The topic of breastfeeding women has been in the news quite a bit lately.
Tasha Adams was arrested in Arkansas after she was observed breastfeeding her infant daughter while drinking. After police received the call from a concerned waitress she was arrested for endangering the welfare of her child. The charges were later dropped.
Stephanie Greene, a former nurse from South Carolina, was sentenced to a 20 year prison term for killing her 6-week-old daughter. Green was on prescription opioid medication for what she says is chronic pain and prosecutors successfully argued that an overdose of morphine delivered through breastfeeding was responsible for the infant’s death.
I’d venture to say that many people do believe that a breastfeeding woman can deliver lethal doses of drugs or alcohol to their child – even if many experts say that it’s not so and would be extremely concerned to see a woman with a drink, smoking marijuana or popping pills while breastfeeding their baby. It just seems wrong.
Adams got off lightly because her daughter wasn’t harmed and continues to loudly defend her actions. She also seems to enjoy her 15 minutes of fame.
Greene had a prescription for the morphine she was taking, however she did not tell the doctor that she obtained her prescriptions from that she was pregnant. Many experts widely believe that morphine is relatively safe and is the preferred opiate to use by a breastfeeding women due to its poor oral bioavailability. Infants under one month of age are supposed to be closely monitored for sedation since they take longer to clear the drug from their system.
Greene did not disclose her pregnancy and subsequent birth to the doctor prescribing the drug which likely factored in to the guilty verdict. She claims that she needed the medication due to pain that she suffered in a car accident.
But where does it end?
Should breastfeeding women be policed for drugs or alcohol?
Should they be policed in their homes? How could that even be enforced. What about at the store, or in a restaurant?
Would you report a breastfeeding woman that was drinking, popping pills or smoking marijuana?