Author: Martha Paynter

Martha Paynter RN, PhD Candidate

Martha Paynter is a registered nurse practicing in abortion and postpartum care. She is a PhD Candidate in Nursing at Dalhousie University, where she holds funding from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her research examines reproductive health and criminalization. She is the founder and chair of Wellness Within, a registered non-profit organization in Nova Scotia that works to advance reproductive health, social justice and prison abolition.  

Chapter Motivations

I was eager to write this chapter because people experiencing incarceration, and in particular women, are an invisible population. As Dr. Angela Davis said, “Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings.” So we as health care professionals working in lactation are unlikely to know about the experiences of people who are incarcerated and how it impacts breastfeeding. Working in this area for almost a decade, I am so inspired by the resilience and courage of women who have navigated oppressive prison systems to breastfeed and provide human milk to their children. I hope by sharing research in this area, the chapter supports readers in developing strategies to care for people experiencing incarceration, but even more so I hope it inspires work for human rights- including the right to breastfeed- for criminalized people and their children.