Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Detained Mother Unable to Breastfeed

This is outrageous, but also known as par for the course.

A Brazilian woman, held in the Mecklenburg County jail since Friday on an immigration violation, is not being allowed to provide breast milk for her son, who is less than 2 months old.

Ezequiel Oliveira, who is helping care for the woman's two children, said he spent hours at the jail Monday trying to get a breast pump to 29-year-old Danielle Ferreira. He said Ferreira's baby, Samuel, is crying incessantly and keeps spitting up baby formula.


Oliveira, who is Ferreira's pastor and also from Brazil, said he saw her Sunday and she complained of a fever and soreness in her breasts because she hasn't been allowed to express milk. He said Samuel doesn't seem to feel well, has a rash and spits up every time he drinks formula.

Jan Ellen Brown, a Charlotte lactation consultant, said it's not good for a mother or baby when nursing stops abruptly. She said breast milk is best for infants and an infant who has been nursing for two months could have a reaction to formula or trouble drinking from a bottle. Mothers who stop nursing without weaning are in a lot of pain and are susceptible to breast infection.

Makes the vision statement for Mecklenburg's Sheriff seem pretty ironic, eh?

Our vision is to be recognized by the people we serve as a professional organization dedicated to customer service and committed to improving the quality of life in our community. Together, my staff and I work to make this vision a reality.

I hope you will take time to explore our website and see how we serve you, our most important customer.

I'm going to put a phone call in to their press office to see what their justification is for detaining this woman for an "immigration hold" when she can already verify that she's signed a statement of intent to return to Brazil and already purchased plane tickets. This child - this U.S. citizen - could die due to the actions of officials at that prison.

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