Woman arrested for breastfeeding drunk

July 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
An unusual case in North Dakota is capturing attention here in the Bay Area and in fact, worldwide. A young mother was arrested for breastfeeding her baby while drunk.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

Stacey Anvarinia, 26, faces felony child neglect charges after police in North Dakota accused her of breastfeeding her 6-week-old baby while she was drunk.

"I think I'd be more concerned about her ability to parent that child," says Sheila Janakos.

Janakos is a lactation consultant in Burlingame. Currently she's working with Katherine Schembri and her daughter Sarah. This new mom doesn't drink at all, but Janakos says a drink here or there is not a big deal and she's concerned publicity about the North Dakota case could make some women think twice about breastfeeding.

"It's one more thing for people to worry about. Thinking, 'Well, I better not breast feed because what if I ever want to have a drink.' We don't want people to feel that way. We want them to know breast feeding is the best food and best protection for their baby," says Janakos.

"Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation" is the doctor's bible about breastfeeding and drugs, including alcohol. Dr. Deborah Quinn-Chen, M.D. is an ob-gyn at Peninsula Women's Health.

"In the past we haven't been too strict about advising patients to completely avoid alcohol, but there have been some studies that have shown babies that are exposed to regular drinking or binge drinking, can have delays of psycho-motor development," says Dr. Quinn-Chen.

She advises her patients if they are going to drink, drink a modest amount and wait a few hours before breastfeeding.

Bloggers are buzzing about the North Dakota case. Many criticize government intrusion and others call the mother unfit. Anvarinia is scheduled to be sentenced next month and could face up to five years in prison.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments