Childrearing

Breastfeeding Police Officer Put On Unpaid Leave

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A Washington, D.C., police officer who is breastfeeding her baby was ordered to take unpaid leave after her request to work a desk job was denied. Sashay Brown came back to work in May after giving birth to her second child. She worked a desk job for several weeks but was soon forced out on patrol. Why is that a problem? Well, she had to wear a heavy bulletproof vest that was troublesome on her lactating breasts.

As any breastfeeding mom knows, you really need to keep any pressure away from your gazoombas to keep them healthy. Even something as simple as wearing an underwire bra can lead to clogged ducts and mastitis. Breast health is difficult to negotiate under non-trying circumstances but I have to say — and I’m a skeptic when it comes to most lacktivisting — this back-to-the-streets requirement seems like an unreasonable policy to demand of a police officer.

The women in my neighborhood are organizing a nurse-in this weekend to support nursing police officers. Here’s the Facebook page with more information.

Ms. Brown, for her part, is taking the time off unpaid as she’s committed to nursing her child for a full year. She and her husband made the decision to forgo her income for the year.

Police union chief Kris Baumann said that forcing breastfeeding police officers into financial ruin is not how you build morale and combat attrition and “Instead it is a message to all current and potential D.C. police officers that this not an agency and government that cares about its officers or their families.”