Workplace Lactation

Workplace lactation policies are good for everyone – children, parents, employers, and society. For this reason, the Federal Government and the State of California have put workplace breastfeeding laws into place so that mothers and babies are supported and encouraged to breastfeed for at least the first year of a child’s life.

Business Benefits

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity, as well as infections and illnesses in infants, and lowers the risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis for mothers. Providing a breastfeeding-friendly workplace doesn’t only make sense for babies and moms, it also makes business sense. Businesses with lactation policies enjoy lower turnover rates, lower healthcare costs, less absenteeism and higher employee productivity and morale. Additionally, treating diseases and conditions preventable by breastfeeding costs insurers at least $3.6 billion each year.

First Steps

  1. Ask your supervisor about how your company supports nursing mothers at work, or use the Business Case for Breastfeeding toolkit, which provides working mothers with workplace support materials and resources.
  2. Talk to your supervisor before you go on maternity leave, so you can plan for a schedule when you return with two to three breaks to pump your milk during each eight-hour work period. Each break will require 15 to 20 minutes to pump, and then clean and store your supplies.
  3. Make arrangements to rent or buy a portable electric breast pump (if your employer does not provide an on-site pump), pump supplies and breast-milk storage containers.
  4. Before returning to work, practice using your pump so that you are comfortable and able to collect several ounces of milk with each use. Save the milk from these practice sessions in your freezer to become your back-up supply.
  5. After returning to work, pump and save your milk each day during the time you are not with your baby. This fresh milk will feed your baby the following day. Breastfeed when you are with your baby.
  6. Get reimbursed for the purchase of your breast pump. They are now tax deductible!

Employee Resources Guides

Employees’ Guide to Breastfeeding and Working

The Business Case for Breastfeeding Toolkit

California Breastfeeding Laws

Click one of the links below to read the text of actual laws in the State of California that have to do with breastfeeding and lactation accommodation:

California Enforcement Agency The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is the state agency that enforces labor laws in the State of California. If you feel that you have been unfairly discriminated against in the workplace, please visit one of the following DLSE pages for more information:

Worksite Lactation Polices and Resources

Worksite Sample Policy
County of Ventura Lactation Policy
The Business Case for Breastfeeding Toolkit
Working and Breastfeeding

Local and State Breastfeeding Resources

California Breastfeeding Coalition
Breastfeeding Coalition of Ventura County
Ventura County WIC
Breastfeed LA
San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition

Federal Breastfeeding Laws

Federal Lactation Accommodation Law On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which passed into law a provision of Representative Maloney and Senator Merkley’s bill, The Breastfeeding Promotion Act.

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