Friday, August 14, 2009

Pumping in the Potty?!

The following is from an email sent to me from

"I was offered a public restroom to pump in when I needed to come back to work!" Does this breastfeeding story sound familiar? We hear this type of story all the time from our members. It could also be your story, your friend's story, your daughter's story.

Last week, our petition on paid family leave highlighted how important it is for new moms to have paid time in order to successfully breastfeed their infants. This week, we tackle another part of the problem: When moms return to work, breastfeeding often gets even harder. But there is hope. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, recently introduced in Congress, would establish common-sense workplace policies to make it easier for women to continue nursing after they return to work.

Tell your representatives in Congress to support the Breastfeeding Promotion Act today!

Today, 56% of mothers with infants are in the workplace1, and many of them face huge barriers - or outright discrimination - when they return to work and need to take breaks in order to pump milk. Tenia from Maryland shared, "I find it appalling that it's left to individual supervisors... if, where and for how long a nursing mother can pump at work! I was told it would depend what my workload looked like if I would be 'allowed' to pump."

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY) and Senator Jeff Merkley (OR), would support employers and nursing moms in the following ways:

• Requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to provide appropriate space and break time for mothers to express milk;
• Protecting breastfeeding women from being fired or discriminated against in the workplace;
• Providing tax incentives for businesses that establish private lactation areas in the workplace; and
• Allowing families to deduct the cost of breastfeeding equipment on their taxes, as is the case with other common medical expenses.2

Some mothers who return to work choose to stop breastfeeding, but many of those who do wish to continue find it next to impossible because of barriers in the workplace. Even well-intentioned employers may be unaware about how to accommodate nursing moms, leaving women using sheets to cover up in cubicles, cramming into bathroom stalls with breast pumps, or even hiding out in dingy supply rooms just to pump breast milk for their babies.

Tell Congress to support the Breastfeeding Promotion Act today:

The way to support mothers who choose to breastfeed is clear -- we need to provide new mothers with Paid Family and Medical Leave so they have the time to care for their infants, and also make sure they have the opportunity to return to a workplace that allows them to continue nursing!

Thanks for all that you are doing to make this country truly family-friendly!

-- Dionna, Ashley, Katie and the team

P.S. More than 14,000 (and counting!) of you signed last week's petition-- its clear we've hit a nerve. This is a huge problem that calls for system-wide solutions. Don't wait, sign the petition today!

P.P.S. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child. To read a summary of the AAP recommendations, click here:


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