Breastfeeding in public and in the workplace

For a lot of new moms, the thought of breastfeeding or pumping in a public space or workplace can be intimidating. While it isn’t every woman’s preference, there are laws and options in place to support those who choose to feed their little one away from the home.

Breastfeeding in public

This information was provided by Angela Swanson BSN, RN, IBCLC, lactation consultant, birth planner, Parkview Huntington Family Birthing Center.  

Indiana is a breastfeeding-friendly state. According to Indiana law code 16-35-6, a mother has the right to breastfeed her child anywhere she is legally allowed to be. There are no specifics regarding the age of the child, amount of skin that can be seen, etc.

Mother’s should not have to breastfeed their child in the bathroom unless that is where they desire to do so. It might take some time for a woman to become comfortable breastfeeding in public. In the beginning, breastfeeding requires visualization of baby’s mouth and the breast. As time goes on, getting baby to latch becomes easier and easier.

Here are some tips for finding your stride and getting comfortable breastfeeding in public, should you desire to do so:

  • Practice nursing baby in front of family or friends.
  • Choose clothing that is nursing-friendly and comfortable for you.
  • Consider using a nursing cover-up if it makes you feel more secure.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a private place to nurse your child, if desired.
  • Seek out and utilize a Mother’s Room when available.
Breastfeeding in the workplace

This information was provided by Ashli Pershing, BSN, RN, CLC, birth planner/lactation consultant, Parkview Wabash Family Birthing Center.

Indiana has specific guidelines to help breastfeeding moms and babies be successful in the continuation of nursing as the mom re-enters the workforce. It can be helpful to have a general understanding of the laws in place to protect your rights.

What are the breastfeeding laws in Indiana?
  • Indiana Code 16-35-6 – Allows a woman to breastfeed her child anywhere she has the right to be.
     
  • Indiana Code 5-10-6 – Allows for paid breaks for an employee to express her breastmilk for her infant.
     
  • Indiana Code 22-2-15 – Allows to the extent reasonably possible, for employers with 25 employees or more to provide a location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express her breast milk in privacy during any period away from her assigned duties and to provide a refrigerator or other cold storage space for keeping milk that has been expressed; or allow the employee to provide her own portable cold storage device for keeping milk that has been expressed until the end of the work day.
     
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Requires employers to provide reasonable paid break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time the employee has a need to express the milk.
Will this help my workplace?

Breastfeeding employees may use less sick time, have lower healthcare costs and foster a better feeling about their employer. A lactation support policy saves companies money. It’s healthy for babies, healthy for employees and healthy for business!

How can an employer support the employee?
  • Ask! Managers can begin by asking employees who are on maternity leave several weeks before coming back if they will be needing break time and private space for pumping and refrigeration for their milk.
     
  • Managers should know your company’s health insurance policy and if it covers providing a breast pump, how to direct employees to obtain the equipment.
     
  • Be as understanding and supportive of these moms’ endeavors as the company can be. A mom’s commitment to breastfeeding is important to her. She will be grateful to her employer and better serve the company long-term if they offer support.

 

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