Breastfeeding Mom Told to 'Use a Bottle' & Report for Jury Duty

breastfeeding baby

One of the most frustrating things about being a breastfeeding mom is being given advice by people who don't know anything about breastfeeding. Usually, though, such unsolicited counsel comes from well-meaning people you can brush off with a roll of the eyes -- your mother-in-law, your childless aunt, your busybody neighbor. It's quite a different story when it's a court of law that's telling you how to feed your kid ... so you don't have to skip jury duty.


That's what happened to Scottish mom Aileen Robertson, much to her completely justified chagrin. Robertson's son Isaac was only a few weeks old when she got a letter in the mail telling her to report for jury duty. Since potentially spending all day, every day for an unspecified amount of time in a courtroom is a fairly impractical course of action for the mother of a newborn, Robertson filed for an exemption, fully expecting to be let off the hook (at least until her son was a little older). Instead, what she got was another letter, telling her to ... report for jury duty. Sigh. So, naturally, Robertson called up the court to find out what the problem was, and to explain that because she was breastfeeding, she couldn't leave her infant son. What did the court say? 

"Use a bottle."

USE A BOTTLE?! Um, thanks for the helpful idea, court official. Notice I said "court official" and not "medical professional." As in, where do these people get off giving breastfeeding advice? Some babies (like Isaac Robertson, for example, and my daughter) simply will not take a bottle. Just will not. Take. A bottle. What would the court suggest parents do in that situation? 

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The court official Robertson spoke with said she would need a doctor's note to be excused, which, in fairness, probably wouldn't be tremendously hard to obtain, but it shouldn't be necessary. And since then, the Scottish Court Service has backpedaled big-time, saying Robertson was "given incorrect information from a court worker:"

"It is not our policy to request a medical certificate to support a request for excusal on the grounds of breastfeeding and we apologize for any suggestion that one is required."

So, there's that (too little, too late?). But if I were Robertson, I'd still be peeved. And this is just (more) proof that our society still doesn't fully support or understand breastfeeding. Will it ever?

Did you ever get called for jury duty while breastfeeding? What did you do?



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