Reddit | tashalina, Reddit

California Law Requires Private Spaces For Breast Pumping Moms At Work

Life presents a lot of challenges for a working mom. If working a full day only to come home to somebody who is almost guaranteed to have an energy advantage over them isn't enough, there's everything from daycare costs to what happens when somebody gets sick.

And for working moms with new children, the issue of how and where they can fit lactation into their work day can also arise.

However, it seems that one California law could do something to make that part, at least, go smoother.

Until 2010, there wasn't much that legally stopped employers from ignoring the needs of moms who had to use their breast pumps.

Reddit | Americanfloosie

This, however, changed when the Affordable Care Act amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to state that businesses had to provide "reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.”

Not only that, but it also required they provide a place to do this that was "shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public."

Reddit | Queenbach

It also stated that this space can't be a bathroom due to concerns that such a place cannot ensure safe, sanitary breast milk.

It doesn't help that bathrooms are widely considered uncomfortable to pump in for both spatial and security reasons.

However, California employers could get around this law until this year by using the state law's wording.

Reddit | GunGoneWild

Specifically, Section 1030 of the California Labor Code stated that they had to "provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall."

So if a business owner were to make an employee lactate in the bathroom, but not the toilet stall, they technically wouldn't be violating the code.

But as of September, it seems that this loophole has finally been closed.

Reddit | tashalina

Assembly Bill no. 1976, as signed by then-governor Jerry Brown, echoed the federal wording that employers can't use a bathroom as their designated lactating room.

A temporary lactating space would also be acceptable, but again, not if it's a bathroom.

To explain why these lactation rooms are so important, we need to establish why breast milk itself is important.

Reddit | FromGtoJ

As CBS Sacramento reported, the Surgeon General found that breastfeeding helps protect babies from infections and diseases, as well as making them less likely to develop asthma, and obesity.

For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively nurse their babies during their first six months of life.

Breastfeeding has also been found to provide some health benefits for the mother.

Reddit | StormieDarkLordofAll

The surgeon General report went on to say that nursing decreases a mother's risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer.

These types were identified by the World Health Organization as two leading causes of death among women.

These benefits, along with a discouraging report from the California Department of Public Health, go a long way to explain why these designated lactation areas matter.

Reddit | Radiobrainz

According to CBS Sacramento, what they found was that although 94% of moms started breastfeeding in 2016, less than 25% were exclusively nursing for six months as recommended.

A big reason for that massive drop-off is a lack of breastfeeding support at work.

Reddit | DelicateLadyQueefs

The California Department of Health said that only 52% of nursing parents received support in the form of allotted time to space to lactate.

Furthermore, getting that support makes them twice as likely to exclusively nurse for six months as recommended.

With any luck, this law can make a positive change in giving little ones the best start possible.