The story is full of bad breastfeeding puns (that, honestly cracked me
up), but an interesting case came up in the Globe and Mail this
weekend. A mom has made her breastfeeding schedule so rigorous that the
ex-boyfriend who fathered their child has been essentially totally cut
off from spending any time with his daughter.
A judge has decided enough is enough. Either wean your child or start pumping honey, because Daddy’s got to have a go.
Johne and Carl Cavannah were together only briefly, but their
relationship resulted in the birth of a little girl in June 2006.
Although the couple was broken up, Cavannah made it clear he wanted to
be in their daughter’s life, even quitting his job so he could move
closer to Johne and the little girl. He volunteered (volunteered!) to
pay child support, and bought books on parenting.
But Johne told him he couldn’t take the little girl anywhere,
because she needed be with mom to be breastfed. The Globe and Mail
cites an e-mail from Johne to Cavannah that makes it pretty clear she
was about to sway on the issue: “A baby belongs with its mother, and if
you had an understanding of the
needs of a fully breast-fed baby and truly had [her] interests at
heart, you would not be bringing this subject up again.”
with the baby
facing past her second birthday, the date the World Health
Organization suggests breastfeeding up to, a judge has said it’s over.
Johne can breastfeed her toddler if she wants to, but she has to do it
via pumped milk, so Cavannah can spend some real time with his
Frankly, I’m surprised he waited this long to “bring this subject
up again.” Because as wonderful as breastfeeding is (and this is very
definitely not a breastfeeding vs. formula post), it’s also pretty darn
great for a child to have their biological parent who WANTS to be in
the picture and has demonstrated themselves to be a a willing and able
participant in their life. If anything, this mother is proving not how
important it is to breastfeed but the theories of those women who would
say breastfeeding chains them to their child.
Because while there are the bonding elements of breastfeeding, the
larger part of the argument has always been that breastmilk itself is
healthier than formula. So pumping and handing it over to her
ex-boyfriend to feed their daughter would still make this child a “full
breast-fed baby,” albeit one who had the opportunity to bond with both
her mother AND her father during her formative years.
Johne actually works in a daycare (which enabled her to keep her daughter around
her so constantly), where she sees perfectly healthy and able children
who are not attached to the mother’s breast constantly.
What irks me about this story? This is a woman who has put
breastfeeding above everything else. She’s taken “breast is best” to an
extreme that’s unhealthy, and makes a bad name for breastfeeders
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