Here in the United States, we have laws that help protect breastfeeding and pumping moms, such as the right to nurse your baby in public. But many of these laws are determined by the individual states. So, what exactly are your rights? How do you learn about these laws? And why do we need even laws that determine how and when we can feed our babies?
The Boob Group
Breastfeeding Laws In The United States
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PRIYA NEMBHARD: Here in the United States, we have laws that help protect breastfeeding and pumping moms, such as the right to nurse your baby in public. But many of these laws are determined by the individual states. So, what exactly are your rights? How do you learn about these laws? And why do we need even laws that determine how and when we can feed our babies? We are The Boob Group!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Welcome to The Boob Group! We're here to support all moms wanting to provide breast milk to their babies. I am your host, Priya Nembhard. I am also the founder of the “Moms Pump Here” nursing locator app which helps moms all over the world to find great places to pump and breastfeed their babies. If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to download the New Mommy Media Network app which gives you easy access to all our episodes. You can also subscribe to our podcast through iTunes so all our latest episodes download directly to your phone. And if you are on iTunes, please leave us a review, so other moms can learn about us.
Let’s meet the mamas joining our conversations today! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: Greetings! My name is Michaelle C. Solages. I am a New York State Assembly member. I am also a first time mother to a fifteen month old and I am very proud to have him. And I am just very excited to be here on The Boob Group. In the state of New York we are always looking to empower women and children, and the best way to empower new families is to make sure they breastfeed and so I am one the proud sponsors of legislation that empowers breastfeeding and empowers donor breast milk.
TAHRA JOHNSON: Hi! My name is Tahra Johnson and I work with the National Conference of State Legislatures in the Maternal and Child Health Program. I am not a mother, but I have a lot of friends and family that are, so we talk about lactation support and breastfeeding quite a bit. And we are very supportive of new moms.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright! Hi, everyone, I am Sunny and I am producing today’s show. And I got four kiddos! My oldest is six, and then I have a four year old, and then I have twins that are almost three, next month turning three. And I breastfed all of them, I also pumped and I also did a lot of the donor milk, both donating and receiving donor milk, and I also supplemented with formula as well. So, I am not currently breastfeeding, I am actually still lactating, but I am not…my twins are kind of over it.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: And I am your host, Priya, and I am a mom of three. My oldest is fourteen, I have a twelve year old, and I have a eight year old. So, they are a little bit older, but I breastfed all of them. My youngest I breastfed for three years, the other two were not so lucky, but they got supplemented and you know, I breast-pumped for all three of them. So they are nice, strong and healthy kids. I think it’s such an important topic! Especially from my point of view as mom-preneur and having a company that you are constantly talking with moms. I think it’s so important that we are talking about breastfeeding laws today.
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SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so, as you know, we are talking about breastfeeding law today, and I found a news headline that goes along with our topic. It’s amazing! It’s actually a video that I think everyone should go check out. But… So, I am not going to try to say her name, because I will totally butcher it! I can try her first name…Unuur. I am just going to say Unuur, I am not even sure if that’s who you pronounce it. She is an Icelandic law maker, and the video is her in Parliament, they were having a discussion in Parliament in Iceland, and they were discussing something that she needed to participate in. It was unexpected, but she happened to be breastfeeding her baby when she was sitting down. And they called her up and as it is the most natural thing…
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah, nobody flinched…
SUNNY GAULT: Nobody flinched! There’s… The video shows two men in the background and a female. Nobody is even thinking twice. I have no idea what she’s saying, cause you know, I don’t speak that language. But she is doing her job. And it just looks… Her baby is literally breastfeeding., it’s not even sleeping. You can see her shirt’s up a little bit. Nobody bated an eye. And you know, when she was asked about it… Of course, you know, apparently in Iceland this is not a huge deal or everyone would be looking at. I picture what would happen here, in the United States. Someone got up to do this!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: The eyes will fall out of the sockets!
SUNNY GAULT: Exactly! And I love her explanation! Because when she was asked about it, she simply said: listen, my baby was hungry, I didn’t expect to go to the pulpit, but this is kind of what I needed to do, and it really was a non-issue! So, I just want to take everyone’s take on this and see what you think about this, and you know, would this ever fly in the United States? So, Priya, what do you think?
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Well, I think this is pretty awesome! You know, it is not the first time I’ve seen a law maker on the news for breastfeeding. There was another woman, a while ago…
TAHRA JOHNSON: Argentina…
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Argentina, yes, yes! But I’ve never heard of a United States law maker going through this situation. But I would hope that if it happened, it would be welcomed, you know. Because they did make the law!
SUNNY GAULT: Right! Right! And that’s just it! Like she wasn't trying to prove a point. She was trying to live her life. Like she is a mom too, and her baby was hungry, and she just got up there, right? So, it was just so natural! It’s what I love about this. And nobody cared. Like, not in a bad way nobody cared, but it was like: okay, yeah, it’s a mom and a breastfeeding baby, big wap! You know what I mean?
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah.
SUNNY GAULT: So, anybody else? Any other thoughts?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: That’s just wonderful! Now I know that next time I have my second child, I’m going to be making sure that I breastfeed on the New York State Assembly floor! It’s such an inspiration, really!
SUNNY GAULT: Right!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: You should!
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: Yes!
SUNNY GAULT: I know! I know! Well, again, big probs to this mama! She didn’t even know probably that she was going to make headlines all around the world for it.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: She should!
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, exactly! But I will post it to Facebook, if you, guys, want to check it out. But yeah, hopefully we can bring more of this to the US and just normalize breastfeeding as much as possible.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Today we are talking about breastfeeding law in the United States. Joining us today is Assemblywoman Solages of New York’s 22nd district and Tahra Johnson of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that tracks and shares legislation for state legislatures. Ladies, welcome to The Boob Group!
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: Thank you!
TAHRA JOHNSON: Thank you having us!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Thank you for being on! So, are we seeing more legislation to support breastfeeding and pumping moms?
TAHRA JOHNSON: This is Tahra, and I would say yes. We check this legislation, and we’ve been doing it for years, and we’ve been seeing at least a few bills considered and enacted every year. More of these are related to workplace legislation, or exemption from jury duty, as many State have already had laws in place related to breastfeeding in public. Some states create laws, or re-edit laws to strengthen the federal law, while others create specific unique law for their state. We’ve also seen more state resolutions with language that is simply stating that they support breastfeeding and lactating moms.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: And I definitely agree! Just as more women become legislators, I think we are focusing on topics that weren’t really highlighted before. And so I know that, myself in New York, we have three legislators that are new mothers, and they are really highlighting and passing legislation that deals with breastfeeding and pumping.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: How easy is it to pass these laws? You know, as a woman. And you mentioned the three other legislators that are trying to…that are breastfeeding and they want these laws in place. But how easy is it to pass these laws?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: As anything, laws, bills, it takes time. However, if you have a coalition of people that really believe in the topic, you can get it done. And New York State, we pass a donor breastmilk bill that was submitted in January, and passed it in June. So, if there’s political will, if there’s governmental will, it can get done.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Do you need the public support for these bills before they go out?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: A 100%! We do need the public support, the advocacy them going out, the saying that this is a good piece of legislation, and that needs to get passed. And you can see that on a federal level, and on a state level, and even on a local level-when the people are involved, you know, legislation laws, bills, they get done.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: This is in general for all States across the US?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Yes, I would agree with that. And I think that really is the case for just about any law that you are trying to pass. Is one that one person going to a legislator and saying that they have initiated where they want something passed. Going in a group and having a wide range of support certainly have moving forward any specific type of legislation.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: And what about breastfeeding in public? So, we’ve seen, you know, news reports, we’ve seen images in media about women breastfeeding in public. And I know that there are laws behind breastfeeding in public. So, let’s talk about the different states and their laws. Can you give us an overview of these laws as determined by the states? Does the law protect moms who want to pump in public too?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Absolutely! So, there are no laws in the United States that forbid breastfeeding outside of the home. State laws protect breastfeeding by expressly stating that a woman has the right to breastfeed in public, or by specifying that the act of breastfeeding is not indecent exposure. And almost all states have laws in this area, 49 states, the District of Columbia and the Virginian Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. There are 29 states in the District of Columbia that exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. Some argue that those basically mean the same thing.
But states like to have multiple laws in place sometimes. In term of if it protects moms from…that want to pump in public as well, it’s an interesting question, and from my perspective, I can’t say that it does or it doesn’t. The language is different by state and it can be interpreted differently. So, I think it would depend on the state and if there’s actually a legal issue that was brought up about it.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: What about the state of Idaho? I know that’s the one remaining state. Can you talk to that at all?
TAHRA JOHNSON: So, they don’t have a law in place that specifically says they are…that they are allowed to, but they don’t have a law in place that says they are not allowed to breastfeed in public. So, it’s… I can’t say that they have had any issues one way or the other, but they don’t have a specific state law in place.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: And do you think that that’s because there hasn’t been a public push for it? Or it’s just coming from the legislators’ point of view?
TAHRA JOHNSON: I can’t say. No, I can’t, sorry.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: What about you, Mickey? What do you think?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: You know, we can pass legislation till the cows come home, but it’s also really a culture, you know. We have to make sure that we are embracing breastfeeding and pumping moms. And in some of these states, you know, pumping and breastfeeding is a normal thing, you know, women are more likely to be home, so it’s never really an issue. But the states where the cost of living is very high and you know, women have to have that additional income, these issues come a lot more often. So, it’s just all depends on, you know, the environment of the state, the culture of the state, so forth and so on.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: And what about working moms? How do these laws affect working moms that have to pump in the workplace?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Yeah, so, there’re quite a few pieces of legislation and laws around workplace pumping, and as many of you probably know, in the Affordable Care Act there was a provision, in the law, that requires an employer to provide a reasonable break time for employees to express breastmilk for the nursing child for up to a year after the child’s birth, and the employer is not required necessarily to compensate the employee for that break time, but they are required to have it. The employer must also provide a place other than the bathroom for the employee to express breastmilk.
If the requirements impose undo heart ship is the language, and the employer has fewer than 50 employees, is not subject to the requirements. Many states have had laws in place similar to this, either before this law was passed and some have passed after to help strengthen that law.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: What about part-time employees? How does this law affect part-time employees?
TAHRA JOHNSON: So, it should be the same, as long as…depending on how many employees they have at that company.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: So, they are still allowed the break times?
TAHRA JOHNSON: They are. However, they are not compensated, not necessarily…they are not required to be compensated for it.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: We got to change that!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah! Definitely! Because you think about the moms that, you know, work in situations. Or even teacher, you know, part time teachers, substitute teachers that need to pump, and you know they are working hard, they are working with kids all day, and they are not compensated. I wonder if they are compensated. Or maybe it’s up to the school, I don’t know.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: It’s like paid family leave. In certain states they provide compensation, so that you can be with your loved one and not have to choose between a pay-cheque. But according to the federal law, you don’t get compensation for your paid leave. So, you know, that’s something that maybe states cam move forward to provide compensation for pumping. That would be great, right?
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah, that would be awesome!
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: That would encourage a lot more people to…or women, to pump.
TAHRA JOHNSON: And again, it is up to the employer. So, I know, I’ve heard of circumstances where it has not been an issue and employers have not really necessarily count the break time against the employee. But just the law does not require them to compensate, so it really just depends on the situation.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: So what about enforcing the law? How are the laws enforced? Are they truly protecting moms? Because you hear it all the time that, you know, maybe an employer is not educated about the laws, and then the employee is not treated properly, you know. How are these laws enforced?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Yeah, that’s a really great question! And I actually get phone calls quite a bit from moms. And we cannot provide legal advice at my company, that’s not what we do. However we do know that enforcement depends on where you are, so if there is a city ordinance. For example in Philadelphia, there’s the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance where public accommodation may prohibit a breastfeeding mother, then someone can file a complaint to the Philadelphia Commission On Human Relations for example, and you can find this online.
By state it’s certainly depends. Often times the Department of Public Health will know who to contact, but they are not the ones that necessarily enforce it, related to the Federal laws. So, the first piece of legislation law that I was talking about, the US Department of Labour, Wage and Hour Division, is responsible for enforcing it. So, there is an ability to file a complaint to the Department of Labour. But again, in the state, in just depends on where you are in terms of who is enforcing it.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: And definitely I would document, it’s so important that… First of all we can’t give legal advice. I, as a state legislator, can’t give legal advice. But it’s very important to document any transactions that happen. And also to just research how your state is organized. So, in some states you can file a complaint with the Departments of Labour, other states is the Department of Health. So, the internet is a great resource. I would just search on your computer, typing your state, or typing your town, or your city, and you know, breastfeeding rights, and you can find a lot of information that way.
TAHRA JOHNSON:There is another resource as well. The La Leche League Organization has sometimes this information as well. They have regional and state sections. So, sometimes we’ll encourage folks to look on that web page because they can be pretty helpful.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Awesome! So, we’ll definitely include that link in our resources. So, it’s not just about breastfeeding in public and workplace pumping. We are seeing more legislation to protect breastfeeding and pumping moms. We’ll give you some highlights when we come back.
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PRIYA NEMBHARD: Welcome back! Today we are talking breastfeeding laws in the United States. In the first half we talked about breastfeeding in public, and that’s certainly a hot-button issue. Now, let’s talk about other pieces of legislation that are being discussed. So, the BABES Act! This just came out and I would love to hear your take on the Babes Act. Can you tell us anything about it?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: Well, this is huge! You know, I know so many women who have interacted with TSA agents who have confiscated their breastmilk. You see that celebrities…It happens to celebrities, they are posting on their social media that their breastmilk has been confiscated. So, you know, this is a huge peace of federal legislation that just passed. President Obama signed it, which is the Bottles And Breastfeeding Equipments Screening Act, BABES Act. And so, this just cauterizes a law the existing TSA rules that allows breastmilk bottles and other nursing related items through airport security and onto planes. YEEY!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: YEEY! And you know, something so small like that is a huge thing!
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: It’s a victory! Huge, yeah!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: It is so much… So, can you imagine being a mom going through and having your breastmilk taken away? Like, psychologically, that’s like: what?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: I will probably spill my breastmilk…
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Right?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES: …as I could only imagine some person taking five bottles away from me!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Exactly! So, there’s also some new resources coming out about high schools providing lactation rooms. Tahra, I think it was in California, right?
TAHRA JOHNSON: That is correct! Yeah! Recently California passed a law that requires schools operated by a school district or county office of education, and charter schools, to provide reasonable accommodations to lactating people on high school campus, so, it allows them to express breastmilk, breastfeed an infant child, or just other needs related to breastfeeding.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: That’s awesome! And you know, my app actually has a couple high schools listed on there. And there was one that was recently submitted and it wasn't in California. I don’t remember where it was, but it was not in the state of California. So, I know that this is becoming a more common thing, just from my perspective and my work. And I think that’s huge, that they are providing that service to students and staff.
SUNNY GAULT: Is… What about for college? I was just thinking. So, we are talking about high school students now, I realize that. But how is college, you know, treated? Is that treated more like a state, like I guess it depends on what college, right? There’s some that are state-oriented and some not?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Yeah! That’s a great question! And to my knowledge, that’s exactly it: it depends on the college itself. Generally colleges have more than fifty employees, so they do fall under the federal legislation for needing to have on the campus, somewhere at least, a location to provide for expressing breastmilk. If it’s a state college, than it does fall under, you know, being a state property, but other ones, private, do not, but then again, they generally have more than fifty employees, so they fall under the general employee law.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Most colleges and universities have lactation rooms, and again, I notice with the app, we have hundreds listed that have tons of rooms. And it’s also a selling point, you know. You want students to have that family life balance on campus. So, what about…I’ve also heard about jury duty in Hawaii? Now, this is sort of a great excuse not to go to jury duty. “Oh, no, I am nursing mom, you know, I have to feed my baby!”, or you know… So, can you talk about that?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely! So, Hawaii is the most recent state to pass a law related to exemption from jury duty for mothers who breastfeed or express breastmilk. This varies a bit state by state, but mostly it provides the exemption through a year after the birth of the child. So, in Hawaii they just passed this in I believe was June of 2016. It will go into a fact March of 2017.
And generally pieces of legislation do take some take to actually go into a fact and be enacted. It was enacted this year, will go into a fact next year just because of the process getting the information on the forms correct, so that, you know, it’s an easy process for mothers to either check the box, or explain that they are breastfeeding so that they don’t have to go in for jury duty. There are at least seventeen states that exempt breastfeeding mother from jury duty, or allow jury duty services to be postponed. And this… We saw quite a bit of the legislation passed in kind of probably within the last ten years related to this topic.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, so I have a little bit of experience with this, because California, where I live, is one of the states that protects moms. And I was really shocked by this. I got something in the mail. And I am used to…I’ve been a mom for a while now, so I am used to like having heart ships that I can usually get out of jury duty. Not that… I am actually not trying to, I am actually very interested, but my life is like chaos, right, and I just can’t right now!
But I got it in the mail, and I was going through like the reasons that you could, you know, reject your duty, or whatever, you send it saying that your are just not available, and I was shocked to see that being a breastfeeding mom, and at that time I was a breastfeeding mom, was one of them. I am usually saying something like: I’ve got little kids and I don’t have childcare support, or something like that, which is also very much true, that it’s a financial heart ship for my husband and I to be able to do that, because it’s just us, we live far away from family.
But yeah, I was so excited about that! I am like: well, hey, I don’t even have to throw in the childcare thing, I will just say, and it would be totally true, that I am not breastfeeding one baby, but I was breastfeeding twins, so how would like them apples in your courtroom? You know what I mean? So, I had some experience with that one, and it totally worked too.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: You know, in New York State, when Jayden and Ava were born I did that. I had received jury duty notices right after their birth, and I was like: I can’t. But it was heart ship, it wasn’t about breastfeeding, it was heart ship. And I was like: come in, because I just got a baby!
SUNNY GAULT: Exactly! Right? So, there you go.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Okay so there is also a mandate about lactation, accommodation and airports; Assemblywoman Solages, I know you have recently passed a legislation based on this, correct?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:Well, we were talking about accommodation also in court rooms and court houses, they lack accommodations as well and so I passed several pieces of legislation that require lactation accommodations at airports and also in public buildings so capitol buildings, court houses, social service departments. They all should provide an area, separate from the bathroom, for women to express milk and yeah, so it is huge, you know, we are working also with New Jersey so that we can get the major airports under this jurisdiction as well because there are a lot of airports that New York and New Jersey share and it is also inspiring other legislators across the country to enact legislation to make accommodations in public places.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Wow, how do you feel about that? That’s huge that they are that inspired that they are going to be looking at legislation that is similar to …
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:Yeah, it is huge, I mean, it is something that, you know, a mom should be able to go to any state in the country and pump or nurse their child in peace and not in the bathroom. I hear horror stories every day and it is something that, you know, we need to get out of our minds and our heads – no bathroom, we don’t eat in the bathroom so why should we be nursing in the bathroom?
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yes, the breastmilk is a food.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:Yes, exactly.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: So talking about breastmilk, donor milk … so you also worked on legislation that reimburses, I think it has to do with insurance, right?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:Yes, so we want … donor milk is something that in New York State, we established one of our first breastmilk banks so that if anyone wanted to donate breastmilk, they can go to an official place in New York State and get it pasteurized and tested for any diseases or bacteria and be able to give it to preemies that are in need. And so I passed legislation to make donor breastmilk reimbursable to preemies so no matter your social, economic situation, you will have access to donor breastmilk which we know is liquid gold and which is the best medicine that you can give a child.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Oh my god and it is … for preemies, breastmilk does so much for them as they are growing, so yeah.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:It has been proven to get them out of the NIC unit quicker, it prevents horrible diseases, it is just the best thing that you can give to a preemie and so we need to encourage that.
SUNNY GAULT: So I have a question. So how often does it actually happen that a bill is … or a piece of legislation is introduced and then other states pick up on it? I mean, yeah, it is kind of like the ultimate compliment but I am just wondering, you know, how often it actually happens?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:It is like a domino effect – one person puts in a bill and then it goes across the states; so it happens frequently and that is what collaboration is all about. I have worked with the National Conference of State Legislatures, I have gone to their conference and had conversations with other legislators and we collaborate, we share bills … it is a common thing, you know, and it is great because we want to empower mothers all across this great union so it is a very common thing, it happens every day.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: And what about moms? How can they support legislation?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:Well, I am always happy to see people interested in government and interested in just being involved in the process so, you know, the first thing you can do is find out who your legislator is at every level, most people don’t know who represents them and so find out who your legislator is, find out what legislation they talk about and if you are interested in one of these bills, I encourage you to go out and have them submit the bill so call them, go to their office, go with a team and say “hey, can you sponsor this bill?”
TAHRA JOHNSON: You know, a lot of states like to make their own … their legislation unique but if another state has passed something first, it certainly makes it easier on them. For example, legislator wanted to pass a similar bill that was passed in New York, they can actually look at that language, you know, reach out to the legislator who was pushing that forward and get some advice; and again, the language is already being used in one state, sometimes states will use almost the exact same language in their bills and pass that forward. So absolutely, once it has passed in one state or a handful of states, you tend to see a trend of more legislation in that area. I would also say what we have seen with breastfeeding that is absolutely the case.
SUNNY GAULT: And could it happen too that enough states are on board that someone is like “hey, we should make this federal law”? Does that ever happen?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Not as much as you may think it would. A lot of times states like to have a State law vs. Federal law, be a little bit more in control of it and be able to make changes if necessary, it is a lot easier if it is in State legislation vs. Federal legislation so that is generally what we see.
SUNNY GAULT: And then if that did happen, I mean Federal law prevails over State law, right? So, if there were existing laws and then a Federal law came out and it was in contradiction or something, we would have to go with the Federal law, is that correct?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Yes, however sometimes a Federal law, e.g. with the Affordable Care Act and the law that says … within that legislation, it actually says “the Federal law requirements shall not preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees”; so a lot of times State law is usually a bit tighter or more specific than Federal laws.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay so just depends on how it was written basically?
TAHRA JOHNSON: Exactly.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: So Tahra, how can moms listening help support legislation?
TAHRA JOHNSON: So I would say … we tell anyone that we talk to about any issue really – if you think that a law should be changed or added in your state to protect you or your community, definitely get in touch with your state representative. Their job is to listen to your concerns and to address them as best as they can; certainly going as an individual is important but as we talked about earlier, going with a coalition of individuals or businesses or others that feel the same way, can be a very strong way to move your issue forward.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: You know, you see those surveys online and people signing the surveys; I think it is change.org, you see a lot of those surveys. How much of impact do those surveys make on legislation? Are they taken seriously?
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:I think they are petitions.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: They are petitions, yeah, that’s what I meant – petitions? Are they taken seriously, like, do legislators look at these petitions and consider them?
TAHRA JOHNSON: I have heard that some do; I don’t know in terms of how much they are considered more than other ways of approaching them and perhaps the legislator can speak to that from her experience but I have heard anecdotally from legislators that that can make a difference.
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:I definitely think that a petition, any document that people from my community, my constituents produce is a strong document so, you know, the change.org is great but sometimes people from other areas sign it; I definitely think that a grassroots effort is the best way to enact change in your community and so the more people, the more of your neighbors are involved, the better your cause is likely to become a legislation law.
SUNNY GAULT: Get out and go door to door … with your clipboards – “sign here, please, remember me?”
MICHAELLE C. SOLAGES:Or get your PTA involved or your local dad’s club.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah, that’s smart.
SUNNY GAULT: Your mommy groups, there you go – mommy groups.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: So thank you so much to everyone for being part of today’s show and for sharing their experiences. If you are a member of The Boob Group, then be sure to check out the bonus content for this episode where we will discuss resources moms can use to learn more about breastfeeding and pumping legislation in their own areas.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so we have a question from one of our listeners; as you know, we love to answer questions that you submit to us either through our website or perhaps through Facebook, we try to respond to that as quickly as possible. And this one comes from Erin, this was on our Facebook page and Erin writes:
I am 37 weeks pregnant with our second baby and still breastfeeding my 26-month-old son. Our son co-sleeps with myself and my hubby. He nursed during the night up until 2 months ago when I decided I needed to get some better quality sleep. For the last 2 months, I nurse him when we first go to bed but I tell him it is only for a few minutes and then it is a “night-night time”. Then, I will tell him “okay, it is time to go to sleep” and unlatch him; he still fusses a little bit when I unlatch but usually only for a minute or two and for a while it seemed like things were going very well.
But recently, he has slid back a bit and will wail and wail. I don’t know if he knows the new baby is coming soon and he feels insecure; we will have sleeping arrangements set up with a bassinette next to the side of the bed and I do not plan to have baby in bed for safety reasons with the toddler. But I am concerned about the dynamic of night-nursing one child and not the other. I guess I am looking for any advice, experiences that anyone has that can relate to this sort of thing. I am planning on breastfeeding both toddler and newborn but do not wish to go back to night-nursing my son. Any thoughts would be helpful.
HELEN ANDERSON: Hi Erin, my name is Helen, I am one of the experts here at New Mommy Media, I am a registered nurse and a certified lactation educator and I want to thank you so much for your question, and congratulate you on your soon to be born baby, and also give you some kudos on your extended nursing for your toddler – that’s wonderful. So as you move to nursing two babies instead of just one, my advice is to be sure that you are clear with your language that the reason you are reducing breastfeeding for your older child is not because of the baby’s needs, it is not the baby’s fault but instead it is your choice.
Say things like “I need you to stop breastfeeding because mommy is tired” or “we are not going to breastfeed this morning because I need to stay hands-free for a little while ”or “I am just not ready to do that right now”. So instead of saying things like “the baby needs to breastfeed first” or “the baby needs more milk than you” or “big boys or girls don’t breastfeed like a baby does”, we want to be sure that we give the idea to our child that the change is your choice.
The next thing is really take it easy on yourself, it is going to be a big transition for you and your older child may have some difficulty with the transition of having another baby in house for many, many reasons, not just breastfeeding; so be sure that if you want to reduce a breastfeeding session or eliminate a breastfeeding session with your older child that you are doing that to care for yourself and that you are dealing with your child’s frustration but you are not giving in to that.
So remember that our job as a parent is to be present and to comfort but not necessarily to breastfeed your older child at the expense of you and your baby’s wellbeing. And be sure to find non-breastfeeding ways to connect with your older child – hugging, snuggling, these are all really good habits that we can kind of initiate now and continue to do after the baby is born that don’t involve breastfeeding. And that is about it; I want to congratulate you and wish you luck with your new baby.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: That wraps up our show for today. Thanks for listening to The Boob Group!
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.
This is The Boob Group where moms know breast!
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
SUNNY GAULT:How would you like to have your own show on the New Mommy Media network? We are expanding our line-up and looking for great content. If you are a business or organization interested in learning more about our co-branded podcasts, visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com.
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