Breastfeeding In Public And At Work
The challenges faced by mothers who breastfeed in public and at work cannot be overlooked. There are individuals who speak negatively about and to moms who breastfeed in public. Some employers restrict working moms from breastfeeding or expressing milk at work. For employees who do, time used is unpaid for.
In many countries across the world, breastfeeding in public is widely accepted and viewed as the norm. Some persons though, find this offensive and cook up various excuses for their views. It is noteworthy though, that a baby has little sense of time and place and cares less about your view when he is hungry.
Breastfeeding in public
Breastfeeding your baby in public is completely legal and protected by laws in various parts of the world including all 50 states in the U.S.
The immediate and long term benefits associated with breastfeeding your baby should enhance your desire to feed your baby as much as he or she needs it and wherever.
Babies should be breastfed for at least one year and exclusively in the first six months.
Properly breastfed babies experience better cognitive development and health as they grow. So, no matter what you might have been told, breastfeeding in public is not an offense. It definitely isn’t indecent exposure of the breasts as proposed by many who speak negatively of the loving act. As a nursing mom, you can choose to avoid negative attention by moving to another location if someone expresses displeasure. But, be aware that you can also protest such treatment.
Breastfeeding at work
There are laws that encourage breastfeeding in the workplace. As a working mom, be aware of these laws since they serve to protect the rights of you and your baby.
Prior to the provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, working mothers had virtually no law protecting them. In fact, women often attribute early weaning to unsupportive work environments. There is often little time to feed or express milk as they often have to return to work and lack needed privacy.
Some employers believe that a baby’s presence and time taken to care for the baby reduces the mom’s productivity. Except the nature of a mother’s job or position occupied provides autonomy, all working moms face this sad reality.
The US department of Health and Human Business Case for Breastfeeding reports that breastfeeding actually increases productivity, reduces absenteeism, improves morale, lower healthcare spending, and builds a positive image for the company for retaining skillful female employees despite being breastfeeding moms.
Laws that protect you as a working mom
The Family Medical Leave Act
This law requires that your employer grant you, as an eligible employee, three months of leave during any 12-month period to birth and care for your child.
On a closer look, this law has its shortcomings. Eligibility is based on the assumption that an employer has worked for at least one year, worked for 1250 hours at least, and lives within 75 miles of the workplace. It is also an unpaid leave. These clauses make it difficult for many to benefit from the law. Many do not meet the stated eligibility requirements.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
This Act has significantly helped working moms in two principal ways. It requires all employers to provide a reasonable break time for a breastfeeding mom to express milk. Feeding is an exception though. It also requires employers to provide a private location for that purpose other than the bathroom.
The price of a breast pump is covered through insurance. Breastfeeding support such as counselling are also covered by insurance.
Only employers with less than 50 employees who if he complies, will experience undue burden, can be exempted.
This law is of help to employed moms in states with no protective laws and more beneficial to moms in states with established laws that serve to protect nursing moms.
Tips for breastfeeding in public
Ask for available special accommodations
In many public places like the park or mall, there are private rooms specifically set aside for nursing moms. This will make you feed your baby in comfort.
Use a sling
Wearing your baby makes it very easy for you to feed her. You can do so discreetly, calling little attention to yourself. And if anyone notices, you are doing everything right and nothing wrong.
Practice feeding your baby at home to know how much you would be revealing and if you’re just comfortable with it. Once you find a suitable stance stick to it.
Know your right as a nursing mom
Know your nursing rights and exercise them at will. Let no one run you down with negative comments. Boldly state your right and don’t bulge. If you’re forcefully ejected, you can do a “nurse-in” protest.
Never ignore your baby’s needs
Feed your baby as naturally as possible. Once you notice her discomfort, find a nursing spot and do your baby right.