Young mother turns to her grandfather for support while still in the hospital, just before DHR took away her baby. Photo by Health Impact News.

by Health Impact News/ Staff

Baby Braelon is reportedly doing better, but he remains hospitalized. Health Impact News spoke with Lisa Chasteen, the attorney who has been retained by the family to represent Braelon’s mother and her twin brother, and Chasteen has some concerns about recent developments in the story, as she attempts to provide legal counsel for the twins.

See our original coverage on this story, with links to updates:

Alabama Child Protective Services Steals New-born Breast-feeding Baby from Rape Victim While Still at the Hospital

Denied Right to Counsel, Visitation Restricted

Attorney Lisa Chasteen was retained by the family over the July 4th holiday weekend as counsel for the twins, after they believed that the twins were without representation.

Due to the long holiday weekend, the attorney could not file a notice of appearance with the court until Tuesday, but as of the time of writing this update on Wednesday July 6th, she has still not been able to gain access to the case and meet with the young mother.

She has made it clear that the family is not disclosing any confidential courtroom proceedings, but they have simply been discussing their personal experiences with their family and with DHR, presently and over the years. She states it is her understanding that the juvenile confidentiality laws do not prohibit them from discussing such. She has even addressed these issues personally in the past before the Governor’s DHR task force, and no one present, including DHR commissioner Nancy Buckner, disputed her.

However, when Chasteen attempted to talk with the young mother at the hospital, the DHR attorney reportedly refused to allow her to speak with her, denying the mother her right to counsel. Lisa Chasteen reports:

Counsel for DHR, attorney Jennifer Neumann said that she was not allowed to speak with anyone who had not put in a notice of appearance, but she disclosed several facts:

Number one – she [the mother] has not been prevented from contacting her family. However, her phone and the physical phone in the hospital room has been removed.

The DHR attorney communicated to Chasteen that they are not the ones limiting visitation with the young mother, stating that it is the hospital’s policies and procedures which are limiting the visitors. As previously reported, even the pastor tried to visit and was only able to visit for 15 minutes.

Health Impact News phoned the hospital and inquired about the visitation policy. We were told that visitation is from 9 am to 9 pm, but that it may be limited either by the parents, the doctor, or DHR. According to the Patient’s Bill of Rights, visitation may be limited “when Children’s (Hospital) is aware of an existing court order restricting contact.”

There is no such court order, and the family has not restricted visitation. However, the attorney for the twins reports that family and loved ones have been threatened and restricted in visiting and supporting the mother.

Baby Braelon Getting Better but Still in the Hospital

Thousands of people on social media are following the story and have said that they are praying for Braelon and his family. The good news is that the words “spinal meningitis” are apparently no longer being thrown around. On the 4th of July, he was reportedly taken off of oxygen, and he has now been taken off of antibiotics. It was reportedly a viral infection.

Sources close to the family report that, although the baby, now 3 weeks old, was taken to the emergency room on Friday night, the young mother was telling the group home mother since Tuesday that her baby was sick.

Newborn Alabama Baby is Now Sick in the Hospital While Under DHR Care After Being Taken from 14-year Old Mother

Braelon was reportedly vomiting and had diarrhea for several days, was fussy, and developed a fever. The mother’s concerns were apparently ignored, and it was not until Friday evening that she was taken seriously and they were taken to the local hospital. That hospital transferred baby Braelon by ambulance to Children’s Hospital, where he was given IV fluids for dehydration. He was reportedly not moving much on Saturday, had fluid on his lungs, and was struggling to breathe.

Thankfully, he is improving, and his condition has been upgraded to “guarded.”

Illness in a newborn can deteriorate quickly and be life-threatening. WebMD recommends taking a baby under 3 months of age to the doctor any time a fever reaches 100.4 degrees. Mayo Clinic recommends calling the doctor for ANY fever in a baby up to 3 months of age. Had the young mother not been insistent that her baby be seen on Friday, this story might have had a much worse ending. By any standard, a mother advocating for her child’s health is the mark of good parenting.

Young Mom’s Phone Confiscated, but Disposable Camera Permitted

Health Impact News has learned that DHR has, at last, approved that the mother be given a disposable camera so that she can take pictures of her baby. Previously, we reported that the young mother had been denied access to any devise for taking pictures, and has had no photos taken of her baby since DHR seized him from Shelby Baptist Medical Center on June 15.

Her phone, which had a camera, was confiscated by DHR 2 weeks ago.

Bottle Feeding being Pushed Over Breastfeeding

The SAVE Braelon’s Family Facebook page reports that “there is a push to put the baby on formula.” Jennifer Neumann discussed with Chasteen that social worker Corrine Matt has recommended that the mother pump her milk and feed the baby bottles of milk and formula. There is reportedly concern that the baby is being “overfed” and that may be why he is spitting up. A lactation consultant at the hospital was consulted who recommended reducing the amount of milk fed per feeding, while increasing the number of feedings. They want to monitor the milk intake for the next 24 to 48 hours or so.

Note: Breastfeeding experts at La Leche League and medical experts such as Dr. Jack Newman do not recommend pumping and bottle feeding to “see how much milk baby is getting.” That is better gauged by monitoring the number of wet and soiled diapers there are. There is no benefit in feeding breastmilk in a bottle over breastfeeding itself, and the practice can, in fact, be harmful, causing nipple confusion and lead to sore nipples and reduced breastfeeding. It also reduces the hormonal benefits gained by skin-to-skin breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin also strengthens the immune system of the baby.

Some supporters on the SAVE Braelon’s Family Facebook page have questioned the motives of the DHR worker promoting bottle feeding, saying this will make the baby less dependent upon his mother, and even questioning if adopting the baby out is the purpose for this push.

Mother and Breastfeeding Baby Separated for Several Hours

There was a separation of mother and baby for several hours on Monday afternoon. Reportedly, the young mother has been sore after the birth of her baby, so on Monday, DHR workers decided to send her to a doctor to check her. Oddly enough, they sent her back to Shelby Baptist Medical Center emergency room. Apparently, they did not want to send her, a minor, to the E.R. at Children’s Hospital downstairs, or to UAB hospital, which is literally across the street. DHR chose, instead, to require her to go to Shelby – a 45 minute drive away from the baby.

It is unknown why DHR decided to give attention to the mother’s condition on Monday. When the baby was seized from her, eyewitness accounts testify that the young, first-time mother was given no discharge instructions, no instructions on how to care for her stitches, no peri-bottle or wipes, or any of the standard things given to any other mother as she is discharged from the hospital. She walked out of the hospital, and was not even escorted out of the hospital in a wheelchair, as is standard practice for all patients being discharged from the hospital. The mother has reportedly mentioned that she is sore on a number of occasions, but no one with the ability to do anything seemed to hear her until Monday.

She was separated from her baby and driven to Shelby Baptist Medical Center, where she saw an emergency room doctor that she has never met before. She was diagnosed with a UTI and given antibiotics.

Chasteen reports:

[Neumann] denies that DHR has prevented her from breastfeeding her child even though the lactation specialist has encouraged her to breastfeed more frequently, but they have ordered her to go see about her own personal health… at Shelby Medical Center, which takes her away from her breastfeeding child more than necessary. She was taken away from her breastfeeding baby for 3 and a half hours when she could have been seen by a Children’s Hospital doctor. This occurred shortly after the lactation consultant recommended breastfeeding every 2 hours.

Facebook Update

A summary of the weekend’s developments was posted late Monday on the SAVE Braelon’s Family Facebook page:

Today’s ‪#‎FREEDOM‬ in America moment for Braelon’s family

Braelon is doing better but his mom had a UTI. The supervisor that guards Brendan refused to allow her to be seen at the hospital she and the baby are in. It was said that she MUST go to see the dr at the hospital she gave birth which is about 45 minutes. She did NOT see that dr but only an ER dr. AND they REMOVED the phone in the room she was in to cut off all communications. UNPLUGGED IT AND TOOK IT OUT OF THE ROOM.

They aren’t allowing her to talk to her atty or her counselor. Her Doula was not allowed to even talk to her. They hung up on her Doula AND her atty.
They didn’t want to even allow her pastor to visit saying she could have the hospital chaplain! But after persistence she was able to have her pastor visit her.

This poor mom was crying so hard when grandmother arrived at the ER. She was being guarded by a social worker and when grandmother wrote YOU ARE LOVED on the back of this lil mom’s hand that worker insisted on knowing what had been written. They are out of control!!! She had not even been given any lunch!

She is treated more like a criminal than any criminal I’ve ever heard of. They guard her every move not even allowing her to go outside the room. Grandma brought clean clothes to the mom and the supervisor went searching through everything.

There is a push to put the baby on formula but the GAL for the baby threatened to sue if they did. This 14 yo has so much rich milk that the baby was choking while feeding but after a lactation nurse and grandma showed her how to hold the baby more upright the baby did fantastic!! There is NO need for formula.

Please pray that justice be served for this mom and baby. NO INNOCENT PERSON should be treated this horribly. NO ONE!!!

She is so frightened of the woman supervisor guarding her.

This must come to an end and very soon. WE WILL NOT BE SILENT AS LONG AS THESE CHILDREN ARE BEING HARMED.‪#‎FREEDOMForBraelonsFamily‬

Rumor About Man Accused of Rape Addressed

A final note: There have been rumors circulating online that the family invited the man accused of raping the young mother up to the hospital room to see her and the baby. However, after the incident when he and his mother came into the room, the family explained to Health Impact News reporter Terri LaPoint that the police investigator told the grandmother to call Samuel Woods’ mother after the baby was born to tell her to bring her son to the hospital for a DNA test. He was at the hospital for the test, but no one invited him to the maternity floor. Everyone was stunned when he came into the young mother’s room. On a technicality, the family did invite them to the hospital, but it was not by choice. It was in compliance with a demand by police. is reporting that the man has now been accused of rape by 4 different girls.

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