Substitute HB 252: How Can We Protect More Moms and More Children?

What’s YOUR story?!

First Substitute HB 252 adds language re-defining the child receiving an employee’s pumped milk and changing the recourse if an employee is not permitted adequate opportunity to pump at work.

The increased wordiness surrounding the child to receive milk may be unnecessary and may stand in the way of other reasons a woman has to express milk on the job.

In addition, specifying the number of months a woman may be protected while pumping on the job may be unnecessary and may not be protective in certain circumstances.  Mothers pump in order to provide milk and to protect milk supply.  While mothers  usually enjoy nursing, pumping is quite another matter.  Pumps aren’t cute and pumping signifies a practical separation of mother and child.  Mothers are quite happy to pump the minimum necessary to safeguard supply, whether we are talking minutes per day or months after a return to work.  But sometimes circumstances require a mother to pump longer.  Perhaps her child has a special need or perhaps she herself has a job that poses a greater challenge.  In Utah many government employees work a four day week.  This increases the challenge for breastfeeding mothers who must work harder to ensure there is milk for long days of separation.  An issue best understood by nursing mothers is that without milk removal, discomfort quickly turns to infection.  A comfortable milk supply is also important for mother and child to nurse contentedly for as long as they would like, longer than a mother may need to pump at work.  With so many health organizations encouraging more than 12 months of breastfeeding, the ability to pump early on allows women to continue nursing past a critical point at which a very young child might have weaned in response to dwindling milk.

In our enrichment meeting, Nursing and Beyond, we often hear from mothers working part-time or full-time after the first year.   A recurrent theme is, “Do I still need to pump?”  Some mothers continue to pump occasionally 15, 18, and up to 24 months in order to ensure their children’s needs.  All are relieved when the “need” to pump feels safely behind them.  It’s wonderful to simply pick your child up after work or on the weekend and just be together, no more need for mechanical aids.

Colorado law allows for mothers to pump, if they feel the need, up to 24 months after birth.

2008 Colo., Sess. Laws, Chap. 106 requires that an employer shall provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to two years after the child’s birth.  The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a place, other than a toilet stall, for the employee to express breast milk in privacy.  The law also requires the Department of Labor and Employment to provide, on its website, information and links to other websites where employers can access information regarding methods to accommodate nursing mothers in the workplace. (HB 1276)

Mothers have a simple need to provide milk for their children with a minimum of fuss.  And they want a simple solution for this brief period of transition back to the workplace.

What are your thoughts? Have a story?  Please share!

— Susan

We will keep you posted with ways to get involved with HB 252.  We will update our links to the right under “Hot Topics: Utah Legislation” as the Workplace Accommodation Bill changes and receives media coverage.

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