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Mum banned from breastfeeding in Australia after she has a tattoo

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image captionRisk to babies from mothers getting tattoos is "low" according to the Australian Breastfeeding Association

A judge in Australia has banned a mother from breastfeeding her 11-month-old son because she got a tattoo.

A court in Sydney has ruled that the woman's decision to get it done had exposed her baby to harm.

It was the child's father who raised concerns about the mother's tattoo in an ongoing parenting dispute.

The ban was ordered by the Federal Court in Australia despite the mother testing negative for hepatitis and Aids/HIV.

Judge Matthew Myers said there was "still an unacceptable risk" to the baby because the tests were inconclusive.

image copyrightPA
image captionAn appeal against the judge's ruling is taking place on Friday

The decision has shocked breastfeeding supporters like Dr Karleen Gribble from the University of Western Sydney.

She told ABC Australia: "I think if it were reasonable then we would have very, many women in Australia who would be quite horrified and perhaps child protection authorities should be taking action because many mothers who are breastfeeding get tattoos - very often of their children's names."

In making the ruling, Judge Myers said he relied on guidelines published by the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA).

However, Rebecca Naylor from the ABA told ABC Australia that she disagreed with the ruling.

She said: "Tattooing, as long as it's done in a reputable way and the infection control procedures are followed, the risk is low.

"We would absolutely encourage women who have had tattoos to breastfeed their babies for as long as they choose to."

In the UK, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) says "there are very few circumstances for a woman to be medically advised not to breastfeed".

Heather Neil from NCT said: "Breast milk from a mother who has had a tattoo, as long as it was done properly in hygienic surroundings, would not put a baby at risk.

"If a mother is taking medication she needs to check with her doctor whether it is safe to breastfeed and in most cases it is fine.

"If not, the doctor can usually prescribe an alternative. Light, occasional alcohol intake is safe when breastfeeding."

An appeal against the ruling, for the mother with the tattoo, is due to take place in a family court in Sydney on Friday.

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