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Thursday, August 16, 2007Breastfeeding and custody issues are a hot topic right now. Apart from numerous emails I've been receiving about these issues, I spent some time on the phone yesterday afternoon with a midwife who had a client facing the issue as well.
Then I read my email this morning and find multiple messages about the case of Christa Burton. Burton is currently involved in a custody battle over her 15 month old son, Carter. Carter was born six weeks premature and doctors told Christa that breastfeeding him was the best thing she could do for his health. Burton is taking three prescription medications (Ambien, Topomax and Baclofin) but her N.P. cleared her to nurse after checking Dr. Hale's "Medications and Mother's Milk."
Things changed when Carter's father went after custody. WCCO reports:
On July 7, 2007, Carter's father, Andrew Ahmann, asked the district court to appoint a guardian ad litem to advocate for the best interests of the child. Ahmann is trying to get custody of his son, Carter.
The guardian ad litem's report relies heavily on the testimony of the same nurse practitioner that originally recommended breast feeding. She told the investigator "she recommended that given the developmental delays that Christa stop breast feeding" as the various medications can cause delays.
While I might normally err on the side of caution when dealing with issues like this, especially for a child older than a year and technically able to be weaned to something other than formula, we're not talking about medication that any recognized expert thinks is dangerous.
From the story:
Dr. Tom Hale, the author of "Medications and Mothers' Milk" e-mailed Burton, writing about the medications saying, "They are basically all fine, particularly in a 14-month-old infant who can metabolize drugs as good if not better than an adult."
Another expert, Dr. Jack Newman wrote, "I think you are being railroaded by people who don't know what normal is for breastfeeding."
"It's a tough call on some of these issues," according to Brian Ansberry, manager of the 7th District Court guardian ad litem program. He said his investigator was "not a medical expert herself" and "erring on the side of safety."
Yep, both Dr. Hale and Dr. Newman say these medications are perfectly fine. Yet the voice of someone who is "not a medical expert" is being taken over the voices of these internationally recognized experts.
I'm sure there is more to the story than what is being reported and I know more than one lactivist like myself that would like to speak to this mom to see if there's anything we can do to help.
If anyone reading this has contact with Christa Burton, please ask her to email me. I'd really like to see what else is going on here and if there's anyway I can help.