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New Lactation Room Law: Breastfeeding in the Workplace

It has been a long fought battle. Many nursing moms have asked for and lobbied for their places of employment to provide lactation rooms (a private place to breastfeed or pump milk for their baby). Now, many states are stepping up to the plate and putting laws in place to ensure that new mothers have a private place to conduct these necessary routines.

Oregon has the honor of being the first state to put in place a lactation room law in 2007. Most states now have in place some provision for breastfeeding mothers. Unfortunately, not many have lactation room laws that can be enforced, until now.

The Lactation Room Law

On March 30, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law under the long debated health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Act includes a section that mandates an employer with more than 50 workers to provide a room, not a bathroom, in which the female employee can express breast milk for her child as needed. The female is not obligated to work for or otherwise compensate for the time spent on this task. This can be done until the child is one year old.

Who The Lactation Law Applies To

While small companies with less than 50 workers are ‘exempt’ so to speak, if they make more than $500,000 per year, they too have to abide by the law. The law also requires that any company that provides medical or nursing care services, schools and government agencies abide by the Act. It requires the provision of a private and clean lactation room for mothers of babies younger than one.

One Item Still Up For Debate

The law has been met with praise from most persons, especially women. There has been one main point of discontent in the wording of the lactation room law, however. The lactation room law states in part that the mother can “get an unpaid reasonable amount of time to pump breast milk while at work”. The problem is in interpreting what is a reasonable amount of time. Concerns have been raised that some companies could claim that a woman is taking too long to express her breast milk and demand compensation.

This has been a long time coming and is showing that the powers that be realize the importance of breast milk to a baby. Lactation rooms will enable mothers who want to breast feed or pump milk to do so in private. The embarrassment of having to breastfeed in public is understandable.

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8 Comments on "New Lactation Room Law: Breastfeeding in the Workplace"

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3 years 6 months ago

Would a closet work? I heard that the room has to be window free and the door locked from the inside. Are these the same moms that are breastfeeding in public?

3 years 10 months ago

I read the entire law you referenced in the article and there is nothing written in there that I could fine on providing lactation rooms. Would be interested in knowing what section of the bill you are referring to?

3 years 10 months ago

Breastmilk is the healthiest way to feed ur young child and who in the right mind does not recommend breastfeeding? Women’s rights!!! Yes, it is our choice to have children and bring this upon ourselves. But us as working moms, we should have the right to pump in a private room. Like Jessica said- it doesn’t have to be a nice sparkling room or anything…. just as long as it’s a private room where we can do our thing to provide for our young.

5 years 2 months ago

I totally hear what Jessica is saying. However, I think the point of what everyone is missing is that having children is a choice. I therefore do not understand the justification for demanding something from your workplace environment that you have chosen or brought upon yourself.

5 years 3 months ago

breastfeeding lowers healthcare cost later on since breastfeed babies are likely to be healthier later in life. women that pump are missing just as much work as mothers who dont breastfeed because our children will be sick less often therfore we don’t have as many sick days home with our babies, just a few moments pumping because our babies are likely to be healthier. the room does not have to be spectacular, just private.

5 years 5 months ago
I breastfed two babies, didn’t have lactating rooms and managed fine. While I think this is “nice” … the cost to our country is higher than anyone wants to admit. Laws like this drive up the cost of doing business in America and while every government agency in our country strives to meet this new requirement — what will that cost be … in the end, the children we are trying to provide for will pay for this in spades as our gov’t debt increases to staggering levels and they, in the end, will pay the cost whatever it may… Read more »
6 years 1 month ago

California has had a law similar to this since 2002.

6 years 2 months ago

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