When working moms can continue breastfeeding, everybody wins. Babies have fewer illnesses, mothers have fewer sick days to care for their infants, and companies benefit from decreased employee turnover and lower health care costs.
Have questions about the new law? Find answers at the US Department of Labor’s information page and the United States Breastfeeding Committee’s information page.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Affordable Care Act”) amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. The break time requirement became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. For more information, seehttp://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm#.UHMTqE081K0
The US Department of Health and Human Services has assembled a comprehensive collection of educational materials designed to encourage employers to support employee breastfeeding. You can download the material and order a complete kit on the HHS website.
The Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition hosted a panel discussion on that question in September 2007. Moderated by Judy Casey, director of the Sloan Work and Family Network, the panel featured Naomi Bar-Yam, Kirsten Berggren, and Carla Moquin.
For an inspiring introduction to lactation and the workplace, view the panel discussion here online.
For nursing families: Learn strategies for making the transition back to work
For employers: Find information on benefits for your business and learn how to set up a lactation support program
For healthcare professionals: Simple steps to help your patients combine working and breastfeeding
For advocates: Learn how you can support mothers in the workplace through policy and legislation
You can keep breastfeeding when you return to work. To get off to the right start, or address new challenges, use these web resources:
Why support nursing moms in your workplace? Because it’s worth it. With a few months of flexibility, your business reaps tremendous rewards:
Toolkits for implementing lactation support in your workplace
Review resources in the section for nursing families and provide copies for mothers at prenatal or early postpartum visits. It may also be helpful to write a letter for new mothers to take to their employer, describing the importance of breastfeeding.
Directories of state breastfeeding laws
Write to your legislator or local officials, anywhere in the US, using capwiz advocacy page of Children’s Hospital Boston.
And join our mailing list to participate in planning and advocacy efforts.