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Is breastfeeding a right or a privilege?

Posted by on Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:36 AM
  • 90 Replies

Jail Refuses to Let Incarcerated Mom Breastfeed Her 3-Week-Old Baby

by Adriana Velez

jailIf you're a mom who has been arrested and put in jail for a few days, shouldn't you still be able to pump milk for your baby? A woman is complaining that she wasn't allowed to express her breast milk in jail during her week-long stay, and now she's lost her milk. "Everybody stresses the importance of breastfeeding. You’d think that for people who were there for a short time, they would allow it," says Britney Weber, mom to now 4-week-old daughter Elsy.

Apparently you have to have a medical reason -- and a note from a doctor or nurse -- if you want to pump milk while incarcerated. And the jail supposedly has limited refrigeration. The sheriff at the Brown County Jail in Wisconsin sounds downright heartless, I think, about Weber's situation. “We try to be very accommodating,” says Sheriff John Gossage. “But the fact is that when you’re incarcerated, you lose a lot of privileges that you otherwise had when you’re not in jail.”

Okay ... we're talking about breastfeeding, right? I mean, whether you consider it a right or a privilege, what about some compassion for someone who made a minor mistake? Whatever Weber did, a week's stay implies it was foolish but not horrible. Can't a mom make a mistake without it impacting the way she cares for her baby -- and her baby's health?

Weber says Elsy has been spitting up and having digestive issues since she's returned from jail. It's bad enough she was separated from her newborn for a whole week (which would feel like an eternity with a newborn). Pumping milk would have been the only connection Weber could maintain with her baby, and they denied her that. Seem too harsh to me. Unfortunately, failing to allow moms to pump milk while incarcerated is a problem all over the country. We should do better by breastfeeding moms -- even the ones who get arrested.

Not to mention, I think this punished Elsy, too. This is a newborn baby who has been breastfeeding. What about what's best for her health? Whatever Weber did, making her daughter suffer is a cruel double punishment. The county jail got it absolutely wrong this time.

Do you think this new mom should have been allowed to pump breast milk while in jail?

by on Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
2babymomma
by on Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:59 AM
3 moms liked this
I think they should have let her pump even if they didn't have the refrigeration she could pump and dump so at least she would keep her supply for when she got out
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 6, 2014 at 9:07 AM
12 moms liked this
If breastfeeding was soo important to the mom and child, she shouldn't have gotten arrested.

Your there as punishment. It's jail sorry but no they don't have to make special accommodations for anyone. Next it will be that the baby can't take a bottle and the baby has to nurse, then that another person has to have a special lactation diet. Next this, then that. They have to draw the line.
nana776
by Member on Mar. 6, 2014 at 9:10 AM
3 moms liked this

I can understand the jail's point of view that you lose alot of privileges while incarcerated and they have to draw the line at some pretty harsh places sometimes, otherwise they would have inmates taking advantage of the system. Although that doesn't make it right.

I do think that she should have been allowed to pump and dump. I don't think I would trust them to properly handle the milk to give it to the baby. At least she would have kept the supply going when she got out.

othermom
by Silver Member on Mar. 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

 

Quoting Anonymous: If breastfeeding was soo important to the mom and child, she shouldn't have gotten arrested. Your there as punishment. It's jail sorry but no they don't have to make special accommodations for anyone. Next it will be that the baby can't take a bottle and the baby has to nurse, then that another person has to have a special lactation diet. Next this, then that. They have to draw the line.

 This

rachellaree20
by Member on Mar. 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM
3 moms liked this

I don't know the circumstances for why she was in jail but the reality is that you lose a lot of privledges and freedom while you're there and they shouldn't have to cater to her because she was the one who messed up and got arrested.  It sucks that she wasnt able to breastfeed but she shouldn't have gotten herself arrested to begin with.  And feeding a baby formula isn't making them "suffer."


Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Hell, no.  It is a privilege.  She should have not gotten herself in jail.  What a loser. 

Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Mar. 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM
1 mom liked this

i can undertand her point of view...and it not always that you get arrested for something you did right then...she could have had a warrant because she didn't pay or show up in court ( and that could have happend while she was recovering, or in labor)  etc.... i don't know anything about jail, but they do make exceptions by providing things for women on their period, or in need of medication, right?  bodily functions are kind of expected....on the other hand, it's only been a week, can't she re-establish milk supply by pumping at home and feeding her child? women who have been sick do it..

pippi311
by on Mar. 6, 2014 at 11:35 AM
1 mom liked this

No, it is a privilege. Breastfeeding is not mandatory for the health and well being of the child; bottlle feeding is perfectly fine for an infant. When you are in jail you lose certain privileges and the right to make certain choices, and for a reason. It is jail, after all. Stop getting in trouble, jerk off.

Vintagefan
by on Mar. 6, 2014 at 12:03 PM
3 moms liked this

Interesting, I was a bit torn.  I do understand that when it jail you lose a lot of rights AND privileges.  However, I agree that it is really punishing the baby.  That is not fair.  Most breast fed babies if switched to formula are done so gradually.  This punishment is lasting a lot longer than a week for both mother and baby.  She could also have had someone come pick up the milk with a cooler.  I certainly never want to watch a baby that I don't have the means to feed.  It can take a lot of trial and error to get a breast fed baby to find a agreeable formula.  

I guess make final answer is that, if it is punishing someone other than the prisoner, then adjustments should be made.  

kirbymom
by Sonja on Mar. 6, 2014 at 12:10 PM
2 moms liked this
Breastfeeding is both a right and a priviledge. However, if you do something that breaks the law then your rights are going to be taken away.

That being said, if this article is as spoken about, and typically nothing is..as is..in the media, then this woman's right to breastfeed is no longer a right but a priviledge and one that could not be accomodated. Sure, the baby is paying a price too but that is because of the consequences of her mother's decisions and actions. What we do, does and will, have consequences other than ourselves, so we must weigh each and every thought and decision B4 we make them. That is why we have consequences. To help us not make those decisions that are going to get us into trouble.
Hopefully, if this mother Was in the wrong, she doesn't act B4 she thinks.
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