Supporting Working Mothers
Around 55% of women with children under the age of 3 years are employed. Unfortunately,
employment outside of the home can be a major barrier for mothers to continue to provide their
milk to their babies. Some of the reasons working outside the home can be a challenge include:
Short maternity leave - US Labor laws only permit for 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Many mothers
cannot afford to take the time without pay and at time will take as little as 2 days off work. It takes
about 2 weeks to truly get breastfeeding established and the American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends exclusive breastfeeding (human milk only) for the first 6 months of life and continued
breastfeeding throughout the first year of life.
Lack of break time to express milk at work - Milk production is a round the clock process that
does not stop simply because a woman is at work. Milk generally needs to be expressed every
2-4 hours in order to maintain mother's milk supply, for her comfort, and to prevent complications
like plugged ducts and mastitis.
Lack of a place to express milk at work - Women have often been told to express their milk in
the bathroom, however, this is not a hygienic location to be collecting an infant's food.
Lack of support by coworkers - Some women will not even mention their need to express milk
when they return to work to their employer because they are afraid their supervisor or co-workers
will look down on them or disapprove.
Lack of access to milk expression equipment - If a mother does not have access to her
infant during her work day, then she really needs a double electric breast pump to be able to
pump in a shorter time period and maintain her milk supply. Some insurance plans are now
helping mothers cover the cost of this expensive equipment.
about how to
in the workplace
Work Project here.
|Learn more about
the Break Time for
amendment to the