Local educators are trying to highlight a component of the Affordable Care Act that mandates nursing women get breaks for breast-feeding.
When the bill took effect on March 23, 2010, so, too, did the change to section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The amendment states that businesses with more than 50 employees must allow nursing women "reasonable" time and private space to use a breast pump.
The space women use doesn't have to be its own room, but it does have to be a different space than a restroom, the provision reads.
Ashton Ibarra, a Women, Infants and Children nutritionist and breast-feeding coordinator with the City of St. Joseph Health Department, says the law is important because it doesn't make women choose between going back to work and breast-feeding their baby.
"I think that was a common issue before the law," adds La'Sherrie Tyes, a breast-feeding peer counselor for the WIC program.
Businesses don't need to provide that much to meet the law's requirements, Ms. Tyes says. If there's not a spare room available, they could partition off part of a seldom-used space. A breast-feeding mother really only needs a chair, a table and an outlet to use her pump. The company could provide a mini-fridge for the breast milk or the nursing woman could put it in a cooler. For most women, the process takes between 15 to 20 minutes. Some women can do it in as little as five minutes, Ms. Tyes says.
The amendment offers the breaks for postpartum women up to one year after they've given birth. The breast-feeding timeline coincides with the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy on breast-feeding. The academy recommends mothers breast-feed their baby at least through the baby's sixth month.
Research has shown that babies who breast-feed reduce their risk for bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infections and respiratory tract infections. The post-birth infant mortality rate is also 21 percent lower among breast-fed babies.
If the baby's healthier, that benefits the employer, too, Ms. Tyes says. Fewer sick days for the baby means fewer days the mother might have to call in sick.
The WIC breast-feeding program is willing to provide suggestions for a work site lactation space for businesses that would like help setting one up, Ms. Ibarra adds.
Ms. Ibarra says the lactation space initiative comes as part of a larger campaign to make the community more breast-feeding friendly. WIC also works with Heartland Regional Medical Center to promote breast-feeding practices among new mothers.
Jennifer Gordon can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPGordon. ___
(c)2012 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.)
Visit the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) at www.newspressnow.com/index.html
Distributed by MCT Information Services
As long as employers dont have to pay the women for their non-work-related choices, I have no problem with them taking breaks OFF THE CLOCK. They will just have to get to work earlier or stay later to make up the break time. They will be paid based on the profits their work give the employer - the only reason jobs exist.
Although I'm not keen on the healthcare law as a whole, I agree that women shouldn't be forced into the restroom or lie and say they had a 'potty emergency' to keep from being disciplined about pumping. It's silly they are in the john, what if someone else needs that space for more 'pressing' matters. Breasts were designed for breastfeeding, not playing with (sorry guys).
@BarefootAngieB this should stay in the bathroom! Or at least I've seen this done in the middle of a Walmart and was scared for life haha
@SeanDziedzic You could also think of it as a way to keep crying babies quiet. If they cry, stick a boob in their mouth.... :)
@SeanDziedzic breasts are beautiful and sexy and they are functional as well. Its a lovely thing to nurse a baby. It made me feel beautiful
@SeanDziedzic I don't think it should be hidden at all. You don't hide to eat. Why should another human being
@BarefootAngieB it's just something weird to stumble upon. But if its all hidden from sight, that's cool(:
@SeanDziedzic oh honey. You poor confused man. You still seem to think that breasts are for big boys. They are made for feeding babies.