As the rate of mothers breastfeeding and working continues to rise, you’d think more working moms would know their breastfeeding rights in the workplace. But as it turns out, fewer than one in five working moms know about the legal protections their companies should offer them, according to a survey conducted by the Byram Healthcare Center. The Center polled 1,000 working moms in America who are currently — or were recently — breastfeeding with children ages two and under, and found that a mere 18% of them are aware of the pumping policies to protect them at work.
So, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we want to give all you working moms the low-down on your breastfeeding rights.
First of all, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, you’re legally entitled to a room to pump milk for a full year after giving birth. This room needs to have shades, no windows, and a lock — because you’re entitled to your privacy, too. Other breastfeeding-parents rights seem basic but are still privileges we take for granted, such as access to running water and a fridge in which to store milk. Believe it or not, 11% of moms surveyed didn’t even think they were entitled to that!
The survey also took into account how critical breast pump accessibility/affordability is to mothers trying to ease back into the workforce after maternity leave; 63% of mothers said pumps enabled their return to the workforce and 36% reported that it gave them a chance to continue advancing in their career.
View this post on Instagram
🇺🇸 Breastfeeding at work : did you know it ? . In France, women have one hour per day to breastfeed baby according to labor law. . According to this law, during one year from childbirth, mother have 2 periods of 30 minutes during work hours to breastfeed her baby. . And you, do you have a breastfeeding time during work hours? . . . 🇫🇷 Allaitement au travail : le saviez- vous ? . En France, les femmes disposent d’une heure par jour pour allaiter leur bébé selon l’article L-1225-30 du code du travail. . Selon cette loi, pendant un an à partir de la naissance de l’enfant, la mère bénéficie de deux périodes de 30 minutes pendant les heures de travail pour allaiter son bébé. . Et vous, avez-vous allaité ou tiré votre lait au travail ? . . . #breastfeeding #normalizebreastfeeding #breastfeedingatwork #allaitementmaternel #allaitement #mamanallaitante #breastfeedingmom #curvematernity
“The results of this survey show us just how critical access to breastfeeding equipment and support are for moms who plan to return to work,” Judy Manning, vice president of marketing at Byram Healthcare, said in the survey. “Protecting the legal rights of breastfeeding women not only shows them they are welcomed with open arms, but it levels the playing field.”
In response to the survey, Byram Healthcare published a toolkit called “A Working Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding” — aimed to help new moms going back to work. It outlines three breastfeeding rights under the Affordable Care Act: breast pumps and lactation consultant sessions must be covered at no cost by insurance, and employers must provide breaks for mothers to pump or express milk.
Even after knowing all of this, plenty of mothers are still afraid that pumping at work will hinder their career growth — and/or they just plain can’t find the time. Because of this, they pump during their lunch breaks or while making work-related phone calls, even though they’re legally granted designated separate time for pumping.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! If you know a new mom who’s dipping her toes back into the workforce, send her this article and Byram Healthcare’s toolkit. Because every mom deserves to know her rights — and be prepared for that ever-exciting first day back at work.