EASTON, Pa. - A Northampton County mother is outraged after she said a custody agreement would force her to stop breastfeeding her daughter.
Jessica Moser has been in a custody battle with her daughter Jasmine's father for months. She said a judge implied two weeks ago she should stop breastfeeding Jasmine so the 10-month-old could stay overnight with her dad.
The judge in the case, Northampton County President Judge Stephen Baratta, said he said no such thing, and Moser's attorney has since said that Moser was upset and misspoke.
Since Jasmine was born last December, Moser said she's been the one primarily caring for her daughter, but the legal system is now involved.
"I'm feeling frustrated, hurt," explained Moser. "I'm trying to keep myself from crying. It's very emotional."
At a recent custody hearing, a judge ruled 10-month-old Jasmine must stay with her father overnight for two days. Moser had previously agreed to the terms, but she said the father never complied with the order's incrementally increasing visits with his daughter, and that therefore she feels the child and the father are not prepared for a two-day visitation.
And, despite her earlier agreement, Moser is also objecting on the grounds that the visitation will require her to find an alternative to breastfeeding her daughter.
"And if I do not comply, I will have my child taken away," added Moser.
The World Health Organization recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, then start eating solid foods, while continuing to nurse for at least two years. Moser said she's not trying to keep Jasmine from her father, she just wants what's best for her daughter.
"I'm very passionate about having that right to breastfeed," she said.
Pumping isn't an option. Moser said she can't pump enough milk for two days.
"The breast is best, and that's what I'm trying to do for her," she said.
We reached out to the attorney for Jasmine's father Friday afternoon; so far our calls have not been returned.
Allentown, PA 18102