For most women, the choice to feed by bottle or breast is personal. So is the decision on when to wean and how. Yet, for Nicole Curtis, the decision to nurse her 2½-year-old son, Harper, is up for public discussion and ridicule – so much so that defending it is probably starting to seem like second nature for the DIY Network star.
It all started when ex-husband Maguire initially asserted his parental rights; that was back when Harper was just 6 months old. Nicole was exclusively breastfeeding at the time, but the court still granted Maguire visitation two days per week. Harper wasn’t to see his mother – not even to nurse him– so she had to make “other arrangements.”
“He had never had a bottle before, and then all of a sudden that was his only option while he was with his dad. I had no idea that a judge could say, ‘You’re court ordered to not feed your exclusively breastfed child,” Nicole said. “It’s important that children have both of their parents. But [preventing] me from breastfeeding my child just so he can see the dad is not right.”
When the court order started to interfere with Nicole’s milk supply, she had to go back to the court and present them with evidence that she couldn’t pump. Only then would they allow her to see her son once a day to nurse him during visitation with his dad.
“I had to pay an outside licensed lactation specialist to witness me pump without results,” she said. “I sat in my living room with my shirt off, hooked up in front of a stranger to document that my body did not produce enough.”
And it’s been a fight ever since. Maguire claims that Nicole is trying to use the “extended breastfeeding” to keep him from his son. Nicole says that isn’t the case.
“I keep saying, it’s not like he’s 7 or 8 — he’s still a baby,” she told PEOPLE during an exclusive interview. Nicole went on to explain that she’s using baby-led weaning – a weaning method in which the child slowly transitions to solid foods. “It doesn’t force children to eat — it allows them to discover it and gradually wean at their pace.”
The courts may not see it that way if the matter goes through litigation again, but it looks like Nicole and her ex may be getting somewhat close to a resolution – at least close enough that Nicole is sounding positive about the current situation.
“We’re working on it,” she said. “We’re just trying to take the temperature down a lot. It’s still not perfect or even close, but it’s better.”
But she’s certainly not backing down, she said. Instead, she says she’s “always been a fighter. If something’s not right, I’m the first person to stand up . . . And I don’t believe that my child should have to wean because of our situation.”
What do you think about this situation? Have you faced something similar? We’d love to hear from you!