No mom should ever have to choose between her job and her baby! And yet, for millions of expecting and new moms, work-related Breastfeeding Booby Traps® can be a deterrent and, too often, a breaking point. A mom who has to return to work outside the home, may be worried that her employer won’t provide her adequate break time and/or a private place to pump, or that she won’t find a place to pump while on the road. As a consequence, she may decide not to breastfeed for long, or at all, or decide not to start pumping, or not to pump for long. Why bother getting started when there are so many obstacles? has been an understandable position for many.
Joan Ortiz, IBCLC and President of the Limerick Workplace Lactation Program, an award-winning corporate lactation program, reports below on the current landscape and solutions for moms heading back to work — in or out of the office.
There are now both Federal and State laws helping to make workplace environments more accommodating for pumping. A new Federal Law (a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) requires an employer to provide both unpaid time and space for hourly wage mothers to express their milk. 24 states that have enacted laws that protect all women who choose to express their milk in the workplace. The Federal Law requires the room be a private place other than a bathroom, shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.
Even more encouraging, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that firing a mom for taking time to pump at work, would amount to sexual discrimination and, therefore, violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While this is only one Federal Court’s opinion, it “sets precedent” for others to follow and it’s very good news for moms!
These laws have helped to remove a huge barrier for the working breast pumping mother in the office setting. But what about the breast pumping employee who works outside the office? Or how about the breast pumping employee who needs to take a business trip?
Limerick surveyed the top 100 passenger-volume US-based airports to assess their provision of a breast pumping – supportive facility. Currently only 8 airports offer separate lactation rooms with a table, chair and electrical outlet. The majority of airports consider the women’s restroom or family restroom as a lactation rooms. Expressing your baby’s milk in a bathroom is not appropriate, clean or desirable!
Here are some suggestions to help you find a more appropriate place to pump:
- Pick up the white courtesy phone at the airport and ask if they have a lactation room. If they do not have a lactation room they may have a conference room, quiet room or prayer room they allow you to use.
- Consider purchasing an executive lounge pass for the day as they usually have a quiet, clean private place you can pump. You may be able to include this in your expense report.
A complete listing of the 100 airports surveyed and the findings can be found at: http://limerickinc.com/pdf/US_Airport_Lactation_Rooms.pdf.
California’s Governor Brown just signed a bill into law that will require airports in California to provide a private room other than a bathroom, beyond the security check point, with a chair and outlet to be used as a lactation room.
Do not be afraid to speak up and let your needs be known as this is what ignites people to change! Once breastfeeding/breast pumping becomes the cultural norm we will see lactation rooms become commonplace!
For more tips to get you Back to Work and on track for breastfeeding/pumping click here.
Limerick is a proud sponsor of the We’ve Got Your Back, Babe! Nationwide Personal Fitness Challenge to raise awareness of and remove the Prenatal Breastfeeding Booby Traps® that prevent millions of moms annually from getting the right information and support starting before they deliver. Limerick is giving away a PJs Comfort Executive Breast Pump — known for its comfort and efficiency — as a Grand Prize for most funds raised! Read our review of the pump here.
Sign up or donate! Or take the the Burpees for Booby Traps Viral Challenge!