Breast milk has the awesome ability to sustain human life, boost brain power, and bolster immunity. So why isn’t everyone in the world marveling at the super power of breastfeeding mamas? Why are women still shamed for putting babies to breast in public spaces (it's an issue in India, too) and left to pump breast milk in dirty bathrooms and supply closets? Because change is slow. Revolutions take time, and they require persistence and patience. The good news: here in the United States, we’re seeing signs of progress.
Idaho Supports Breastfeeding Rights (Maybe)
Let’s start with Idaho. Currently breastfeeding in public is legal in every state except Idaho. So if a mama has a right to be in a public place, she also has the right to breastfeed her child. Period. But Idaho has been a little late to the party. Just recently a state Senate panel passed a new bill stating that breastfeeding is “neither indecent exposure nor obscene.” If the House approves it, Bill 448 will become the state’s first legal protections for mamas. File this in the “better late than never” category? We’ll take it.
New Workplace Lactation Laws
New Jersey and Massachusetts, (plus forward-thinking cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco), are ahead of the curve with legislation that mandates that employers provide lactation policies and lactation spaces for breastfeeding employees.
Progressive Public Policy
Change is also being spearheaded by Senator Tammy Duckworth, one of the sponsors of the Friendly Airports for Mothers Act (FAM) that would require all airports to provide appropriate lactation accommodations. And now, as the first pregnant sitting senator, she’s raising awareness about the antiquated government policies and places that don’t acknowledge, or provide for, the biological and physical needs of breastfeeding mothers.
Pop Culture Mamas
Cultural influencers like Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Peretti are helping to normalize pumping and breastfeeding by sharing Instagram pictures of the weird places they’ve pumped. And don’t even get us started on how much we love the recent Gap ad of the breastfeeding model that went viral.
Press For Progress
Yet, there’s more work to be done. And so, today, on International Women’s Day, we join our voices in the call to #PressforProgress, “motivating and uniting friends, colleagues, and whole communities, to think, act, and be gender inclusive.” Together, let’s rally for the rights of all women and all breastfeeding mamas. Here are two ways you can help right now:
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