One woman was fined $400 for not wearing her seatbelt correctly. This was not a case of negligence but rather circumstantial as she had been pumping breast milk for her 11-month-old son. She and her partner did not have a better time doing it and had not thought anything of it. Their car had become a regular pumping station, but now they have to rethink this part of their routines as new parents.
Pumping breast milk is more complicated than one initially thinks
Breastfeeding in public is no longer a faux pas as it once was. For many years it was seen as an inappropriate activity for mothers to do. So, they either hid in public or privately fed their children. However, for some, the stigma is still there. This is also why so many mothers revert to formula or pumping to make public breastfeeding easier for them if they feel uncomfortable.
Recently, one mother was breastfeeding three times daily, which meant the occasional breast milk pumping session—something they often did from the comforts of their car. However, on one occasion, they received a fine, not for pumping breastmilk, but for not wearing her seat belt correctly in the pumping process.
Rianna and Steven were still nursing their baby three times a day when they were invited to a wedding. When breastfeeding, a mother has to do so regularly, so their milk supply doesn’t diminish but also to reduce the risk of pain and mastitis. Being invited out for a few hours at a time meant that Rianna would have to pump her breast milk while on the move. This wasn’t a new concept. To them, they have often had pumping sessions in their car for lack of a better time to do so. However, this time around, they received a rather expensive surprise in the mail one month after the wedding.
Nearly exposed while pumping breast milk
A letter arrived addressed to Steven, which they could immediately tell was a fine. Rianna is allegedly a woman who abides by the rules, and respectfully. So, you might imagine how she felt when Stephen opened the fine, only to find out it was because she was not wearing her seatbelt correctly. However, being a law-abiding citizen, she knew it must’ve been right before or after she finished pumping. “I was either just about to or had just finished pumping both breasts. The seat belt was on me normally the whole time I was actually pumping, so to have this happen was really shocking timing,” she said.
Luckily, the traffic cameras had photographed her pumping breast milk while she was still dressed decently. Had the camera snapped a shot two seconds earlier or later, they would have got a picture of her naked breast. “I had my dress unbuttoned – luckily I hadn’t exposed anything,” she said, frustrated over the ordeal.
$400 fine and no warning
What was more surprising was the fact that Rianna was fined for wearing it “incorrectly.” She assumed that wearing your seatbelt, no matter how was enough to get you by without a fine. However, she was wrong. “I assumed that if you were wearing a seatbelt, then you would be fined. Not for incorrectly wearing one,” she said. “Stephen was fine about it, but I was more disappointed because I couldn’t be the one taking the points even though I was the one responsible.”
What triggered Rianna, was the fact that they were given this hefty fine, without any warning. After all, she was the passenger, not the driver. So, should Stephen have to bear the demerits on his name for her so-called negligence? “There should be a warning letter to the owner of the vehicle, explaining what the passenger has done wrong and that if you are caught in the future, then a fine will follow,” she said. “As a passenger, you should be able to do things like this but they’ve made it too difficult this way. Nothing is easy for moms.”
Keep Reading: Mom’s Tandem Breastfeeding Photos are Inspiring Thousands
- “Mum cops $400 for pumping breast milk in the passenger seat while driving home with her husband: ‘I thought it was a mistake at first’” Daily Mail. Louise Allingham. February 21, 2023.
- “‘I got a $400 fine for pumping milk… as a passenger’” Kid Spot. Josephine Agostino. February 20, 2023
- “Mum fined more than £200 after pumping breast milk inside her car.” TYLA. Jess Hardimann. February 21, 2023.