14/2010

28

2

1

A judge can't really order you to stop nursing, but in many places they can ignore breastfeeding when arranging visitation. Most judges figure you can pump and bottle/cup and its no problem

Is Breastfeeding Really a Visitation Issue?
http://web.archive.org/web/2006111006221...

IS IT OKAY TO LEAVE OUR AP'D BREASTFED 3-MONTH-OLD FOR A NIGHT?
http://askdrsears.com/faq/ap7.asp

Breastfeeding and Divorce
http://www.llli.org/Law/LawDivorce.html





In the Best Interests of Breastfed Children ~ Visitation
http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/breast/b...

The Breastfeeding Relationship and Visitation Plans
http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJanFeb96p4.html

Breastfeeding and visitation
http://www.breastfeeding.com/forums/show...

Carla - posted on 05/14/2010

3

8

0

Feel confident to nurse as long as you and your child feel comfortable!!!! I am still nursing, and my son is 18 months and will continue as long as I feel that it is appropriate, not what someone else feels is appropriate. Do what feels right to you with no apologies to those who do not agree!!!

Carlia - posted on 05/14/2010

1

33

0

I am a family law attorney and can believe some stupid attorneys and judges would say something like that to you! Power is knowledge - provide as much information as you can to your attorney from the internet, etc. - about all of the health benefits to the child. And let him/her know how important it is to you. Don't ever apologize for it!!!

Ivy - posted on 05/14/2010

41

19

0

Nope they cant make you stop. The AAP recommends that you nurse until TWO so I would take that documentation in and show how you are providing the best food for him.

Kimberly - posted on 05/14/2010

2

13

0

Sadly, I have been going through the same thing. My ex asked for a divorce when our youngest was 2 weeks old. I moved out when he was 3 months old. I pumped 1 bottle a day so his dad coud have daily visitation. I exclusively breastfed until age 1. He still nurses in the morning, but I have been lucky enough to allow him to wean his overnight feeding and before bed feeding on his own; however, his dad did try to bully me into supplementing to allow for overnights. His female lawyer even threatened to get a court order to "get that baby off my breast".

Brooke - posted on 05/14/2010

1

7

0

In some states(Utah is the one I know for sure) custody agreements can not allow a child under two to stay overnight with the father because of breastfeeding. Even of the child becomes formula fed the law is the same. Check into laws in your state, often they protect breastfeeding.

Deborah - posted on 05/14/2010

2

26

0

Do not let others interfere with your natural processes with your baby, and don't let them make you think that it's not natural. Society can be so backwards. However, of course, don't use this as your only reason for keeping custody because bf will end at some unpredictable time. If you do use it as "one" of the reasons, make notice that it is in the best interest for your son for immunity, physical & IQ development as well as a long list of other benefits many nursing mothers aren't even aware of! Do some research if necessary, or just for your own knowledge. Yes, babies are able to handle milk from a cow at age one, but human babies are humans, not calves!

Elizabeth - posted on 05/14/2010

1

5

0

your work place is legally obligated to provide you a place and time to pump milk for your baby.

Jennifer - posted on 05/14/2010

10

17

1

WOW. That lawyer seriously lacks information...there was a woman who breastfed her baby on work breaks. Her boss fired her on those grounds. Well later a judge ruled that it was sexual discrimination, because breastfeeding is an innate part of being a woman, of being a mother. Get a new lawyer!

Erin - posted on 05/14/2010

2

38

1

You have the right to breastfeed your one year old child. I would get a different lawyer and I would research your question with professionals. Back in the day women breastfed their children until they were like 2 yrs old. Research shows that it is even healthier for your child. I hope this helps! :)

Lindy - posted on 05/14/2010

9

20

0

I think it depends on if you are using it as a reason to deny the dad visitation. The court has a right to rule for overnight visitaions even though you are still nursing. You don't get a choice in this. The father has rights to have his son overnight. Also too your lawyer may have your best interest at heart. In our society it is not overly acceptable to breast feed past 1 yr (don't shoot me I bf my boys till they weened themselves off). They (the father and his lawyer) may try to use this that you are emotionally hurting the child and it could hurt you in court. I say continue to bf, but pump for overnights with the dad.

Amy - posted on 05/14/2010

136

13

11

She makes a very good point. You can pump and give milk to your ex for the visits and pump while he is gone. I'm sure your son will thank you in the end for allowing him to have a relationship with his father if he's a good guy.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/14/2010

25

33

0

There is no law that says you have to stop breastfeeding your child at any age. Most docs recommend at least one year and then as long as you and your child feel comfortable after that. Most women in the U.S. who breastfeed longer than a year don't go past age two (my daughter self-weaned at 17 months), but in other parts of the world the average age to stop is four. And many other places is age seven. You keep doing what you're doing. No one can make you stop breastfeeding.

Cyndi - posted on 05/14/2010

5

69

0

Okay, this is coming from a woman who is coming up on 23 months of BFing but hear me out.

Can you really and truly say that this is about your desire to BF for a certain length of time? Or is this about messing with you ex in regards to custody of your son? Ask yourself honestly. Maybe if you set a BFing goal they will be more apt to leave you alone about it? Just a suggestion, I'm not saying that you should have to put a time limit on when to wean but you are in a situation with new circumstances.

And secondly, how often is he nursing now? Is your ex looking for overnight visits or even days at a time with him? Your son is old enough for whole milk so maybe a compromise would be that your ex can take him for the day but not more than, say 18 hours?

No one can tell you that you can no longer nurse your child, but you find yourself in extraordinary circumstances now and you have to adjust to them.

Amy - posted on 05/14/2010

136

13

11

Only you and your baby will make the decision on when it is right to stop nursing. why would your lawyer even be suggesting that. The benefits of nursing continue as long as you are. Definitely contact the LLL in your area and your breastfeeding consultants from some of your local hospitals. I would get letters in writing of why it is important for the both of you to continue. Just for your own sanity and it couldn't hurt if you think the judge and lawyers will interfere. Good luck!

Kate - posted on 05/14/2010

4

8

0

Don't stop Breast feeding if you and your son don't want to, don't let anyone force or even bully you into it either, I breast feed by 4yr old until just over 1yrs it was her that didn't want it any more, but my 18mths old little boy I wish I could have breast feed for longer but I go Mastitis in both breasts really bad so I couldn't do it any more and I also went back to work earlier. good luck and don't do something you don't want to do..

Tara - posted on 05/14/2010

20

10

0

I am no lawyer but I wouldn't think they could make you stop and if they tried I would fight them tooth and nail. Good Luck hope it all works out.

[deleted account]

Unless it is a state law (which it is not), the judge cannot force you to stop breastfeeding. And, if he does, you always have the option to appeal the decision. My child is two, I still nurse, and he has visitation with the non-custodial parent. I have always provided the adequate amount of breastmilk, and that's that! If your child is younger and needs to milk more often, then of course visitation should be limited to ensure the baby gets the proper nutrition from you. Best wishes to you and your proceedings.

Kristy - posted on 05/14/2010

38

75

2

as you can tell from everyone’s replies, that its your choice to breast feed. tell the judge or who ever has a problem with it to get lost, when they want to go for a lunch break they cant, your baby isnt "aloud" to eat so he cant ether. why should the relationship break up cause you to loose that bond with your baby, you could express but like others have said its better from the breast, i breast feed for 6 months and had to stop due to medical reasons, its the best bonding time with your baby and they CAN NOT force you to stop feeding from the breast and make you express, thats taking away a women’s right. thats the most stupidest thing ive ever heard (the judge not you). it makes me so angry. do it for as long as you both want, our bodies are meant to do it thats why we make the milk in the 1st place.
good luck and if i were you i would go to who ever i could to make this happen the way it should, mother be with baby.
why cant they just rule on you going when he see's the children so you can feed when baby is hungry.

Cassandra - posted on 05/14/2010

1

6

0

i agree, they cant tell you not to breastfeed! thats ridiculous!! thats your son.

Ceciley - posted on 05/14/2010

13

16

1

I would seek testimony from a lactation consultant that will back you up in court during the proceeding.

Michelle - posted on 05/14/2010

42

10

2

I believe as a mother you should do what you feel is right for you and your son. I can't imagine a judge telling you not to breastfeed your son. I have looked brestfeeding up on line (which I do breastfeed myself) to see what the recommended time is and was surprised to find that up to two years is recommended. Good Luck to you.

Stephanie - posted on 05/14/2010

3

18

0

It is your natural right as a mother and you should nurse as long as your son needs it. Inform the judge and your lawyer that the rest of the world nurses for an average of 4.4 years, and that your son will have the same opportunity if needed. America has adopted the unfortunate belief that an infant only needs 6 weeks (which is also the standard maternity leave) and then the baby is on to formulas, which may contain as much as 47% high fructose corn syrup! Human babies are designed to drink human milk, and the longer he nurses, the more benefits he will reap. Stand firm and demand your rights, because no one should make this decision for you, especially a stranger.

Eliza - posted on 05/14/2010

13

5

0

How ridiculous! It's a mother's right to be able to breastfeed! In Australia it's illegal to ask a woman to stop breastfeeding in public - not sure how it is for other countries. http://www.womensenews.org/story/reprodu...
You're doing the best thing for your baby - keep it up. I just read from some new research that it protects a baby from swine flu. http://www.womensenews.org/story/reprodu...
They obviously dont know what they're talking about - stay positive! :)

Terese - posted on 05/14/2010

5

0

0

Aren't there laws of discrimination against this in your country. There are in Australia.. This is discrimination....

Jean - posted on 05/14/2010

36

23

1

Absolutely! Breastfeeding doesn't have to stop just because someone else thinks you should, you should carry on until you're both ready to move on. Remind your lawyer that breastfeeding is a basic human right and that trying to talk you into stopping might be construed as sexual discrimination. Then fire him and find a female lawyer who is a mother herself!

Heather - posted on 05/14/2010

1

26

0

That is totally not legal! They may be able to put a damper on "nursing on demand" since that would be nearly impossible with a joint custody. I would most definately be getting a new attorney. If they would put pressure on you over breastfeeding, they are clearly not on your side.

You are doing a great job, and you are awesome for breastfeeding beyond 12 months and giving your child the best stuff out there, even with lack of support all around. There will always be challenges wuth extended breastfeeding. Dont give up, fight for your rights and the rights of our children to be given the best possible food!

Omovigho - posted on 05/14/2010

3

43

1

It's a mother that should decide when to stop nursing her child not a judge. It's crazy how people just want to decide the best way you can take care of your child for you just because you find yourself in a bad moment. I wish you all the best!

Vanessa - posted on 05/14/2010

28

26

3

It is your right as a mother to decide to breastfeed your son. I breastfeed my son until he was 8 mos. and my daugher until she was 28 mos. If need be pump before going into court, but you don't have to stop.

Brandi - posted on 05/14/2010

18

14

1

well if they do i would get a new lawyer and file another claim you will have so many mothers behind you including womens rights so i really dont think they want to deal with that contact doctor phil and i bet you could get help from him on who you need to contact

Sarah - posted on 05/14/2010

97

6

3

NO they can not tell you to stop. Breastfeeding is legal in all states and I don't think they can tell you not to unless you're breastfeeding past 5 years. :) I stopped at three months because we thought my son was allergic to the proteins. He's not... he has acid.

Jen - posted on 05/14/2010

22

7

0

We are talking about a 1year old, who can also be fed real food and be getting the breastmilk from a bottle or sippy. They can't stop her from nursing, but they could request that the child be allowed other form of nutrition during visitation or the milk to be given in a bottle or cup. My son wouldn't take a bottle from 6mo up through 14month so I nursed when I was with him and left solid feedings and juice feedings for the sitter to do while I worked 8hr shifts. so It could be worked out somehow. Ashley never said in what context they are telling her to stop nursing and no one said anything about overnights yet.

Crystal - posted on 05/14/2010

1

40

0

NO ONE can stop u do it it's natural n healthy don't let anyone make u feel the way u are feeling xxx mom of 3

Terri - posted on 05/14/2010

8

24

1

sadly in custody fights.. yes they can... I would bring in a Ped and lots of evidence about breastfeeding and the importance of it developmentally as well as physically. And get a lawyer who is on board and understands how imporatnt this is and what you are fightling for. Good luck.

Karen - posted on 05/14/2010

4

13

0

I am a family law attorney in Florida and a mother who nursed my child, too. Yes, the judge can order overnights which would interfere with nursing. Once you are in Court, your ability to make all of the decisions as a parent that you are normally entitled to make is seriously hampered. You will do yourself a big favor if you do everything you can to make it appear to the judge that you are trying to provide time for your son and his father. Overnight time is important to the court, but awake time with your son is what should really matter. Judges just don't often see that. I strongly urge you to consult with another attorney - one who is more sympathetic to your views and perhaps can find another way to work out the problem. You and your ex are better off trying to come to an agreement than allowing a judge to take a sledgehammer to your life. Good luck!

Danie - posted on 05/14/2010

2

4

0

What?? that sounds like harrassment to me!...The World Health Organization even reccomends breasfeeding for 2 years!...you need to talk to someone about this who can help because they cannot do this to you. Contact your doctor or the La Leche Leage..or even WIC...you need to tell someone this is so not right!

Kendra - posted on 05/14/2010

2

22

0

absolutely! they have no right to tell you that you can' t choose how to feed your child!

Autumn - posted on 05/14/2010

3

6

0

Your baby's dad should be your best advocate. If he TRULY wants what is best for his baby he should be helping you to keep breastfeeding. If he is against it, then that should tell everyone, including the judge that he has his own interests in mind above that of his child's. Isn't that what they are trying to determine in a custody battle?

Jennnifer - posted on 05/14/2010

34

13

4

i wish i could help but if i where u i would get documents proving all the benefits of continued breastfeeding and show it to the judge there is a BF page on here with alot of great info. i learned alot and now feel i can stand up to those who critize me

Tamika - posted on 05/14/2010

1

7

0

Absolutely! nobody but your son and you should dictate when to end breastfeeding. How does breastfeeding affect your case?

Nicole - posted on 05/14/2010

87

31

1

Don't let anyone tell you you shouldn't be breastfeeding!!! If that's what you want to do tell everyone else to go to hell!! Just becuase your ina custody battle over him doesn't mean you have to stop!! it might make things more difficult but go for it as long as you want!!!! Stay strong!!!!!

Nehama - posted on 05/14/2010

1

8

0

They have to give you the time to pump. I would document so they cannot give you a hard time.

User - posted on 05/14/2010

1

0

0

Hi Ashly, no one can tell you to stop breastfeeding. My little man is 20 months and I'm going to be breastfeeding him until he's two. His doctor likes the fact that I'm still breastfeeding. They say that the longer you breastfeed, the better it is for the baby. You should breastfeed your little man as long as you want. Let them know that that is the best thing for him. Good luck :-)

Megan - posted on 05/14/2010

23

11

0

NO they cannot tell you to stop. It should not be an issue. Pediatricians agree that Nursing up to 2 years old is best. However at age 1 the child shouldn't be nursing every 4 hours or anything. Just a few times a day. He should be able to go most of the day without nursing if you need him to. He is 1 so you can give him a cup and whole milk too. So I would just give him a little whole milk in a cup while court is going on, and nurse him when it's over unless it's going to be like 8 hours straight or more.
Sounds like my sister in law: she said her sister was nursing at age 1 and finally stopped because her sisters would stop telling her that the child was too old to nurse. You nurse him as long as you feel comfortable and don't let anyone tell you it's wrong.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms