Nursing in the workplace (WSJ)

"Employer, state support stalls for working mothers who nurse," reported the Wall Street Journal yesterday (p.D4). Between 1998 and 2001, amidst a strong movement for working mothers who breast-feed, six states passed laws requiring workplace support for nursing. Although more than 40 states protect the right to breast-feed in public, no state since 2001 has passed legislation for nursing in the workplace.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breast-fed for six months and then continue for a full year. The Dept. of Health and Human Services has set a national goal for 2010 that 50% of all babies will still be breast-feeding at six months. WSJ reports that currently only 36% of U.S. babies are breast-feeding at all at six months, and that health insurance costs have prompted many employers to cut back on benefits, among them lactation-support programs.

WSJ provided a table showing types of state laws protecting nursing mothers at work:
  • Requiring employers to provide breaks and private space for pumping: California, Illinois, Connecticut
  • Prohibiting employers from discriminating against breast-feeding mothers: Hawaii
  • Requiring employers to provide unpaid break time and space: Minnesota, Tennessee
  • Encouraging employers to provide break time and/or space: Rhode Island, Virginia
  • Allowing employers to promote themselves as encouraging breast feeding: Texas, Washington

See also: HB 266, CD1, which became Act 172, Session Laws of Hawaii 1999, codified in sections 378-2(7) and 378-10, Hawaii Revised Statutes.


Anonymous baby girl said...

I think it very important to breastfeed a new born baby for the first couple of month, and I hope this will help working moms do so.


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