North Dakota Mom Accused of Breastfeeding While Drunk

Filed under: In The News

Breastfeeding and cocktails do not go together -- or so one North Dakota mom is learning. Image courtesy of Stock Exchange.

When the police responded to a domestic disturbance call at Stacey Anvarinia's house on February 13, she let them in. Then she proceeded to nurse her 6-week-old baby in front of the officers. The problem? Anvarinia was drunk.

According to the police report, Anvarinia, 26, of Grand Forks, North Dakota, was "extremely intoxicated" when the police showed up at her door. The officers called a local hospital and were told that "breastfeeding while intoxicated is not good for the child." They arrested Anvarinia and transported her baby to the hospital for observation.

On Monday, Anvarinia plead not guilty to charges of child neglect. Her blood alcohol level at the time of the incident is not known.

Assistant State's Attorney Carmell Mattison admits that this case is unusual: "We have seen other cases of an extremely intoxicated parent not being able to care for their child because of their intoxication level," she said. Typically, though, drunk parental neglect doesn't include breastfeeding a child while under the influence.

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The case is raising all sorts of questions about alcohol and breastfeeding, specifically what amount of drinking constitutes child neglect. The La Leche League advises nursing mothers not to breastfeed while drunk, of course, but does not put a complete prohibition on drinking and nursing. "When the breastfeeding mother drinks occasionally or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, the amount of alcohol her baby recieves has not been proven to be harmful." According to their web site, it takes two to three hours for a serving of beer or wine to completely pass through the system of a 120 pound woman, so a glass of wine with dinner is fine, as long as mom times her drinking to fall between feedings.

But, the LLL adds, "The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount the mother consumes." Because of this, some experts advise nursing moms to stay away from the hooch altogether. "No matter how little you drink," cautions lactation consultant Dee Grabanski, "you are potentially exposing your baby to alcohol."

There's no word on how Stacey Anvarinia's baby is doing, or on whether her drinking is a chronic issue or just a one-time deal. Clearly Anvarinia made a poor choice when she nursed her baby while under the influence, but is her behavior criminal, or just stupid?

What do you think: Should Stacey Anvarinia be punished for neglecting her child, or does that criminalize drinking for all nursing moms? Did you ever drink while you were nursing?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.