Short-Term Incarceration Shouldn’t Have Stopped This Mother From Breastfeeding
A Wisconsin woman wasn’t allowed to pump breast milk during her recent seven day incarceration on contempt of court chargesÂ at Brown County Jail . As a result, she was unable to continue breastfeeding her three-week-old.
Sheriffâ€™s Capt. Larry Malcomson said the jail has “limited refrigeration capacity and lacks other necessary facilities to allow all incarcerated nursing mothers to express milk.”
â€œWe try to be very accommodating,â€ said Malcomsonâ€™s boss, Sheriff John Gossage. â€œBut the fact is that when youâ€™re incarcerated, you lose a lot of privileges that you otherwise had when youâ€™re not in jail.â€
Breastfeeding a child is not a “privilege.” It’s ridiculous that it would even be referred to as that. Providing nutrition for a newborn is a necessity. A seven-day stint in jail should not force a choice that is only a mother’s to make.
Britney Weber couldn’t afford the $1,066 bond related to charges in a traffic case. She claims workers in the jail “didnâ€™t show an interest in her situation other than saying rules â€œprohibitedâ€ her from pumping breast milk.” She was also not provided with the iron supplement her doctor recommended she take.
I know what some people will say “Well then don’t break the law!” But it seems pretty unfair that a woman who wants to breastfeed no longer can because of a traffic violation and a small stint in jail. How hard would it be for the jail to stock a few breast pumps? I’m sure they have to provide plenty of other medical necessities.
The jail allows inmates to express milk in cases where a physician or nurse considers it necessary. But they say they canâ€™t do so without a medical reason.
I guess, “this baby needs to eat” is not a good medical reason? What about, “my boobs will explode?” I can’t imagine being forced to stop cold turkey three weeks after my milk came in. That must have been incredibly painful.
The article cites a report by Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, which found that mother and infant “both benefit when the child can continue to be fed breast milk while the mother is incarcerated.”
â€œThe newbornâ€™s nutritional needs were met with expressed breast milk while awaiting his motherâ€™s release from jail,â€ the researchers found. â€œFor incarcerated women, pumping and storing breast milk is … an uncomplicated way to promote maternal-infant attachment, and improve health for both.â€