Pumping Secrets

Important Laws

Important Laws

Both health professionals and our public health officials promote breastfeeding to improve the health of infants. It is a known fact, that mothers and their children benefit from breast milk. The antibodies contained in breast milk protect infants from bacteria and viruses. Children who are breastfed are known to have fewer ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections and they have diarrhea less often than infants who have never been breastfed. Infants who have been exclusively breastfed are in need of fewer doctor visits, need less prescriptions and have lower hospitalization rates which results in a lower medical care cost in comparison to never-breastfed infants. Breastfeeding provides long-term preventative effects for the breastfeeding mother, in addition to an earlier return to her pre-pregnancy weight she is also at a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that there are approximately 75 percent of mothers who start breastfeeding immediately after birth, but there is less than 15 percent of those moms who are breastfeeding exclusively six months later. The Healthy People 2020 initiative has a national goal to increase the number of mothers who breastfeed their babies in the early postpartum period to approximately 82 percent by the year 2020.

“President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, on March 23 and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, H.R. 4872, on March 30, 2010. (See the combined full text of Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152 here.) Among many provisions, Section 4207 of the law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 (29 U.S. Code 207) to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express milk.” Although an employer is not required to compensate an employee (breastfeeding mother), for receiving break time for any of her work time spent for expressing her milk, they are required to allow for that time. Also, The employer must provide a place, and something other than a bathroom, for the breastfeeding mother (employee) to express her breast milk. If these requirements create a hardship to an employer who employees fewer that 50 employees, that particular employer may not be subject to these requirements. Also remember that federal requirements may not preempt a state law that provides greater protections to its employees (breastfeeding mothers).

To find more detailed information, here are a few sites you could look into:

Frequently Asked Questions – Break Time for Nursing Mothers, U.S. Department of Labor

Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers: Request for Information from the public, Federal Register Notices, Vol. 75, No. 244, December 21, 2010

Break Time for Nursing Mothers, U.S. Department of Labor

Fact Sheet on Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA, U.S. Department of Labor

To find out more information on breastfeeding laws and to find information about the state in which you live, visit: