Breastfeeding

Mum’s Common Breastfeeding Dilemma Costs her $1,100

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All breastfeeding mums have been there. You’re away from your baby. Your breasts are DYING from engorgement and you’ve got your pump handy. It only makes sense to unclip and connect, even if you’re in the passenger seat of your car.

‘Gobsmacked’ 

For Meagan Schmock, expressing her engorged breasts while en route home ended up costing her $1,100 and four demerit points. The new mum was “shocked” when she arrived home to discover the bill waiting for her in the letter box.

Breastfeeding mum fined for expressing breastmilk in the car
The worst letter to receive in the mail! Source: ACA

The eye-watering fine, which was for not wearing a seatbelt, totalled $1,161 and four demerit points.

I was gobsmacked. I was shocked,” she told A Current Affair. “I saw the money fine first and I was just like, ‘What’s happened’? And then as I’ve unfolded the letter, I’ve seen this photo and then looked closer and been like, ‘That’s me pumping’.”

The ticket fine occurred when Meagan and her husband were driving home from their honeymoon on the Gold Coast. Her husband Benjamin was driving and they were still a couple hours away from their home.

To have to sit in the car for an hour-and-a-half, maybe two hours, waiting to get home to feed my little one, it just wasn’t going to happen,” Meagan said. “I was getting quite engorged and it was getting incredibly uncomfortable for me.”

While attaching the breast pump, Meagan pushed her seatbelt under her arm. She claims she only removed it from her shoulders for a split second – which is when the camera snapped her. She also tells A Current Affair that the seatbelt remained clipped the entire time.

breastfeeding mum fined
The breastfeeding mum claims she had her belt on the entire time. Source: ACA

She said she had no idea she could be fined for adjusting her seatbelt and figured many others didn’t either, so she posted about the fine on social media explaining the situation.

I felt a lot of support from that – realising that a lot more (mums) didn‘t know,” she said. “As a breastfeeding mum – and I‘m sure any other mums who have breastfed or who have pumped before know that – you can’t just really wait. Particularly when you’re almost at the stage of engorgement, it’s incredibly painful.”

The couple are disputing the fine with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

‘Risk of injury’ outweighs engorgement 

While the Department of Transport and Main Roads didn’t comment on this particular case, a spokesperson said the risk of injury or death by not wearing a seatbelt “far outweighs” the “efficiency” of pumping while driving.

“Should a new mother need to express breast milk, they or their driver should stop and park safely before commencing,” the spokesperson said.

Of course, in this particular instance, the person fined was not driving – she was in the passenger seat – and she was not unclipped either. It will be interesting if the Department of Transport and Main Road waives this one. My money is on NO.

Another fun fact about being fined by the Department of Transport an Main Road: Did you know that you can be fined for having your phone in your lap even if you are waiting in the school pick-up line and not moving? It’s happened to me and cost me $1,161 and four demerit points. So, just a word of warning to mums wanting to check their phones – or expressing for that matter – in the school pick-up line – DON’T DO IT!

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Blossom

    Had you been stationary at a kerb you would have been ok. I know you are not allowed to breastfeed while the vehicle is moving. One reason for the law is also used for safety e.g. the driver being forced to brake or swerve suddenly or involved in an accident.

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