A Break for Nursing Mothers: Public Comments Requested

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Breastfeeding advocates, including the American Nurses Association (ANA), were pleased that The Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act included a provision that is expected to increase rates of breastfeeding among working women. The provision, Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers, went into effect when the bill became law on March 23, 2010, and provides women who are breastfeeding the right to unpaid time and a place to pump breast milk at work.

The Department of Labor is now sharing their preliminary interpretations of the law and seeking public comment on certain issues regarding how this provision is implemented. What is a reasonable break time? What sorts of spaces meet the requirements for privacy?

If you have experience as a breastfeeding mother, or expertise in workplace support for breastfeeding, please visit the website of the US Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) to learn more and submit a comment. The deadline is February 22, 2011

As noted by Linda C. Pugh, PhD, RNC, CNE, FAAN, one of ANA’s representatives to the USBC, "Workplace support is critical for women who seek to breastfeed. The many benefits of breastfeeding for women and children are thwarted if women find it difficult to pump while at work. Nurses are in the forefront to advise policymakers about the gold standard of infant feeding."