Transcript for Mom Defends Drinking While Breastfeeding
Tonight, to a story that's been blowing up on social media all this week. Viewers already weighing in on this one. A mother nursing her newborn baby. The waitress who steps in, asking, does mother really know best? Tonight, you decide. Here's juju Chang. Reporter: Less than an hour outside Little Rock lies the tiny town of toad suck, Arkansas. Population, roughly 300. A dry town where alcohol is banned. It's also home for Tasha Adams, a stay-at-home mother of three. 6-year-old Cal, 2-year-old Hyde, and the baby, Ana, who's just 9 months old. How much do your kids mean to you? More than anything in the world. Reporter: So, how did Tasha wind up thrown in jail for endangering the welfare of her baby? For doing something that frankly, a lot of moms do. I did drink. I did breast-feed. I don't know. I didn't know it was illegal. If I knew it was illegal, I wouldn't have done it. Reporter: This is the first time Tasha is talking on camera about her run-in with the law which all began after the funeral of a family friend. Afterwards, she and her parents stopped for dinner in the nearby town of Conway, where unlike toad suck, you can buy a drink in a restaurant. Tasha had her baby, Ana, in tow because at the time the 6-month-old was exclusively nursing. We had a pizza. And we had a big old thing of spinach dip. I had a beer with that, and then I had another one later on. Some people, I'm sure, can drink two beers, and, and get buzzed or drunk. I can't. Reporter: For you, two beers and nursing are fine? Yes. Because there are plenty of people who say two beers and nursing are not fine. Exactly. That's opinions. Reporter: Tasha insists she had just two beers over an hour and a half. But that's not what Jackie Connors says she saw. The off-duty waitress showed up early for an after-hours staff meeting and has a different version of what happened that night, and it disturbed her. It's about 30 minutes to last call, and they looked like they were having a good time, just drinking. And, things started getting louder and louder, and then the baby started getting fussy. Reporter: That's when Jackie says Tasha began to breast-feed Ana. But according to the off-duty waitress, Tasha wasn't just drinking beer but something much stronger. Cocktails made with hard liquor. There were two or three, um, drinks in front of her already when I got there. And then I watched the bartender make 'em, looked like long islands. But regardless if it was that or not, then it was strong liquor. Reporter: Jackie told her fellow waitress to report the breast-feeding mom to management. But she says she was told the manager had already decided not to cut the drinking mother off. Jackie, who has an infant daughter of her own, consulted her own mom. And I said, "What do I need to do?" You know, and then she's like, "Well, I don't know, maybe tell the managers." I said, "Well, the managers already know." So that's whenever she was like, she texted me back and said, "Call the police." Reporter: Just after 11:00 that night, police arrived at the restaurant. And they said, "Ma'am, we've got a report that you were drinking alcohol while breast-feeding." And I said, "Okay. I didn't know that was illegal." Reporter: She's right. It isn't illegal. But after admitting that she'd had two drinks, the officers made a judgment call and arrested her not for public intoxication but for endangering the welfare of a child. Her child. But first, they had Tasha call a sober family member to drive baby Ana home. What went through your mind when you went to jail? I was just in disbelief. I've been literally, I've been sent to the principal's office one time when I was in high school, that's the extent of trouble I've been in in my life. Reporter: So you -- this is surreal to you? Yes. I'm just, I'm just going, this is crazy. I'm more worried about my kid, she lives off of me. Reporter: Has he ever had formula before? No. Reporter: That's because Tasha says she believes that formula is less healthy. I'm very cautious, because I breast-feed, and if I'm drunk, I feel, you know, that I'm not able to take care of my kids. Reporter: So your view is that you were nowhere near drunk? No, not at all. And I wish they would've gave me a breathalyzer, so it could be proven. Reporter: So why no breathalyzer? Conway, Arkansas, police tell us they only breathalyze suspected drunk drivers. In your opinion, you did nothing wrong? Right. Reporter: And yet, your opinion got you arrested? Apparently. Reporter: Tasha says the notoriety surrounding the whole incident turned her into the town's pariah. This has ruined my life. We live in a small town. You know, I can't even go to Walmart without people looking at me like I'm horrible. Reporter: But was Tasha in fact endangering baby Ana? We asked ABC's Dr. Jennifer Ashton, an ob/gyn, who told us that surprisingly little research has gone into the issue of drinking while nursing. Once in a while to consume a drink probably will not do any harm for the baby. Reporter: So even the American academy of pediatrics does not say zero tolerance? Correct. They don't say zero. But we have to remember that alcohol is in fact a toxin. It's especially toxic to the newborn brain. Reporter: So, what is a nursing mother to do if she wants a drink now and then? You have the option of pumping in advance, pumping and storing milk. Or, saying at the last minute, you know what, I want to have a fun night tonight, I'm going to drink probably more than one drink. And so for the next six hours, I'm going to give my baby formula. Reporter: The district attorney recently dropped Tasha's child endangerment charge because there was just not enough evidence to prove Tasha had had one too many drinks to care for her child. But the waitress, Jackie Connors, who says she was just trying to do the right thing, was fired the week after calling the cops on Tasha. The management of gusano's restaurant wouldn't respond to our repeated requests for comment. The woman who called the police, she ended up getting fired. I don't think it had anything to do with me. I have never complained to anybody. You know, but if she really thought my baby was in danger, you know, maybe she done the right thing. If I was ever in that situation again I would still do the same thing because that baby can't speak up for itself. No one else was doing anything. Reporter: It is ultimately a judgment call. Like, a lot of people think they're sober enough to drive, a lot of moms might think they're sober enough to breast-feed. Right. Reporter: When perhaps they're not? Maybe so. But -- Reporter: Right. I mean that's the slippery slope. Right. And I believe, and I'll, I'll say it till the day I die. I was sober enough to
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