Breastfeeding mom in trouble with the law, how you can help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 09-13-2004, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

I was recently contacted by a family in New York, the Spindells, who have asked me for help. Here is their story.

A few weeks ago, their 13 month old child came down with a fever. The family is vegan/raw and the mother is still breastfeeding her child. On the fervent urging of her mom to take the child to the ER, the mom, Alexandra, finally agreed to do so.

The ER doctor found the child to be borderline anemic, and weighed 19 pounds, putting him on the low end of the weight charts. He labeled the child "failure to thrive." An appointment was made for a follow up blood test to have the child's iron tested again. Alexandra did not make this appointment herself, but was merely given the appt at the hospital. She told the doctor she didn't need it, that she would follow up with her regular caregiver.

She did not take her child to that hospital appointment, and because of this, her baby was removed from their home and Alexandra and her husband were charged with neglect. Alexandra had taken her baby in for a follow up appointment with her regular caregiver instead, but this did not satisfy the "system."

Things got ugly from there.

The baby was put into the care of Alexandra's mother, who started feeding the child meat and dairy products, against the strong wishes of Alexandra and her husband. Alexandra provided her breastmilk for the baby, but her mom refused to give her baby the breastmilk.

The Spindells were so upset, they "kidnapped" their own child and hid out while they sought legal counsel. It is their belief that a breastfed child should not be so abruptly weaned and feel it is the child's right to continue to be breastfed (or at least to receive pumped BM) until the investigation is concluded.

Today Alexandra has told me that the baby is with foster parents pending her court trial on Sept. 21. She is only allowed to visit her baby twice a week for a very short time. Obviously, the breastfeeding relationship has been severely disrupted. She has continued to bring her pumped milk to the Foster Care Agency and has asked them to give it to the foster mother to feed to her baby. She does not know if this is being done.

When I asked her if there was anything I could do for her, she told me what she really wanted was for me to spread the word about her case and to let people know she is seeking support (medical, legal, and related to a child's right to be breastfed).

She lives in New York City. She would love for breastfeeding moms to rally around her at her courtroom trial on the 21st. Her lawyer feels she will have no problem getting her child back and the charges of "neglect" dropped since they can prove she did indeed follow up with a different lab other than the hospital.

But she wants to send a message to the doctors and social service system that a child's right to breastfeed should not be stepped upon while the child is in the system. The damage to this child is immeasurable. He went from being a happy, well cared for baby to being ripped away from his parents, forced to be weaned, and forced to eat foods the parents have a strong belief against.

If you can help this mom, please pm me and I will give you location details and all that. She is looking for a lactation consultant in the New York City area who might be willing to testify for her or to call the doctors and judge and explain how the breastfeeding relationship works and why abrupt weaning is so bad.

She is also seeking a pediatrician who will see her baby and who can give him a proper check-up, someone who understands how breastfed children might be lower in weight than formula fed children, etc. Obviously an ER doctor is not up on this kind of information.

So, if you would like to help or know someone who can, please pm me asap. Time is running out. Thank you all!
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#2 of 24 Old 09-13-2004, 05:59 PM
 
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Wow That's scary!! My oldest dd was the same size and also slightly anemic when she was that age. I'm so glad we had an understanding doctor! Has she contacted LLL? They can point her in the direction of some good LC's.

I wish this mama well!
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#3 of 24 Old 09-13-2004, 11:35 PM
 
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I hate those weight charts. My DD is 14 months and barely 18 pounds.

At her one year checkup she was 16.5 pounds and the doc made us go get blood work done but it said she was perfectly healthy. So babies can be "low weight" and healthy.

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#4 of 24 Old 09-13-2004, 11:40 PM
 
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There was a thread about this case (well, at least it sounds like the same case) in TAO a few days ago.

I was going to suggest the same as the PP- contact the local LLL. The LLL leader should be able to get into contact the the APL (area professional liason), who should have lots of connections to local professionals (LCs, lawyers, doctors, etc.)

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#5 of 24 Old 09-13-2004, 11:45 PM
 
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I've seen pictures of this child and as far as that goes... he is definately not FTT.

I'm really glad she is getting some support, I'll send my best wishes but no trip to NY is in the books for me

 

 

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#6 of 24 Old 09-14-2004, 01:28 AM
 
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Yikes!! At 12 months Chloe weighed 16 pounds 2 ounces and at 15 months she was 18 pounds 4 ounces. Her ped barely batted an eye.

I'll definitely keep this mama & her babe in my thoughts!
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#7 of 24 Old 09-14-2004, 02:29 AM
 
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I want to cry.
She definately needs to contact LLL and other organizations that specialize in breastfeeding cases. I am definate she will get her child back when she goes to court, but in the meantime it is no doubt unbearable for the mom. Poor thing!!
My heart goes out to this family, and I will definately keep that baby in my prayers.

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#8 of 24 Old 09-14-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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Just wanted to point out you cannot tell a child is FTT in every case. SOmetimes a grossly FTT child looks malnourished, but it is not always apparent by sight.

Quote:
Has she contacted LLL? They can point her in the direction of some good LC's.
More than a good LC at this point, this mom needs legal help, and many do not realize LLL can be of service in this area as well. If she has not contacted LLL yet, she could really be missing out on some excellent resources.
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#9 of 24 Old 09-14-2004, 03:38 PM
 
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#10 of 24 Old 09-14-2004, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. I will pass all this info on to her. I know she was planning on contacting LLL so hopefully she has found them helpful.
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#11 of 24 Old 09-15-2004, 03:45 PM
 
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That is ridiculous! My daughter (I know it is different for girls, but not that much) was the same weight at 12 months and my ped. (who ffed his 4 kids) said she was perfect!

What a crock!

I am so upset I can not even think strait right now. That poor child, don't these idiots (oops) know what they are doing to him??????

I am a Social Worker, and this case would not fly in my department.

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#12 of 24 Old 09-15-2004, 04:22 PM
 
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Can you give me more information?
Was this in the news recently? Is there a weblink to an article?
Which hospital did this occur at? No need to protect bad practices at hospitals!

I live in NYC, and know a great LC, plus LLL, and can probably rally up some support.
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#13 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 03:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a link to an article but can't find it now.

She contacted LLL who offered her legal counsel but she actually already has a lawyer. I have a feeling she will be okay as far as getting her child back, she was looking for people who would appear at the courthouse for the judge to see, breastfeeding their "older" children (1 year and up).
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#14 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 03:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin Pavlina
she was looking for people who would appear at the courthouse for the judge to see, breastfeeding their "older" children (1 year and up).

Yes, and I know a bunch of mamas through LLL who might be able to help. Also, one of our LLLLeaders is also a LC and a wonderful person. She could probably help, too. If you want me to contact them, please give me more info.
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#15 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 03:51 AM
 
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It does sound like the case that was posted in tao not too long ago.I have always had babies on the low end f the weight scale and they have never been diagnosed as FTT, that's why It hink this story is about a bit more(vegan and not following typical "hospital "type care) which is sad.My son will be 7 on the 21st adn weights a mere 35pounds. he has been labeleed as "small but healthy". I wish Iw as in NYC cases like that make me angry it provs that poeple can't understadn things outside their norm.
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#16 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 01:54 PM
 
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Wish a trip to NYC was possible. She's got my moral support FWIW.
I hope the local LLL can get a crowd of mommas and nurslings there!

"What will you do once you know?"
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#17 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 03:31 PM
 
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can anyone direct me to the other thread that spoke of this, or a link to a news article, please???
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#18 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 04:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneWe
can anyone direct me to the other thread that spoke of this, or a link to a news article, please???
Sorry no, but you could try contacting Erin at www.vegfamily.com...
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#19 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 04:40 PM
 
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I'm so frustrated! I really want to help! I'm right here, in NYC! And I have lots of bfing friends, plus the LLL! and a leader who is a LC!

But I know nothing. Never saw the other thread (I searched but couldn't find it), or an article; don't know the court date or location.
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#20 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 09:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin Pavlina

Today Alexandra has told me that the baby is with foster parents pending her court trial on Sept. 21.

So, if you would like to help or know someone who can, please pm me asap. Time is running out. Thank you all!
AdrianneWe It sounds like there's still time to help (sept 21 court date). Did you try to pm the OP?

I'm nearby in NYW and am so sad to hear of this case as well. I hope anyone who has info can keep us updated.

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#21 of 24 Old 09-16-2004, 09:17 PM
 
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is there a letter of support someone could type & we all sign it?

b/f tend not to be as fluffy b/c breastmilk has no fluff fillers in it.

ugh......poor mama

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#22 of 24 Old 09-17-2004, 12:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin Pavlina
I had a link to an article but can't find it now.

She contacted LLL who offered her legal counsel but she actually already has a lawyer. I have a feeling she will be okay as far as getting her child back, she was looking for people who would appear at the courthouse for the judge to see, breastfeeding their "older" children (1 year and up).
She knows I'm interested in helping! This was her last post here, and it came after my post!

Erin, if you read this thread again, please give more info!!!
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#23 of 24 Old 09-17-2004, 01:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneWe
She knows I'm interested in helping! This was her last post here, and it came after my post!

Erin, if you read this thread again, please give more info!!!
...if you put "New York, the Spindells" into google, you will get loads of articles.

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#24 of 24 Old 09-17-2004, 02:02 AM
 
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Thanks!
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