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Judge banned mother from breastfeeding because she got a tattoo


A Federal Circuit Court judge in Sydney, Australia granted an injunction forbidding a 20-year-old woman from breastfeeding her son because she got a tattoo. He said she may have picked up a blood-borne disease when she got the tattoo and could infect her baby through her mother's milk. The mother had negative results on hepatitis and HIV tests, but the judge said the tests were not conclusive.

Dr Karleen Gribble, a breastfeeding advocate from the University of Western Sydney] said she had never seen a case like this before. "I'm only aware of one case where somebody contracted HIV from tattooing and that was somebody who'd got a tattoo in Bali, not somebody who'd gotten it in Australia," she said. "I think when it comes to mothers and breastfeeding, we need to consider that mothers are people, they do things. Sometimes there's a risk associated with what they do, but we generally think that they don't need to protect their children from all risk and it [comes down to] considering, is this a reasonable risk? Most people consider that the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis from using a tattoo parlour, and particularly if they've been careful about checking it out, is infinitesimally small."

The mother appealed the judge's ruling and a Family Court overturned it.

Image: Shutterstock

Breast milk is weirder than you think

If you think about lactation too hard, it starts to seem a little strange — like the biological equivalent of saying the word "that" over and over until it's just a weird sound you're making. But, writes Nicholas Day at Slate, the sort of existential weirdness of breast milk is nothing compared to what's going on in the stuff at a chemical level. For instance, breast milk contains sugars that aren't actually digestible by human infants. That's because they aren't meant for the infant, itself. Rather, your breast milk is helpfully feeding your baby's intestinal bacteria. Freakier still: In monkeys, the chemical composition of breast milk can change, depending on factors like your baby's sex and whether your baby is showing signs of illness.