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Is breastfeeding a right or a privilege?

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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
Replies (81-90):
Anonymous
by Anonymous on Mar. 8, 2014 at 7:34 PM
Unpaid traffic tickets of over $1000. Don't pay you are jailed. She had 2 warrants.

Quoting Kazoo22:

You do have the right to breastfeed , but many of your rights are taken away when being incarcerated I don't see how this is much different. 

I also wonder what she did to get incarcerated in the first place. Seems to me, generally, that if you want what's best for your child you don't go and get yourself arrested and incarcerated for a week. 

cali_gurl
by Member on Mar. 8, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Tough call. Mom should have thought of her actions while she was pregnant. Jail is a nasty place. Wouldn't want to store my milk there and feed it to my baby. Then again I would probably not get thrown in jail with a one week old baby either. Choices, people.

cali_gurl
by Member on Mar. 8, 2014 at 7:38 PM

If all this is true, then she is a complete IDIOT. Why not make small payments and not put yourself in the position of being separated from your newborn baby???

Quoting Anonymous: She had traffic tickets she refused to pay. Over $1000. She had time. They give you payment plans. Don't pay, you get warrants. She had 2 warrants.
Quoting curvygurl1912:

Just because she is in jail doesn't mean she is guilty of anything. She may just be charged at this point so yes she should be allowed to pump.


Anonymous
by Anonymous on Mar. 8, 2014 at 7:51 PM

Yes. A breastfeeding mom, suddenly cut off from nursing or pumping, can have health problems because of it. I've had mastitis twice, and it felt like I had the flu. I was running a fever of 104. They can also get plugged ducts, engorgement. It's not good. Even incarcerated people have to have their health considered, right?

katemckenzie
by New Member on Mar. 8, 2014 at 7:58 PM

She should have at least been allowed to pump and dump, so she could keep her supply.

cmoorec
by on Mar. 8, 2014 at 9:39 PM

not pumping for a week is not necessarily going to shut the milk down. I stopped for a month, had second thoughts about weaning and started up again, stimulating the works with a pump. Even though I'd had issues with inadequate supply for the entire time I provided breast milk for my son, I was still always able to produce. I would hope that the rest of this mother's story is that she got on that pump as soon as she got home and used it to help stimulate her supply up to par for her child. The jail was run by ignorant jerks, but any breast feeding advocate/expert will tell this mom that one week off the breast is hardly an end to it all. 

Kazoo22
by Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 3:09 AM

If that's the case she was being stupid and irresponsible. She should of been making payments if she couldn't pay in full. It's no one's fault but her's that she ended up in jail. 

Quoting Anonymous: Unpaid traffic tickets of over $1000. Don't pay you are jailed. She had 2 warrants.
Quoting Kazoo22:

You do have the right to breastfeed , but many of your rights are taken away when being incarcerated I don't see how this is much different. 

I also wonder what she did to get incarcerated in the first place. Seems to me, generally, that if you want what's best for your child you don't go and get yourself arrested and incarcerated for a week. 


indiamom3
by Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Yes!  It's both a right, and a priveledge!

Momsthename0609
by on Mar. 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM
She should have been allowed to at least pump and dump.
Anonymous
by Anonymous on Mar. 11, 2014 at 1:02 AM

I think that if the mother was that concerned about her newborn and breastfeeding she needed to keep herself out of jail.  Once you do something to get yourself arrested you do forfeit some things, and oftentimes that means other people in your life suffer for your mistakes. I wish they would have allowed her to pump or even pump and dump but you know, she didn't have to go to jail, that was her choice.

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