Separating Breastfeeding Babies From Moms Could Affect ‘Health For A Lifetime': Doctors

Eleanor Goldberg
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 29: Karina Lopez, a 23-year-old single mother from Guatemala carries her one-year-old daughter in her arms are being detained by Border Patrol after crossing illegally into the United States on Thursday, June 29, 2017

An international group of physicians condemned the Trump administration on Thursday for separating breastfeeding mothers from their babies, calling it a “human rights violation.”

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, an international physicians organization, urged the government to immediately reunite infants with their mothers to end what could cause particular emotional and physical trauma to this demographic.

“Separating children from their parents results in toxic stress that impacts breastfeeding and health for a lifetime,” Dr. Timothy Tobolic, president of the academy, said in a statement. “Furthermore, separating a mother from her breastfeeding child violates the human rights of both mother and child.”

The Trump administration is now scrambling to figure out how it’s going to reunite the more than 2,300 children who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under the president’s zero tolerance policy on immigration. It’s a situation that’s devolved into “total chaos,” said Carlos Garcia, an immigration attorney working on the issue.  

The U.N. Human Rights Council says that infants in emergency settings, such as refugee camps, have the protected right to be breastfed. But there has been at least one reported case of a breastfeeding mother being forcibly separated from her baby. An undocumented immigrant from Honduras told CNN on June 14 that her daughter was taken from her while she was breastfeeding and awaiting prosecution for entering the country illegally. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman disputed the claim.

Mothers and children wait to be assisted by volunteers in a humanitarian center in the border town of McAllen, Texas, on June 14, 2018.

The Trump administration has established at least three “tender-age” facilities where the youngest detainees are being kept. Some are babies, many are...

Continue reading on HuffPost