Mother arrested for drinking while breastfeeding; waitress fired for calling cops
CONWAY, Ark. (WKRC) -- An Arkansas mother was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child after breastfeeding her baby while drinking.
The mother, Tasha Adams, says she didn't realize she was breaking the law.
"I did drink. I did breastfeed. I didn't know it was illegal. If I knew it was illegal, I wouldn't have done it," says Adams.
Charges were dropped against Adams because there wasn't enough evidence to prove she had too many drinks to care for her child.
After the funeral of a family friend, Adams and her parents stopped for dinner at Gusanos Restaurant in Conway. Adams also brought her 6-month-old daughter, Ana, because she was still nursing at the time.
"We had a pizza, and then we had a big old thing of spinach dip," Adams says. "Then, I had a beer with that, and then I had another one later on after."
Adams says over the course of an hour and a half she only had two beers, but when Jackie Conners, a waitress at Gusanos, came in for a staff meeting, she says she saw something very different that disturbed her.
"They looked like they were having a good time, just drinking," says Conners. "Things started getting louder and louder, and then the baby started getting fussy."
According to Conners, Adams began to breastfeed her child, but she wasn't drinking beer.
"There were several drinks in front of her, about two or three drinks in front of her already, when I got there," Conners says. "I watched the bartender make them, looked like Long Islands. But regardless if it was that or not, then it was strong liquor that was in those glasses."
Conners then reported Adams to management, but was told they weren't going to cut the mother off. Conners, who has a daughter of her own, consulted her mother about what to do. Then Conners called the police.
"And they said, 'Ma'am, we've got a report that you were drinking alcohol while breastfeeding,'" Adams says. "I said, 'OK, I didn't know that was illegal.'"
Arkansas law doesn't expressly prohibit drinking and breastfeeding, but the police made a judgement call. They told Adams to call a sober family member to take her daughter home then arrested her for child endangerment.
Adams said she is very cautious about breastfeeding, and that her daughter never had formula before because Adams believes it is less healthy than breast milk.
Adams insisted she wasn't drunk and wished the police would have given her a Breathalyzer test, but Conway police say they only give the test to suspected drunken drivers.
Surprisingly little research has been done on the effects of drinking while nursing. Although alcohol is toxic for a newborn's brain, it's unclear how much alcohol gets into the mother's milk while drinking.
Conners was also fired the week after the incident, but she insists she was trying to do the right thing.
"If I was ever in that situation again, I would still do the same thing, because that baby can't speak up for itself," Conners says. "No one else was doing anything. Even if I knew my job was on the line and it was right around the holidays, I would still do it again."