DSS case, Neglect and exclusive breastfeeding of a 9 month old - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-25-2004, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 04-25-2004, 01:02 AM
 
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This isn't a resource, but a question: is your 9 month old underweight for her age? I'm not sure about the legal part of this, I'm just wondering whether you can be accused of neglecting her if your feeding method is effective (that is, that she is growing and developing appropriately.)

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 04-25-2004, 02:11 AM
 
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Please contact your local LLL Leader. Many moms don't realize not only are they there to help with physical breastfeeding issues, but they also are able to help in areas like these. Oftentimes they know of attorneys who are pro bfing or have experience in these areas.

Breastfeeding and the law: http://www.lalecheleague.org/LawMain.html

Find a group near you: http://www.lalecheleague.org/WebIndex.html

If you need more help, please pm me.
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Old 04-25-2004, 02:14 AM
 
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Do you have a pediatrician or lactation consultant that you can get on your side as a medical witness? That could help your case. There are plenty of healthy exclusively nursing 9 month olds out there. I have an 8 month old who eats solids every couple of days, but it isn't a regular thing.

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 04-25-2004, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 04-26-2004, 10:20 AM
 
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No advice, mama, just . I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
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Old 04-26-2004, 10:27 AM
 
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I am sorry that your baby is being used as a battle weapon. Yes, any MD would have to agree with the 6 month solids thing. They would also have to agree on variations. The LLL site has a link to the author of Breastfeeding and the Law. I am also wondering if you start solids , will they leave you alone?
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Old 04-26-2004, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 04-26-2004, 11:37 AM
 
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Have you looked at www.kellymom.com? She lists lots of references.
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/so...ay-solids.html

WHO and AAP do not recommend a baby be fed solids b/w 4-6 months, although I'm sure this is what a lot of people hear. They say DON'T START solids before 4-6 months. AAP recommends exclusive BF for the first 6 months.

I think that if exclusively nursing a 9 mo old is DSS's only complaint, you're on pretty safe ground. Once a report is made, they have to investigate it. If it helps any, DSS is usually very suspicious of complaints in shared custody cases. Used to do this work in another country and often times the complaints were just differences of opinions and can not be considered neglect as defined by the government. Even if your DSS caseworker is totally ignorant about exclusive nursing, her superiors hopefully have more sense and if not, the medical professionals involved should be able to reassure them how healthy your baby is.

Surely the DSS caseworker can just talk to the ped, the IBCLC and the Dr. you saw and they can back you up? Can you do this in a way where you're not giving DSS a blanket permission to see all your medical records? I don't like those medical release forms that aren't very specific. They only need the info related to the BF and baby's weight gain. If I was that DSS caseworker and I was reassured by all those med professionals, I'd be closing the investigation pronto. Sorry to say it, but it's easier to cover your ass, if you have medical professionals telling you the baby is healthy and you can write than in the case file.

BTW my dd was exclusively nursed til 6 1/2 months and then I went really SLOW with solids. dd has always been small - the most she ever was was in the 25% for weight. Between 6-9 months she went down to about the 5th percentile for weight. My ped (who BF all her kids) wasn't too worried, said BF babies often transition to their genetic weight curve earlier than formula fed babies. I was concerned though because she never nursed much, just doesn't have a big appetite. Plus we have so many allergies on both sides of our family, I wanted to go real slow with solids and didn't want to introduce wheat or citrus til 12 mo. Anyway I started upping her solids at 9 months because I found she'd eat them for novelty's sake. She was really distractible and it was hard to get her to nurse enough. So there's nothing wrong with exclusive nursing and the BM is by far the best food at these ages, but I found if baby doesn't avail herself of enough of it, she'll lose weight.

Also starting solids really aggravated my dd's constipation. And rice cereal is the worst. That DSS worker is totally wrong about not feeding solids causing an anal fissure. Quite the opposite. DSS workers don't learn anything about nutrition either! Grains are actually more difficult than fruit & veges to digest at this age. dd's ped actually recommended we stop the grains. Dr's tend to push cereals because they're iron fortified. I found other iron sources like blackstrap molasses, added ground lentils to dd's millet porridge etc. I found even dd's ped looked at me a bit strange when I told her this - they don't learn much about nutrition in med school. And dd's iron levels at 12 mo were fine. An anal fissure is no small matter either - my dd had to be on milk of magnesia for months afterwards. I felt so bad for her, she was in pain every time she pooped I really sympathise with you having to deal with your ex and those in laws. It must be heart breaking.
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Old 04-26-2004, 02:38 PM
 
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I don't have any answers, but want to caution you. Don't count on being "right" to help you out with the legal system. Cover your behind, please.
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Old 04-26-2004, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:04 PM
 
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oh honey, my lord. i don't have any advice besides what the previous posters have said, well, except maybe *move*. far away. i'm terribly terribly sorry you're being put thru such a horrible situation, and my heart is breaking for you and your babies. i'll be thinking of you all, and hoping that things work out quickly and easily and in your favor.

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:12 PM
 
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Since you are going through a divorce already, I assume that you have a lawyer? Get him/her involved immediately. Unless they haven't done much for you so far, in which case, get a new lawyer. Seriously, regardless of what else you do (and I don't know enough to offer advise), get or use your lawyer to CYA. Don't mess with this.
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:35 PM
 
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Looking at the AAP Policy "Breastfeeding and the use of Human Milk" it does say
Quote:
Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months after birth
and the referenced article for that statement is here. I would suggest getting a hold of that reference & seeing exactly what it has to say since it is the article that the AAP policy statement was based on.

Also, the first recommendation says:
Quote:
The ultimate decision on feeding of the infant is the mother's.
Not the parents, not the father's, but the MOTHER'S.

I think, too that your older child's allergies are reason enough to use caution for introducing solids to your nursling. Perhaps keep that topic out front that she has special dietary needs?? I think you're best sticking to sources like the AAP and other medical bodies rather than individual doctors - you can probably find info out their supporting any position.

I am so very, very sorry that you have to go through such a difficult time.
Take care,
Donna

Alaskan Mom to 2 boys
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:53 PM
 
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and for what it's worth, my son refused all solids until around 10-11months and so he too was ONLY breastfed. And he's a preemie. He's healthy as a horse.

Good luck to you.
Kimberley
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:58 PM
 
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Here's a link you might find helpful:

http://www.supportbreastfeeding.com/
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Old 04-26-2004, 09:24 PM
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Aw gez.. I feel for you.
I got the "3 meals and snacks" or else they would take my daughter away at 9 months. My file has notes that say that my food allergy concerns with my daughter were "all in my head" and "of no concern." Then why did she scream bloody murder all night - twice - when she was fed eggs by the transition house workers? I got in shit for that both times by the same workers.

All in my head - then why did her foster mother log "hives - unknown" when she was away from me for 3 weeks during christmas time when I wasn't allowed to see her? Or upset tummies? Or diahreah...

If they had just allowed me to take my time with her and introducing foods. But nooooo... I was still exclusively breastfeeding and she was 5th percentile, instead of 95th when she was born. I found out through this board that she could have been overweight and I could have had GDD - or a variant - and therefore, she would not gain as much weight because her metabolism had taken over completely instead of mine.

I feel for you. I wish there was something I could do to help you. I'm waiting to find out that DD has had to go to allergy testing and what they are. You don't want to know _my_ list of allergies.

And yes, DS has them. Poor kid.
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Old 04-27-2004, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 04-27-2004, 12:43 PM
 
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Hmmm, guess that link is dead. Try this:

'Ms. Baldwin, the nation’s expert on breastfeeding and the law, is available to serve as an expert witness in family law cases regarding breastfeeding, attachment-style parenting, and other related parenting issues.'
http://www.compromisesolutions.com/

She may be a good contact for your attorney.
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Old 04-27-2004, 12:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ma_Donna
Looking at the AAP Policy "Breastfeeding and the use of Human Milk" it does say and the referenced article for that statement is here. I would suggest getting a hold of that reference & seeing exactly what it has to say since it is the article that the AAP policy statement was based on.

I can get the article for you (but not until some time next week).
Email me with your address and if it is relevant, i will copy it and send it to you.

Shannon, mama to Jack :
: : : : : :
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Old 04-27-2004, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sntm, thanks! Medline is good for not havin' the whole article.
Velcro, I'm sendin' the link to my lawyer!
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Old 04-27-2004, 01:07 PM
 
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Also just wanted to add that if you are getting divorced, do whatever you can to push the proceedings along. In other words - get divorced asap. Otherwise, your child bfing will continue to be used as a tool. And a bfing 9month old is not looked down by the courts nearly as often as bfing a 20 month old, or a 30 month old, kwim? You don't want to be in the position of them forcing you to wean just so you can keep custody. Right now you have the AAP on your side. Once you get past a year, though, your support from teh legal system will all but vanish. If you divorce now, things will likely be set in stone for at least 2 yrs (for most states), giving your much more freedom to bf how you like.

Also, why are you holding out on giving her/him solids? Do you have a medical reason? Try to take this issue away from them. Say that you are offering solids. Find something to offer. You'll find a lot of support that the legal eagles will believe, in offering only one new food at a time. You could drag this out for a few months while you get the divorce through in the meantime. Allow others, like your husband, to offer certain solids. I know this is not what you want to hear, but I really think that damage control is the issue right now. Not vax'ing is a more difficult issue.

You are dealing with people (lawyers & judges) who are making a decision between two parents for what *they* think is better for a particular child. They are very likely not going to change their mind bcs you educated them in the courtroom setting.

Speaking from experience here, unfortunately. Think of what you are fighting for - not to change their mind or educate them, but to win the right to make these and other decisions for your child. Get that right legally asap, by getting divorced asap.

hth - I'm not trying to make problems, but to save yourself much, much grief over the next year.
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Old 04-27-2004, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 04-27-2004, 01:58 PM
 
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I am so sorry to say that the lawyer you are discussing, Liz Baldwin, passed away last year! She was a wonderful advocate for mama-and-baby-togetherness.

Do contact LLL though- all leaders have access to a Legal Liason who sould be able to hook you up with necessary references, contacts, etc.
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Old 04-27-2004, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 04-27-2004, 02:37 PM
 
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I think Ms Baldwin died last year. I think it was her, the lawyer who was defending those extended BF cases? Anyone else know for sure.

I remember reading some of her articles online - there's good info in there re extended BF and the law. Don't have any links but you could search for her name.
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Old 04-27-2004, 06:27 PM
 
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I forgot to mention this site:
http://www.breastfeedingtaskforla.org/index.htm

They have a great overview of the BF research literature here:
http://www.paho.org/English/HPP/HPN/Benefits_of_BF.htm

It does have mention of research about extended BF and allergies, you gotta wade through it though. It might also be useful to your lawyer, in that it provides comments and criticisms about research design - i.e. where no association was found in some studies b/w BF and obesity for example, they show how the design was at fault and the result is not useful. You know if your ex is trying to say BF isn't that important, he may try to use some of these flawed research studies.
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Old 04-27-2004, 08:26 PM
 
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Yes, Liz did pass away last year -- it was a great loss. I linked to some of her articles in post #3. Yes, LLL Leaders can provide you with more legal info. If you don't get help from one, try another.
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wombat, you are a gem!! I wil look through the links later in the week, and compile, compile, compile for the lawyer.

My lawyer spoke with the accusing social worker at DSS, and he said that the soc. worker was very nervous on the tel. and did not want to speak w/ him, "she couldn't get off the phone fast enough." I hope they think that they overstepped their bounds. My lawyer thinks they will revisit the case.


: (I hope to soon come out from under my chair, I wake up in the A. M. feeling like a criminal.)
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Old 04-28-2004, 12:50 PM
 
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I'm so sorry that you're going through this!!!!

My law is a bit messy since I haven't been in law school for almost 5 years (and I've been a stay-at-home mama since so I'm by no means practicing and haven't yet) but I know there was a case years ago about a woman who was exclusevely nursing her 2.5 year old and not allowing ANY other foods. The child was malnursished because of this... I can't remember the case number but if they try to use this case against you it's rediculous because there's a big difference between a 9 month old and almost 3 year old... (I'll look up the case to give you more specifics just in case they try to use that against you...)

That said, if your child is a healthy weight for her age then you should be able to nurse for as long as you and your baby need. (I exclusevely nused my last for a year and still nurse although he eats food as well- although limited food because he's alergic to everything). However, unfortunetly, the courts may give you trouble because it seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that you're in-laws are trying to use the baby as a tool to get back at you.

I don't have any real advice for you but send lots of hugs!!!! I'll go look some stuff up for you in my law books and La Leche books and see what I can find and PM you if I find anything useful. Good luck!!!!! You're a great mama!

SAHMama to the "Fantastic Four"- 10 yr old b/g twins, 7 yr old boy, 5 yr old girl... : and expecting a miracle baby Feb. 2010...: Married for 11 yrs to my handsome Police Officer :cop:
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