Drinking And Breastfeeding: It's Not Illegal, But Is It Right?
By Marlena C. Wilson, The Means Report Executive Producer/Director - email
Drinking While Breastfeeding Graphic
Augusta, GA -
Social media lit up this week when a news report revealed that an Arkansas woman was arrested for endangering the welfare of her child after breastfeeding while drinking alcohol at a restaurant. The charge was later dropped, but the issue of breastfeeding and drinking is still a very real one.
Less than an hour outside Little Rock lies the tiny town of Toad Suck, Arkansas -- population roughly 300. It's also home for Tasha Adams, a stay-at-home mother of three. "How much do your kids mean to you?" ABC's JuJu Chang asked the mother in a recent interview.
"More than anything in the world," Adams answered.
With her baby in tow, she and her parents stopped for dinner in the nearby town of Conway.
"I had a beer with that," Adams explained, "and then I had another one later on."
But that's not what Jackie Connors says she saw. The off-duty waitress showed up early for an after hours meeting and says, "There were two or three drinks in front of her already when I got there."
Connors - who has an infant daughter of her own - consulted her own mom.
"She texted me back and said, 'Call the police.'" Connors said.
Just after 11 o'clock police arrived at the restaurant Adams recalls. "They said, 'Ma'am we've got a report that you were drinking while breastfeeding.' And I said, 'Okay, I didn't know that was illegal.'"
It isn't illegal. The officers made a judgement call and arrested her for endangering the welfare of a child -- her child.
"In your opinion, you did nothing wrong," Chang confirmed.
But was Adams in fact endangering Baby Ana?
"Once in a while consuming a drink probably will not do any harm for the baby," Dr. Jennifer Ashton, an OB/GYN and Senior Medical Consultant says.
"So even the American Academy of Pediatrics does not say zero tolerance," Chang verified.
"Correct. They don't say zero," Ashton agreed.
The district attorney recently dropped Adam's child endangerment charge.
The management of Gusano's Restaurant wouldn't respond to our repeated requests for comment, but the waitress -- Jackie Connors -- was fired a week after calling the cops on Adams.
"If I was ever in that situation again, I would still do the same thing," Connors defends, "because that baby can't speak up for itself."
Adams sees it differently. "I'll say it until the day I die -- I was sober enough to breastfeed my kid."
This story inspired our What Does It Mean To You question this week. We want to know: Do you think it is okay for mothers to drink while breastfeeding? Would you report someone for doing it? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment or weighing in on our facebook or twitter pages.