A Brazilian mother has been ordered to feed her infant exclusively from breast milk after she received a warning that pumping formula might harm her baby.
The court order was passed in the state of Paraiba on Thursday, which was ranked among the world’s top five countries for infant deaths last year, with Brazil accounting for nearly half of all deaths of infants under the age of three.
“We want you to give the infant breast milk from your breast, not formula,” a judge told Maria Rosa de Mello, 40, a mother of two from the city of Garaús.
Ms de Mellos, a single mother with no experience pumping formula, said she was not surprised by the ruling.
“I know my baby can’t live without breast milk,” she said.
“My child is very happy.
She can’t eat, he can’t breathe.”
The judge’s order was made in a case filed by a lawyer representing the mother, who has not been named.
In the case, Ms de Mella has been accused of feeding her infant formula from a bottle in a private room in her home, and has filed an appeal in the Paraibas Supreme Court.
In response, her lawyers argued that the ruling was unfair.
“This is not about a baby.
It’s about the mother’s right to feed the child,” said the lawyer, Jose Antonio Mota.”
She needs to feed and feed her child, not a bottle.”
Ms de Lello said she would have to feed formula for months before her baby was old enough to be able to drink.
“You can’t say that if your baby has been breastfed that he can drink,” she added.
Brazil has one of the world and the highest rates of formula-feeding deaths in the world.
In 2010, there were over 5,000 infant deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.
Ms Mello said her case was not a new one, and had been filed in the same court.
“What’s happening here is not new,” she told Reuters.
“It was just that we have been doing this for a long time and we were told to do it by a judge.”
The judge said we have to do this, because formula-fed babies are healthier and live longer.
“They are less prone to the effects of diseases like malnutrition and diabetes.”
Brazilian law requires mothers to feed their babies formula.
The state government has also encouraged women to feed baby formula for a few weeks before breastfeeding begins.