Fired for breastfeeding?! That’s what happened to Heather Burgbacher, a technology teacher and coordinator in Evergreen, Colorado:
Heather had recently come back to work after maternity leave and was using every spare minute to pump breast milk for her baby. She just needed a little support from her employer: adequate break time and a private place to pump. But the Rocky Mountain Academy refused to help, and told her to consider switching her baby to formula. Worse yet—after she complained, Heather was fired.
On the flip side, we recently received this story from a mom who got the simple support she needed at work:
I was supported by my employer to have breaks to pump whenever I needed. I had a private room with an outlet, chair and sink…all I needed to provide my daughter milk when I was at work.
So how can we ensure that the support this mom received is also available to teachers like Heather, and to all breastfeeding moms?
WE know that all major medical authorities recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding for at least the first year of a child’s life. WE know that breastfeeding saves lives and dollars. WE know that moms need and deserve to be supported to reach their personal breastfeeding goals. And WE know that workplace lactation support is actually simple and cost-effective…but do your Senators or Representative?
All mothers should have the opportunity to breastfeed their infants, but policy and environmental constraints make this inaccessible for many families. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011, introduced into both houses of Congress on August 1, tackles one of the most challenging barriers faced by moms today: returning to work. More than half of women with children under one year old are in the labor force, but without adequate support in the workplace, these mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding early.
The bill aims to protect and expand the rights of working moms by 1) ensuring that breastfeeding mothers cannot be fired or discriminated against in the workplace, and 2) extending the existing federal provision to ensure that an additional 13.5 million executive, administrative, and professional employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers, have break time and a private place to pump in the workplace.
Tell your Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the Breastfeeding Promotion Act!
Let’s make our voices heard! With a few clicks of the mouse today, you can help to build critical support for this bill and ensure that all moms are supported to reach their personal breastfeeding goals.
Thank you for your support!