Maryland Court Delivers A Hostile Ruling To Breastfeeding Mother

The Nurturing Root Supports Breastfeeding Northeast Ohio

A breastfeeding mother in Maryland is fighting a magistrate’s order allowing the father of their infant, the right to feed the exclusively breastfed baby formula, during overnight visits.

Amber Brown and Corey Lewis, residents of Charles County Maryland, welcomed a baby boy in February 2017, but separated shortly after their child’s birth. During a custody hearing in July, Monise Brown, a county magistrate facilitated a disagreement between Ms. Brown and Mr. Lewis’ beliefs regarding how to feed their baby during overnight visitations. The baby’s mother was exclusively breastfeeding her infant, and was not able to express enough breastmilk to send with the baby for overnight visits, with the father. Mr. Lewis insisted that he should be allowed overnight visits, and has the right to feed his baby formula during that time.

Magistrate Brown agreed with the father, stating “breast-feeding is not a reason to prevent [Lewis’s] visitation, and that insisting on breast-feeding would be considered deliberate alienation of [Lewis],” according to Ms. Brown’s attorney.

The mother filed a request for exception, providing a note from her son’s pediatrician stating the baby could not tolerate formula. At a follow-up hearing, in August, a second court official, Magistrate Mitsy Metzgar, agreed with the initial recommendation, forcing the Mother to comply with the overnight visitation ruling, that includes allowing the father the right to feed his exclusively breastfed infant, formula. Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization strongly recommend infants be fed only breastmilk for the first six months of life, and Maryland law protects and states a vested interest in the infant and mother nursing relationship, as a basis to promote family values and public acceptance of breastfeeding, two court magistrates support detrimental recommendations for this mother-baby dyad.

This insulting arrangement in the custody ruling, comes at a very ironic time. Throughout the month of August, several organizations and coalitions spotlight breastfeeding with National Breastfeeding Month, World Breastfeeding Week, and Black Breastfeeding Week. Huge efforts are made to highlight and celebrate the importance of increasing a collaborative effort to generate a breastfeeding-friendly landscape. It appears that our culture and courts have quite a bit of remedial work to do, if they want to support and honor breastfeeding mothers, babies, and families!

The Nurturing Root proudly supports breastfeeding mothers. The health of our families, communities, institutions, and societies, are inextricably linked to our commitment to honoring breastfeeding mothers and babies.

Five Reasons Couples LOVE Birth Boot Camp

childbirth education classes in Cleveland Birth Boot Camp

We are thrilled to offer Cleveland families Birth Boot Camp® childbirth preparation classes. This comprehensive 10-class course is designed for couples planning an unmedicated birth. Birth Boot Camp offers a modern, fun curriculum to help parents achieve an amazing birth! Our Birth Boot Camp training can help you have an intentional, empowering, and positive pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience. Here are the top five reasons couples love their Birth Boot Camp courses!

Thoughtful and Complete Curriculum
Birth Boot Camp presents the most current, evidence-based information from midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, chiropractors, and a community of birthing experts. Our 10-class series offers approximately 25 hours of in-person instruction time, complete with birth and prenatal exercise videos. Couples also receive a beautiful 170-page workbook featuring weekly nutrition and fitness information, labor comfort measures, and relaxation exercises. All students also receive a breastfeeding video download from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with over three hours of pertinent breastfeeding and troubleshooting information. Additionally, after each class, we send couples a weekly email containing further research, information, and articles related to that evening’s topic.

Supportive and Encouraging Community
It feels awesome to be surrounded by supportive people that share your values. All of our students come to Birth Boot Camp because they want to have an amazing birth. Birth Boot Camp instructors love helping couples access the resources and information they need to have a healthy pregnancy, empowering birth, and restorative postpartum experience. The 10-week series is also wonderful because it allows students to connect with other couples planning a natural birth. The Birth Boot Camp village is strong, thriving, and growing!

Your Partner is Prepared to be an Amazing Birth Companion
The Birth Boot Camp 10-week series is for couples, not just mom, and this is purposeful. The pregnancy and birth journey is a transformative time in your relationship. We help teach your partner how to lead you into deep relaxation, find and support your rhythm, and confidently provide labor comfort measures. Dads also learn all about the physical and emotional side of pregnancy, labor, and birth. Birth Boot Camp gives couples so many tools to be successful partners-in-birth.

Infant Care and Postpartum Planning Resources
Birth is just the beginning! Many couples have an awesome birth experience, but once baby is here, they are unsure about how to proceed with their little one. Caring for a fragile newborn can be a cause of anxiety for new parents. Birth Boot Camp knows this, and we dedicate an entire class to infant care. We discuss common newborn procedures, typically performed just after birth, and the alternatives. As prepared, informed parents, you will learn to confidently decide what is right for your baby. We also learn about newborn sleep patterns, normal infant behavior, breastfeeding, and soothing techniques. We help mothers and their partners prepare and plan their best postpartum experience. We want parents to have a realistic understanding of what birth recovery and infant care may look like. We talk about postpartum nutrition, healing, setting expectations and boundaries with family and friends, finding professional support and resources, postpartum emotions, breastfeeding, and even, sex and intimacy!

Birth Boot Camp Works!
Our students rock their natural births. The statistics from 2016 report that 84% of Birth Boot Camp graduates achieved a vaginal birth, and only 16% of students delivered their baby by Cesarean section. Of our students that had vaginal deliveries, nearly 80% birthed WITHOUT ANY pain medication! By comparison, the national C-section rate (2015) was 32%, and only about 20% of women who delivered vaginally did so without pain medication. These statistics speak truth! Birth Boot Camp students have the information, resources, support, intent, and confidence to have their ideal birth experience!

birth boot camp classes birth statistics 2016

It is such an honor to teach Birth Boot Camp childbirth education classes in Cleveland and help couples reach their birth goals! Birth Boot Camp childbirth and parenting education classes are now available through Cleveland Natural Birth. Please check out their website for a full description of courses and workshops and upcoming community events. (updated April 8, 2018)