Breastfeeding in Public: A Mother's Rights (cont.)

"At La Leche we have small cards printed up that women can hand out to anyone who questions her right to breastfeed in public. The cards state that it is a woman's legal right," says Carol Huotari, IBCLC, a certified lactation counselor and manager of the Breastfeeding Information Center at La Leche League International in Schaumberg, Ill.

Next: Federal Law in the Works

Federal Law

 

Soon the rights of breastfeeding women across the United States may get an even bigger boost thanks to The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, a bill introduced in May 2005 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

 

"Moms contact me all the time frustrated because they would like to breastfeed but face some really tough obstacles both at work and in public settings, " says Maloney, whose record on health issues concerning women and children clearly make her a new mom's best ally.

 

Among the challenges her legislation addresses: The right to a clean, safe area of a workplace where a woman can express her milk -- or feed her baby -- and tax incentives for businesses that establish private lactation areas in the workplace.

 

"I have heard many horror stories of women who were fired for trying to figure out a way to express milk at work. My bill clarifies the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to protect breastfeeding under federal civil rights law, ensuring that women cannot be fired or discriminated against in the workplace for expressing (pumping) milk or breastfeeding during breaks or lunch time," says Maloney.

 

The legislation also calls for new standardized safety guidelines for breast pumps. Plus, it offers companies important tax incentives for creating environments that are conducive to breastfeeding.