By James Bryce
AN international campaign to reunite a woman with her daughter has been launched after the child was taken into care by Spanish authorities concerned about her ‘chaotic’ breast feeding patterns.
The campaign, backed by childcare experts, follows an official report which criticised the woman for breastfeeding her 15 month old daughter, Alma, on demand.
The woman was also condemned in the report for allowing the infant to sleep in bed with her.
“She uses breastfeeding as a pacifier and a toy, offering her breast any time the girl cries and letting it take it anywhere, no matter the time and context,” says an edited version of the report.
It goes on to accuse the woman, called Habiba, of instilling ‘inadequate eating patterns and sleep hygiene’ in her daughter.
Madrid social services insist there were more serious reasons for taking the child into care, but the report has angered Spanish doctors and mothers groups around the world.
Senior Spanish paediatricians pointed out that groups including the World Health Organisation and Unicef recommend breastfeeding on demand up to the age of two or more.
“Habiba’s attitude regarding her daughter, possibly even without her being aware of it, do follow the current recommendations on infant feeding,” said Maria Carmen Alonso, head of neonatology at Madrid’s Doce de Octubre hospital.
Social services sources said Habiba was suffering psychological problems, was aggressive, hurled objects at other young mothers and would go weeks without bathng her child, among other problems.
“The Madrid regional government supports breastfeeding, but this case has nothing to do with that and is only about protecting the daughter,” a source said.
“The security of her daughter was in real danger.”