I consider myself pretty staunchly pro-breastfeeding. I don’t mean that I am wildly in favor of breastfeeding over formula feeding. Science milk is a fantastic and important resource and people who feed formula should receive whatever support they need to do so. When I say I am “pro-breastfeeding,” I mean that I am a big fan of people feeding babies when babies are hungry. In general, I think parents should feed hungry infants–from bottle or breast–wherever and whenever they want to. In a restaurant? Sure thing. Everyone else is eating, so the baby might as well too. On an airplane? Of course. On the floor of the U.N.? Great. In a meeting with Donald Trump? Please do. But one Washington woman was ticketed this week for breastfeeding at a time when she really shouldn’t have been, because she was driving down the highway while she did it.
According to the New York Daily News, another driver called 911 after spotting a woman driving down the I-5 interstate highway with a baby sitting in her lap. Washington State Patrol Trooper Rocky Oliphant got the call and went to check on the car, and when he pulled up to the driver’s side window, he saw the woman was actually breastfeeding her 1-year-old, who was just sitting between her and the steering wheel and suckling away.
“I WISH I WAS KIDDING:” Tweeted Trooper Mark Francis. “911 caller reports baby riding on mom’s lap. When Trooper stops car, he realizes mom is breast feeding the child.”
“Is that allowed?” asked a bewildered Twitter follower.
“Nope,” answered Trooper Mark.
When questioned, the mother admitted that she had been cited for driving while breastfeeding before, even though breastfeeding while driving is very unsafe. Children that small are supposed to be in car seats in the back seat, not sitting in the front seat between their mothers and the steering wheels. If the baby is wigging out and needing to be fed, finding someplace to stop would make a lot more sense than trying to breastfeed while driving.
“You see people do crazy things while they’re driving, like people smoking heroin,” Francis said. “But a baby between you and the steering wheel is extremely unsafe.”
OK, smoking heroin while driving is probably worse than breastfeeding while driving, but both are pretty bad. The woman was reportedly given a $136 ticket for having the child unrestrained, and the Oliphant said he planned to notify Child Protective Services so they could follow up on the case.