If a mother wants to breastfeed her baby, nothing (and nobody) should stand in her way, or at least that's the way it should be. But one Australian woman has been denied that right after a court in Victoria turned down her appeal for full access to her newborn.
According to reports, the infant was removed from the mother shortly after she gave birth and placed in the care of a relative. Apparently, the woman has a history of substance abuse and has had three other children previously removed from her care.
Initially, the mum had unrestricted access to the baby, but due to a change in carers and care arrangements, access was then restricted to six hours a day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
After the new arrangements were established, the mother went to the Supreme Court to claim that the restricted access meant she could no longer breastfeed her baby as before. Her lawyer also requested that the mother and child live with the father of the baby to enable them to form a family unit. However, the court dismissed the application on the grounds of the father's own alleged history of alcohol issues.
We have to trust that the family court always acts in the best interests of the child — and we don't know the full details of this case.
But if this mother was already having full access to her child, in order to be able to breastfeed her as and when was needed, it seems unfair that that's no longer possible simply because of practical issues.
If there are concerns for the child's safety and well-being, then that's a different story entirely. But that doesn't appear to be the problem here. Regardless of what she may have been through in the past, if this mum is dedicated to breastfeeding (and bonding with) her baby, the court should do everything within its considerable powers to facilitate that.
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