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 following recommended best practice and making a unique contribution to the welfare of your child. But shockingly, social workers, CAFCASS officers, lawyers and judges, are notoriously ignorant about breastfeeding and 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, have been known to undermine a child’s right to breastfeed. They may treat it as a “lifestyle choice”, which many disapprove of especially if it’s on demand, goes on for more than a few months, and 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 seen examples of social workers and judges claiming that a mother is over protective or over anxious or controlling because she insists on breastfeeding her child. 

If professionals undermine breastfeeding they are in breach of established UK and UN official health policy, which aims to support and increase breastfeeding. (See next section.) 

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