Monday, November 17, 2008

Jury Duty, Breastfeeding and Kansas

I got some interesting mail on Friday, a summons to serve as a juror for the month of December. My first thought was "Oh crap! How am I going to get out of this?" At 14 weeks of age, Eleanor has not been given any bottles. I'm not planning on her taking any either, so serving on a jury would be a big problem.

I read through the letter the court sent and began filling out the application. Midway though, it asks the number and ages of your children at home. Next question is "Are you currently breastfeeding?" followed by "If yes, when do you anticipate weaning?"

I actually laughed out loud! At the rate my kids have gone, that could be another 4 years from now! I filled out the rest of the application and then went back to the weaning line. Hmm, what is a reasonable answer?

Well, the World Health Organization recommends

Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends

Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.

So I decided to enter "August 2010" as our estimated date of weaning. While I would be surprised if Ella self-weaned by then, I do think by 2 she will be fine with me spending a day or so in court on a jury if needed. Now if I had to spend the night away from her, that could be another story!

I decided to look into my rights as a breastfeeding mother in the state of Kansas and was happy to see that it should not pose a problem to get out of jury duty this time. Luckily, Kansas is one of the twelve states in the US that address breastfeeding and jury obligations. According to La Leche League International,

Idaho, Kansas, Oregon and Nebraska provide that jury duty will be postponed until the mother is done nursing the child.

Waah hoo! Go Kansas! Looks like Ella should have no problems keeping her food source close by for now.


Sarah said...

When I was living in Kansas I was called for Jury duty too! Alex was little- like 4 months or so and I used what I thought as the "nursring excuse" to get out of it... but I honestly couldn't imagine being away from her for that long! (I did go on one buying trip with Julie and I guess Alex was MISERABLE while I was gone and I was MISERABLE too... pumping in Julie's car....not so fun.) Anyway- I don't think at the time there was a breastfeeding claus on the books because I had to write a letter explaining my reasons for not wanting to travel to Topeka while leaving an exclusively breast-feed baby at home. They ended up granting my excuse. I wonder what the NY laws are???

SunflowerMom said...

Sarah, I looked up NY and found this link: that says primary caregivers can be excused under certain conditions, but it does not specify bf-ing mothers.

Yeah, the longest I have left E is about 30 mins, a run to the grocery store!

Sarah said...

Not that it really maters for me... my BF days are long over with!! (Now I'll need some other excuse to get out of jury duty!)

JennyH said...

I have gotten several of those summons/ questionnaire things. They usually have been around a baby due date or shortly after. a couple times I called them up and told them I was BFing. They always told me I could get out "just this one time." The last time I got one, one of the questions is about a child with behavior issues. Max has some of those! I never got a real summons after I filled that one out -- knock on wood!!