Green Bay (AP) — A new mother says she wasn’t allowed to express milk for her baby while serving time in the Brown County Jail.
Britney Weber says that has caused digestive issues for her 4-week-old daughter. Weber, 27, was jailed for seven days on contempt of court charges related to a traffic case. She was released Feb. 26.
Weber said that because she wasn’t allowed to pump milk, she can’t breast feed her newborn now that she’s out of jail.
The jail allows female inmates to express milk when a physician or nurse considers it medically necessary, Press-Gazette Media reported.
Sheriff’s Capt. Larry Malcomson said the jail has limited refrigeration capacity and lacks other the necessary facilities to allow all incarcerated nursing mothers to express milk.
“We try to be very accommodating,” said Malcomson’s boss, 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.”
Gossage couldn’t comment directly on Weber’s situation because of medical privacy laws, but said he was not aware of any complaints filed about the incident.
Weber gave birth three weeks before she was booked into jail; she was unable to post bond. She said Brown County Jail employees told her rules prohibited her from pumping breast milk. She also said she was not provided with an iron supplement that her doctor told her to take after giving birth.
Pam Klingert, a registered nurse and lactation consultant with Green Bay-based Bellin Health, said women who breast-feed generally have healthier children than women who do not. Children who are breast-fed have fewer infections, lower instances of obesity and diabetes, and fewer other health problems than children who are fed formula, she said.
“This sounds like it was a missed opportunity to do what’s best for a mother and her baby,” she said of Weber’s case.