Breastfeeding is good for mothers and their babies and it has positive economic impacts as well. Breastfed babies are generally healthier than formula fed babies thereby reducing medical expenses. This helps save money both for the company and their employees while increasing productivity as their employees don’t have to take time off to care for their sick children. Both employers and employees benefit from lactation programs at work creating a win-win situation for everyone.
Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York wants to reintroduce the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009. She and other co-sponsors will hold a press conference help on 3 June at 11.30am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill. Among other things, this bill would:
- Add breastfeeding mothers in the workplace as a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Provide incentives for employers to have private lactation areas for workers
- Create a performance standard for breast pump equipment
- Create tax deductions for pumping equipment
Here’s how you can help Representative Maloney:
1. Contact your Congress representative and ask them to sign as co-sponsors for the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. The more co-sponsors the bill has, the more attention and support it will get. All 435 Representatives need to understand how important this bill is to 70% of working mothers who want to continue breastfeeding their children once they return to work. Call and email your Representative and speak to a legislative aid today!
2. Attend the press conference about the bill on June 3rd at 11:30 am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Office Building, Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003 if you live within driving distance of Washington, D.C. You can also take Metro to the Capitol South station on the Blue Orange lines. Pregnant and nursing mother, their partners, grandparents and all your nursing children are invited to show their support at the press conference. Please RSVP to email@example.com with the number of adults/babies/children attending so we can be prepared (and have enough kid friendly snacks/drinks on hand) and to have final details emailed to all the night before the event.
3. Visit your representative’s office immediately after the press conference to ask them to support the bill. All of the legislative buildings are near Cannon Office Building. If you call ahead you can make an appointment to speak to someone.
4. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org immediately “if you have a workplace lactation discrimination story you would like to share at the press conference.” The speakers lineup is being put together now and some mothers may be invited to talk about their own stories.
Here are some of the economic benefits to the employers who support breastfeeding:
- Lower staff turnover and loss of skilled workers after they give birth
- Less time off for breastfeeding mothers because their children are more resilient to illness
- Lower healthcare costs for breastfed babies
- Increased productivity by happier employees
- Additional recruitment benefits for women
- Enhances company reputation showing its concern for the welfare of its employees and their families
There are three requirements to ensure a woman can successfully return to work and continue breastfeeding:
1. Time: Employees need enough time to take pumping breaks or work flexible hours.
3. Support: Mother-friendly workplace policies which improve attitudes to breastfeeding. This should include educating staff, including management about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Just in case you don’t already know this, health insurance plans often cover the purchase of a breast pump. Pregnant women with insurance should look into this, because a quality breast pump can easily cost $300.
Please do what you can to support this bill and help give vital support to working breastfeeding mothers.