Section 17: Breastfeeding – what can I do to protect my child’s right to breastfeed?

If you are breastfeeding an infant or older child you are doing what is proven to be best for your child and making a unique contribution to their immediate and long-term welfare.  Shockingly, social workers, CAFCASS officers, lawyers and judges, are notoriously ignorant about breastfeeding and its multiple benefits, and therefore often unsympathetic to breastfeeding mothers. They see breastfeeding as interfering with a father’s ’right‘ to see his child, since he can’t breastfeed, or with their plans to have the child taken from you to a foster care placement or an adoption. Even health visitors and some midwives who should know better, are known to undermine a child’s right to breastfeed. They may treat it as a ’lifestyle choice‘, which they disapprove of especially if it’s on demand, lasts for more than a few months, and goes along with carrying a baby in a sling, co-sleeping and other aspects of ’attachment‘ parenting. They may pressure you to stop breastfeeding in order to break the healthy bond of love and security it creates, and use it against you. We have heard social workers and judges claiming that a mother is over protective or over anxious or controlling, even selfish, because she insists on breastfeeding her child, and insists that it is what’s best for them. 

When professionals undermine breastfeeding, they are in breach of established UK,UNICEF and World Health Organisation health policy, which aims to support and increase breastfeeding. (See 17.1) 

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