A Question About Breastfeeding And Distractions.

In This News Story, a woman is going to trial for ( amongst other things ) driving while breastfeeding her baby.

I have one question for any mothers out there who have fed their baby this way. How mentally engaging is it? I’m not asking for a debate on Bonding, trust me. I sit firmly in the camp that supports this nurturing and nourishing activity anywhere, anytime, so I’ve no axe to grind, ok?

Purely in terms of what this woman is charged with, is it so distracting that you really should not be driving on Interstate Route 80 while breastfeeding?

Or, in fact, is it something that you can do with relative ease and are still able to focus your mental faculties on the driving you are doing at the same time?

I’m in no way trying to judge this person or slight her. I simply have no idea if her argument holds any water. The only people who could know such a thing are women who have done this. ( Not necessarily while driving, but who have breastfed their children ).

Does she have a good defense, all other road factors being equal and normal? Could you do it? Have you done it while driving?

Boy or girl, you should never drive while someone has their mouth on your nipple.

My own experience was that breastfeeding was totally engaging for me and my daughter. We had to be in a certain type of chair. I had to hold her a certain way. I couldn’t concentrate on much more than mindless television while it was happening. I had to support her with both hands.

I could not possilby have driven a car.

Other girlfriends have been able to breastfeed while walking, sleeping, typing and reading. But I don’t think any of them could drive while breastfeeding.

One of the things about breastfeeding is that while you do it, hormones are released that make you kind of post orgasmic. Sleepy, content, zoned. My girlfriends all agree its a little like being stoned. Not a good state of mind to be driving.

Well I would think it would be plenty distracting trying to contort myself so that I could breast feed with the child properly restrained in a car seat.

Since she had the kid out of the car seat on her lap while she drove then she needs to face some reckless endangerment charges.

Kids are squirmy little worms and while breast feeding isn’t all that mentally challenging keeping the kid in place and switching sides while driving seems like a hazard to me. Especially if the kid loses her grip… trying to reposition the baby and drive… you just don’t have enough hands/eyes.

I couldn’t do it and I would never attempt it.

What about HAVING THE BABY IN A CAR SEAT??? I think that is the major issue here.

Actually, many states allow you to remove an infant from the carseat for the purposes of feeding it during travel. Just not from the drivers seat. The risk of getting in an accident for the brief period that you are feeding the child is fairly low - most trips aren’t long enough for baby to need to eat - so its a calcuated risk (not one I’ve ever taken, but we never took long car trips with our kids when they were little).

However, there is the risk of the driver having an accident while you are feeding in the passenger seat…and there is the risk of feeding while driving.

First of all, driving while breastfeeding is unbelievably dangerous for the baby. Get into a minor accident (even one not your fault, ex., getting rear-ended), and watch your beloved child get (a) crushed against the steering wheel, (b) crushed by the air bag, or © thrown through the windshield. This is incredibly stupid.

Second, you usually need at least one hand to hold the baby while your breastfeeding, so you’ve only go the one hand available for driving. Not the worst thing, of course, but it makes things like, oh, shifting or signalling turns awfully difficult.

Third, I, at least, find breastfeeding to be very relaxing, sometimes to the point where I may very well fall asleep. Not particularly conducive to driving. Otherwise, as long as the baby’s latched on well, and doesn’t bite you, I suppose you could concentrate on something like driving. But you’d still be an idiot.

Words to live by!

Driving while breastfeeding has to be one of the stupidest, most irresponsible things a mother could do. Just slam the brakes one time and the kid risks getting cracked in the head on the steering wheel, or worse. Nope - when you’re driving, all you should be doing is driving. Period.

Wow Dangerosa… I did not know that!

I would never ever ever drive without my kids properly restrained in their car seats! I guess that’s just not a risk I’m willing to take either.

I would sit in the back so I could feed her if I needed to feed her on the drive or we would stop somewhere and I could take her out of the car and feed her.

My kids safety is worth the 15 minutes to stop to me.

Holy moly. No way.

And it’s not the mental engagement—in fact, moms are able to get up in the middle of the night, stumble to the crib, settle in, feed, put the baby back, toddle back to bed themselves. (I know, cosleeping Moms don’t have to do this).

Sure, I could do plenty of stuff while breastfeeding. I even have trouble reading during it, though, just from the standpoint of manual dexterity. I could probably perform surgery during it—but would you really want me to?

Yup, my vote goes towards stupid and irresponsible.

Once a latch is established, there isn’t really a lot of mental distraction involved in breastfeeding. That’s one of the joys of it, you can do it while simultaneously engaging in conversation, while watching TV, heck, I even knew a woman in law school who brought her baby to classes once or twice and nursed during lectures. Personally, I’ve frequently posted on the SDMB while breastfeeding.

However, that’s not to say that once the kid is popped onto the boob, you can just leave it there to suck away without paying any attention. You have to be able to look down and assess what the babe is doing from time to time, and there is still some need to burp and wipe away drool and so on. And therein is what I’d think is the larger difficulty in breastfeeding while driving, especially at interstate speeds. You aren’t mentally distracted, you’re physically distracted. You do occasionally need your eyes, you need one hand much of the time and both hands now and then. It’s not something you can do while safely retaining control of a two ton mass of metal and glass hurtling down a road at 65 miles an hour.

There’s also the whole idea of babies of that age needing to remain in the back seat in their rear-facing carseats. Unless this woman has 48Q breasts, that baby was in her lap. Absolutely inappropriate and stupidly dangerous.

This case is pretty weird, and I’m fairly sure that the weirdnesses of it are the only reason that it has escalated as far as it has, but there is one simple hinge point: she could have and should have simply pulled over. It would’ve been safer for everyone on the road and more comfortable for both her and baby. Unless she was rushing to give an emergency blood transfusion to save someone’s life, there is nowhere she needed to be that she couldn’t have reached ten or twenty minutes later.

Did anyone catch this quote from the husband from the story?

That mind-boggling fact aside – I’ve nursed three children, one of them for two and a half years – and I can say I’ve discreetely nursed in a variety of locations that were safe (in malls, at Mass, in the woods while hiking, wherever baby needs it!). I would never, ever consider nursing a child in a car, much less driving! Having the baby out of the carseat is nuts. But faced with a distraught baby, I would choose stopping the car and adding a couple hours to a trip rather than endanger our lives. (Not that it would take that long, for heaven’s sake.)

No wait; I lied. I remember attempting to nurse one time with me out of my seatbelt, attempting to position my breast in front of one unhappy baby. It was mostly unsuccessful, me being a buxom barely A-cup, even when in full nursing mode. Anyway, with an older child it can definitely be easy to do other things while nursing, but this is one of those situations that merely being able to do something isn’t the issue. It’s the wisdom of doing it in the first place.

AHhh, but she was just obeying her husband.

Yeah, you know, in the grand scheme of things, breastfeeding while driving is the absolute least of this woman’s problems.

(I’d really like to see an article about this case headlined realistically. “Member of scary female-oppressive cult engages in outrageously reckless, life-threatening behavior because of husband’s brainwashing.”)

Aaaargh. I was SO afraid it would come to this. Look, as I wrote the OP I realized, there are perhaps 3 great Pit Threads that could sprout from that article.

The comments about being almost post-orgasmic in terms of relaxation, that is what I was curious about. ( And no, not because of the sexual innuendo of post-orgasmic ). I’ve friends who have told me it is SOOO relaxing.

Hence my OP.

As for the rest of her life and situation? :eek:

I can’t really vouch, personally, for the post-orgasmic type feeling. When the babies were tiny, I felt incredible waves of love for them as we nursed, so that could be what is being described. As a long-term nursing mom, I’d say those type feelings diminish. When you’re nursing a toddler, the sessions aren’t as long, since they get most of their nutrition elsewhere. It becomes a comfort, a time to connect, a time to relax and get ready for sleep.

Could I see a cite for that? That sounds dangerous!

Yeah, I was a little shocked by it as well. And I shouldn’t say many states, I’ve only looked at the law for Minnesota - I’m assuming that other states might have a similar exception.


257.710d Child restraint system required; exceptions; violation as civil infraction; points; abstract; exemption by rules; alternate means of protection.

Sec. 710d.
(1) Except as provided in this section, or as otherwise provided by law, a rule promulgated pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, or federal regulation, each driver transporting a child less than 4 years of age in a motor vehicle shall properly secure that child in a child restraint system that meets the standards prescribed in 49 C.F.R. 571.213.
** (2) This section does not apply to any child being nursed. **
(3) This section does not apply if the motor vehicle being driven is a bus, school bus, taxicab, moped, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle not required to be equipped with safety belts under federal law or regulations.
(4) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.
(5) Points shall not be assessed under section 320a for a violation of this section. An abstract required under section 732 shall not be submitted to the secretary of state regarding a violation of this section.
(6) The secretary of state may exempt by rules promulgated pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, a class of children from the requirements of this section, if the secretary of state determines that the use of the child restraint system required under subsection (1) is impractical because of physical unfitness, a medical problem, or body size. The secretary of state may specify alternate means of protection for children exempted under this subsection.

Michigan Tennesee Idaho have similar exceptions, but I didn’t search every state.

That was one cute baby.

its a shame an innocent like that gets born to such wackos