New Texas Law for Breastfeeding Moms
Posted on 08/24/2015
Breast Pump

 

New Texas law to benefit working moms who breastfeed

Posted: Aug 23, 2015 10:27 PM CST Updated: Aug 23, 2015 11:10 PM CST By Michael Aaron

http://www.cbs19.tv/story/29861964/new-texas-law-to-benefit-working-moms-who-breastfeed

TYLER (KYTX) -- A new state law will benefit thousands of working moms and their babies. The law will require Texas public employers to provide time and space for breastfeeding moms to pump milk while at work.

Right now, federal law requires most employers to give hourly workers time and a private space to pump breast milk during the workday. However, this protection did not extend to most workers in Texas’ public sphere. Beginning September 1, these rights will be extended to moms working in our public schools, universities, local, county and state government offices.

Lacy Robertson breastfeeds her 10-month-old son Axel and did the same with her other two children when they were babies.

“Breastfeeding provides superior nutrition and it also provides a bond with your baby that you can't get anywhere else,” Robertson said.

Robertson works as a nurse at Mother Frances Hospital and says it is not always easy to be a working mom.

“Anytime you're away from your baby for longer than two hours it's a little bit stressful,” she said.

But, she says TMF helps make it a little easier by allowing breaks to pump breast milk at work and designating a private place to do it.

“If Mother Frances wasn't mother friendly, I either wouldn't be working or I would probably be unable to breastfeed.”

The rights for public employees taking effect September 1 will closely resemble those already in place for those in the private sector. Under the new law, public will be guaranteed time to pump breast milk while on the job and a private space to express breast milk.

While the federal law requires employers to provide a space other than bathrooms for moms to pump, the designated area for Texas public employers can include a single-person bathroom.

“You need to have time, space, and an opportunity to express your milk when you're breastfeeding and trying to work outside the home,” said Dr. Jimi Francis, a lactation consultant and professor at UT Tyler.

Francis thinks the new state law will greatly benefit the thousands of nursing moms in Texas and lead even more to breastfeed.

“I think anytime there's a mechanism in place to support moms and their goals for breastfeeding, it helps them significantly,” Francis said.

When moms meet their breastfeeding goals, Francis said employers benefit too.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars of productive time are lost due to moms missing work because of infant illness, and babies that are breastfed have much less time they are ill,” Francis said.

That equates to moms spending less time away from the office.

“This is critical not only for the health of mom and baby,” Francis said, “but also from an economic perspective.”

As part of the existing federal law, private workplaces with 50 or fewer employees aren't required to provide these accommodations for nursing moms and they don’t apply to salaried workers. The new Texas law provides accommodations for all public employees, where they are hourly or salary.

Click here to view an online database of Texas’ mother-friendly workplaces. - http://texasmotherfriendly.org/home