is it unethical to BF someone else's baby w/o their knowledge? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-18-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I would have a problem with someone giving my child expressed milk without my permission. It's unregulated and not checked for disease. I would have a problem with someone giving my child raw goat's or cow's milk without my permission and without my knowing the source was reliable as well. No one but me has the right to decide what to feed my child.


ITA.

It is unethical to bf someone elses child or give them EBM without the parents knowledge. Eventhough its unlikely, disease can be spread. It is still a body fluid.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:34 PM
 
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I'm gonna have to agree with skellbelle, I think it depends on the situation. My SIL once nursed my 3mo without my prior knowledge or consent. She felt it was the best thing to do at the time. I admit to being weirded-out by the idea of someone else nursing my daughter--it is such a bonding, intimate thing for me-- but rationally I could understand that it was the best thing for her at the time, much better than screaming her poor little head off.
In this situation it would be unethical.

In your situation, with it being a family member that knew you and trusted you...I don't know. I'm glad it worked out for you. My SILs would have thrown a big hissy fit (rightfully, I think) if I'd have done that without their knowledge. I do have a standing agreement with two SILs that we can wet-nurse each others children in such a situation, but I am lucky enough to never have to leave my nursing on demand child with others anyway, so it doesn't matter. I have nursed one of their children.

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Old 10-18-2006, 01:40 PM
 
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:06 PM
 
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BTW, if you do approach this mother about nursing or pumping for her daughter, and she agrees, get that consent in writing or at least have more than one witness (preferably other than your mother). No doubt other people will tell her that it's disgusting, shouldn't be done, etc., and she may backpeddle and put you in a very sticky and potentially problematic situation.

Poor baby!
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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I can easily see how it would be unethical to nurse the baby in the situation described in the op. But, I am a little surprised that most everyone here seems to see this as such a cut-and-dried issue. Aren't there times when the immediate needs of a breastfed baby in your care might outweigh the fact that you do not have prior consent from the mom?
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnysideup View Post
I can easily see how it would be unethical to nurse the baby in the situation described in the op. But, I am a little surprised that most everyone here seems to see this as such a cut-and-dried issue. Aren't there times when the immediate needs of a breastfed baby in your care might outweigh the fact that you do not have prior consent from the mom?
Would you want a care provider feeding your infant something that you had not ok'd? Especially a human fluid that could be carrying disease? Or even other, less dangerous components? (One of the mothers that I'm thinking of donating EBM to was intrigued by the fact that I mainly eat whole foods. The processed stuff turned her off of other donors.)

The cut-and-dried issue is not the baby getting the BM. It's the baby getting the BM without the mother's knowledge or consent.

If it was the situation you described ("the immediate needs of a breastfed baby in your care"), and the baby was not related, I still think it's unethical. (Even a related baby is tricky-but the parents probably trust your health.) But that brings up the question "what would you do then?"-if the mother had left no formula, no EBM, no alternative, and the baby was hungry. Hmm. Interesting question.

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Old 10-18-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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The only situation I can think of at the moment where it *would* be ok would be in a natural disaster or other where you had no ability to contact the parents *and* no way to obtain other food for the child, for longer than a few hours. In that (highly hypothetical) situation I think the baby should be nursed.

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Old 10-18-2006, 03:34 PM
 
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I just don't get it... Let's say a close friend or family member had left their young exclusively breastfed infant in your care because of an emergency. They anticipated they would be back before baby needed to eat, but baby is hungry and crying inconsolably. Why is it more ethical to let the baby cry or give the baby formula? Especially knowing that the risks from an exclusively breastfed baby getting formula are thousands of times greater than the risks from a baby having another mom's breastmilk. Even the WHO says milk from another mom is preferable to formula. So, why would you assume the mom would rather you let the baby cry? or give he/she formula?

I am really surprised that on MDC women would err on the side of assuming a mom would rather her baby have formula than breastmilk.
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:49 PM
 
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Just a hypothetical, I"m really not flaming or mad so sorry if it can come across that way. What if in your similar hypothetical situation...

You have an emergency and leave your exclusively breastfed baby with me (hypothetically) and plan to return in time for him or her to eat. You end up being late and your child is screaming for food. Now me being unable to BF but I do have formula on hand. What would you want me to do? For the record in this situation I would not feed your child formula, I know how important it is to you. I would try every available and last resort to get ahold of you or your DP before I would do anything. And even then I honestly don't know what I would do.

(Well I would probably call my friend who is a LC and see what she would advise. But I would in no way have her BF your baby or pump milk. Just more of see if giving water for the time being would help or what she would recommend.)
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnysideup View Post
I just don't get it... Let's say a close friend or family member had left their young exclusively breastfed infant in your care because of an emergency. They anticipated they would be back before baby needed to eat, but baby is hungry and crying inconsolably. Why is it more ethical to let the baby cry or give the baby formula? Especially knowing that the risks from an exclusively breastfed baby getting formula are thousands of times greater than the risks from a baby having another mom's breastmilk. Even the WHO says milk from another mom is preferable to formula. So, why would you assume the mom would rather you let the baby cry? or give he/she formula?

I am really surprised that on MDC women would err on the side of assuming a mom would rather her baby have formula than breastmilk.
I think it may just be hard to imagine such an emergency.

When leaving my EBF daughter, even if I anticipated a very short trip, I always made sure there was milk available. I would also always ask someone else, if I were watching their child- what should I do if you're late/baby is hungry/etc...

I'm thinking this conundrum would only apply to a child who had not yet started solids &/or other liquids (you could at least tide a baby over w/those until you got a hold of mom), in which case I would never assume that a baby that young could hold out for XX amount of time, and would plan for hunger. In any event, there's always traffic, fender benders, long lines, and other things that can hold us up well past the time we think we'll take.

I think, as someone said before, in the case of natural disaster or some other true, large-scale crisis in which getting in touch with the parents quickly is simply not realistic, then you do what you have to do.
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Old 10-18-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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I think it may just be hard to imagine such an emergency.

When leaving my EBF daughter, even if I anticipated a very short trip, I always made sure there was milk available. I would also always ask someone else, if I were watching their child- what should I do if you're late/baby is hungry/etc...
Did you read my previous post?


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Originally Posted by sunnysideup
Why is it more ethical to let the baby cry or give the baby formula? Especially knowing that the risks from an exclusively breastfed baby getting formula are thousands of times greater than the risks from a baby having another mom's breastmilk. Even the WHO says milk from another mom is preferable to formula.
:

I'm kinda surprised at the responses here, too.
But - I guess unless you've actually been in such a situation, you might not really understand. It honestly never crossed my mind that it might be "unethical" to breastfeed my nephew without my SIL's knowledge - he desperately NEEDED to eat, she was not available, and I had the means to properly nourish him. I saw it as a "let's do what we need to do for the BABY's sake, now" situation.

Quite honestly - I was far more concerned with the baby's needs, rather than her feelings, at that moment. IMO, his immediate needs superceded her feelings.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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Old 10-18-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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emergency yes, daycare no.

the problem with the baby doesn't seem to be formula. it seems to be lack of attention and love.

first of all, if this baby is often unwilling to even take a bottle, it's highly unlikely that she's going to latch right on to the breast of someone she's never even met before and go to town. bf'ing takes more effort (which is a good thing; suckling helps form baby's jaw).

I don't think getting breastfed by her daycare provider is going to help her grow any more than being "bottlenursed" would (besides the fact that breastmilk would obviously be superior to the formula, but it's not necessarily going to set off some growth spurt).

I think you have the right idea in your heart, you just want this little one to feel loved and secure because it appears her parents aren't taking very good care of her. But, if she is truly FTT because of neglect at home, unforunately the 8 or so hours in daycare is only going to do just so much to ameliorate her issues. Definitely, hold her or sling her as much as possible, give her tons of love and attention, and the bottom line is, if you or your mom really are seeing her shrivel up and withering, it may be time to put in a call to child protection to see what's going on at home. We don't know the situation, there could be domestic issues at home, PPD, who knows.

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Old 10-18-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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I would not want anybody to give formula to my child without my consent, so I would never nurse anybody else's child without the parent's consent. It is a do unto other's type thing for me.

Further, I would worry that breastfeeding somebody else's child without the parent's consent could be considered a sexual offense. :
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Old 10-18-2006, 05:28 PM
 
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Further, I would worry that breastfeeding somebody else's child without the parent's consent could be considered a sexual offense. :
I was thinking the same thing. If I left my baby with someone else and anticipated being back before he needed to be fed I'd say whether or not it was ok to nurse him.
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Old 10-18-2006, 05:39 PM
 
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Just wanted to say that in an "emergency" situation, I for one would want my exclusively breastfed DS to be breastfed rather than given formula or water. I would trust that if the woman is a breastfeeder, then there is an extremely high probability that she knows if she is carrying a disease that can pass through breastmilk, and would not nurse anyone else's child because of that. I guess I just trust enough - and as we know, there are very few diseases or medications that pass through bm at a dangerous level. However, I do see what I've described as different than the op's situation. In that situation, provisions were made for the child - however inadequate we may all think them to be - and the mother is available to discuss the situation, therefore it would be unethical to breastfeed on the sly.

I had a situation where I left my DS (who did not take a bottle or pacifier) with my sister for about an hour. When I came home she was nursing him, and I was really happy that she was taking care of him rather then letting him scream.
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:32 PM
 
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Wow. This whole discussion really hammers home what a whacked society we (meaning North Americans) live in.

In a more community-oriented, sharing society, nobody would even think twice about nursing another woman's child. In the past, it would have been completely normal to EXPECT your children to be nursed by another woman if you left them for long enough. Personally, when my DD was little, I would only have left her for more than two hours with someone who could have nursed her - and she wasn't even exclusively bf'd until 4 mo due to my supply problems.

I'm not saying that the pp's who said it was unethical are wrong. I just think the point needs to be made that it's only our society's screwed up priorities that make it wrong.

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Old 10-18-2006, 07:03 PM
 
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Yes, I feel it's absolutely unethical. I wouldn't want anyone to nurse my baby, as I don't know what their medical history is (i.e. what diseases/illnesses they might expose my child to). And I feel it's not anyone's place, except mine, to decide if my child will be breastfed.

I think a better approach would be to express concern to the parent about the child's size/lack of development. Or if there is clear neglect, to report to CPS.
I agree
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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I'm not saying that the pp's who said it was unethical are wrong. I just think the point needs to be made that it's only our society's screwed up priorities that make it wrong.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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