Breastfeeding mother defies court order

Tamara Bolan is breastfeeding her infant son, but she could be forced to stop because of a court decision.

Court orders mother to hand over nursing infant to father on weekends

Tamara Bolan was ordered by the court to let the father of her nursing infant look after the child on weekends. (CBC)

Tamara Bolan is breastfeeding her infant son, but she could be forced to stop on weekends because of a court decision.

Last week, a judge ordered that she hand over her four-month-old son and their two-year-old daughter to the children's father every weekend as part of a custody arrangement. The two parents aren't allowed to have contact with each other.

The mother, from Warman, Sask., was supposed to hand over the children Friday at noon. She didn't do so, and she said she's not going to because she's concerned for the health of her son.

"I'm not handing him over," she told CBC News. "I don't care if I have to go to jail."

Out of options

She said she has tried giving her son, Luke, a bottle but he's refused. She adds she can't produce enough breast milk to last through the weekend.

"I'm just worried about if he's going to take the bottle and formula and if he's going to get enough food," she said. "I just produced enough for him, so I can't pump a bunch of breast milk to store."

On top of that, she said the boy has been doing a lot of cluster feeding and she loves the bonding.

"It's very healthy for the child and it's natural," she said, and her doctor agrees.

Dr. G.R. Daniels is recommending that Luke be breastfed until he's six-months old.

"It would be beneficial for Luke's growth, development and bonding with his mother," according to a note from the doctor.

Unexpected outcome

Brent Barilla, a family law lawyer in Saskatoon, isn't involved in this case but has dealt with similar ones. In more than 20 years practising law, he said he can't remember an outcome like this.

"I can't even recall a time where the court hasn't sort of gone out of its way to make sure that they respect that decision on the part of the mother and what that means to the child and work around that," he said.

Bolan's lawyer said she's launching an appeal on the access order.

With files from CBC's Steve Pasqualotto