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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1506
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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In GA, can a hospital force a mother to feed formula to her

Customer Question

In GA, can a hospital force a mother to feed formula to her newborn if she is producing breastmilk and based on her religious beliefs that is all she chooses to feed her newborn baby?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I’m a family lawyer and appellate attorney with 36 years’ experience and also have extensive experience with landlord-tenant issues. I look forward to helping you today.

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The hospital has to honor your intention to breastfeed. It can only allow formula if you want to breastfeed only if the child is in danger of not getting enough nutrition. See the following:

Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding15 1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff. 2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy. 3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding. 4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth. 5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants. 6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated. 7. Practice “rooming in”—allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day. 8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand. 9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants. 10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them upon discharge from the hospital or clinic.

If the hospital thinks it is medically indicated, the hospital will intervene and give formula because they are worried about the survival of the baby. Otherwise, if everything is okay with the baby and he/she is getting enough nutrition, you have the absolute right to refuse formula based on your beliefs.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for allowing me to help you. I will answer any other question you may have regarding this issue here. Feel free to ask me anything else and come back into this room to ask follow-up questions free of charge once you have rated me.

I hope that you get to choose your own path and that you can breastfeed without the hospital's intervention. You have the right NOT to be forced to have the infant fed with formula as long as the child is doing fine. If the child is in any danger and is not getting enough breast milk, they MUST give the infant formula or they could be sued for negligence. I'm sure you understand that dilemma -- but as long as you are producing enough milk, they must honor your wishes. You can let them know YOU know your rights and you're entitled to breastfeed the child without any formula whatsoever.

Please let me know if you need any more information, such as where to find an attorney in your area, or anything else related to this question. Id' rather be rated positively and if I didn't answer all of your questions, I'd like to have a chance to make sure that I do. Thanks in advance for rating me. If you need more information, let me know as I’m happy to give it.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you or if there is any more information that you need. Thanks!