Bathroom stalls, coat checks and storage closets are just a few of the less-than-stellar places that breastfeeding moms have been forced to pump milk in due to a lack of proper pumping facilities.
Wongdoody is drawing attention to this issue via a campaign called #IPumpedHere for nonprofit Moms Rising that encourages moms to share the ridiculous (and often unsanitary) places that they’ve pumped in. The goal of the campaign is to urge lawmakers and employers to expand protections for breastfeeding moms in the workplace.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide a “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth” and “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.”
However, Moms Rising argues that the federal law doesn't go far enough and leaves the wording “open for interpretation.” At IPumpedHere.org, the nonprofit has listed proposed guidelines to help businesses understand what exactly breastfeeding mothers need, like a sink and faucet “deep enough to wash bottles and pump parts” and a “midsize refrigerator for milk storage.”
Moms Rising also points out that the federal law “leaves millions of workers without any protections at all” since it primarily covers hourly wage-earning employees. On its site, the organization is urging people to sign a petition that asks lawmakers to consider expanding protections for breastfeeding moms who work.
“Pumping rights is an issue that’s often overlooked, even though inadequate conditions and break time are incredibly common problems that can really have a negative impact on working mothers,” said Skyler Mattson, managing director at Wongdoody, in a statement. “This issue impacts women from all walks of life, in all types of jobs, and employers and lawmakers alike must go farther in order to truly protect the needs of breastfeeding working moms. With the Affordable Care Act in a state of uncertainty, now is the time to shine light on this issue and make sure women are protected in the future.”
“Studies have shown that breastfeeding means healthier moms and babies - and the benefits extend to businesses too because healthier families mean less employee absenteeism and higher productivity,” added Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, chief executive and executive director of Moms Rising. “That’s why it is so important to highlight the need for clean, safe, accessible places for new mothers to pump. Our hope is that the #IPumpedHere campaign shows the impact of inadequate working conditions on new mothers and encourages all employers to create safe spaces for moms to pump.”