When Does Breastfeeding On Demand Go Too Far?
By Jacqueline Tourville
It might sound too strange to be true, but according to news reports out of New Zealand, police and child welfare authorities are on the hunt for a woman who was seen breastfeeding while driving. Eye witnesses say the mom had three other children in the car with her at the time and first attracted attention by her erratic driving.
Police and child welfare authorities are on the hunt for a woman who was seen breastfeeding while driving. Eye witnesses say the mom had three other children in the car with her at the time and first attracted attention by her erratic driving.
“It’s highly dangerous,” health policy and breastfeeding expert Dr. Judith Galtry said in an interview with the New Zealand Herald. “I’m all for breastfeeding but not while driving a car.”
While the circumstances in this case are still somewhat of a mystery, Galtry recommends that moms frazzled by a crying baby in the backseat pull over and stop the car in a safe place before breastfeeding. This same advice holds even if they are not the ones driving.
“If you’re sitting in the passenger seat and you’ve got a screaming baby, I can imagine the temptation, but I mean, really.”
Not An Isolated Incident
So nothing to worry about because, for most of us, this happened half a world away, right? Wrong. In 2009, a woman in Kettering, Ohio faced charges of child endangerment after being caught breastfeeding her baby while driving her other children to school. According to a WHIOTV news report, officers said the mom was nursing the child in her lap with the baby’s head up against the steering wheel.
Police noted that not only did the mom’s actions increase the risk of getting in a crash, but being so close to the airbag deployment area during a crash would be extremely dangerous for a baby. Despite all this, the mom insists that she may indeed breastfeed her baby while driving in the future, if she feels that is is necessary. “If my child’s hungry, I’m going to feed it,” Genine Compton told Ohio’s News Center 7.
And it gets even crazier! In Pittsburgh, PA, this past May, a mom was arrested for breastfeeding while driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour, reported ABC News. The catch in this case–and what the mom used as part of her defense? She was wearing her seat belt and her 7-month-old was positioned on a nursing pillow.
We know there are moms who will debate the merits of breastfeeding on demand versus scheduled feedings, even when a baby cries. But let’s make one thing clear: breastfeeding while driving is a very, very bad idea.