Worldwide Mothers support Habiba! IMMF Give her baby back

Petition Closed

Worldwide Mothers support Habiba! IMMF Give her baby back

This petition had 3,039 supporters
maggie simonsen started this petition to Manager Paloma Martin and

On May 30, 2011, the Minor and Family Institute of Madrid, Spain (IMMF - Instituto Madrileño del Menor y la Familia) took a child away from her mother because she would not comply with their demand that she abruptly wean her daughter using medication to dry her milk supply.  The child was removed to a different shelter without explanation or notice, and the mother was evicted from the shelter. The IMMF claims that Habiba’s parenting practices (which included on-cue breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and “being affectionate”) were chaotic and harmful to her child.

No legal procedure was or has been followed to separate this mother from her daughter.  She was not allowed to say goodbye to her daughter and she was not told where they were taking the child, provoking feelings of severe helplessness.

Habiba was thrown to the streets in the same moment that her daughter was taken, she was told there was no longer a place for her as the residence was for mothers and she did not have a daughter anymore. A humanitarian aid foundation has given her protection, shelter, sustenance and legal aid.

We consider the case of Habiba and her daughter to be a severe violation of Human Rights and Children’s Rights. The damage is already done, but if mother and daughter can reunite it can be healed. We demand the immediate release of the child to her mother.

Medical Statement Documenting Habiba's Parenting Capacity:


Author Sheila's Kitzinger declaration on the case:
Far from protecting a child, the separation of a breastfed baby from her mother is an act of violence against both the woman and her child (Klaus M, Kennell J. Maternal Infant Bonding, St Louis: Mosby, 1976). It can have long-term psychological and social consequences (Winnicot D. Babies and their Mothers, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1987). Research into the social origins of depression reveals that a major element in unhappiness is the lack of an intimate, confiding relationship. That starts with the closeness of mother and baby and the spontaneous communication between them (Brown B, Harris T. Social Origins of Depression, London: Tavistock, 1978). This institutional violence also reveals an amazing ignorance of breastfeeding and human psychology.

Baby-led weaning is normal in many countries around the world. It is not just about the mother possessing the baby, but the development of relationships. Anthropological evidence reveals that baby-led weaning is often common in societies where breastfeeding is not medicalised (Kitzinger S. Rediscovering Birth, London: Pinter and Martin, 2011).

This baby must be returned to her mother as a matter of urgency and should be able to suckle whenever she wants to.

Sheila Kitzinger MBE, M Litt, Honorary Professor Thames Valley University, author of 'Breastfeeding Your Baby', 'Understanding Your Crying Baby', 'Rediscovering Birth' and 23 books on birth, breastfeeding and the sociology of motherhood, published in 24 countries.

For more information please visit

Petition Closed

This petition had 3,039 supporters

Share this petition