Huffington shared a photo of Pohl pumping in the vehicle. Pohl, via a Thrive Global spokesperson, declined to comment directly, but confirmed the account of these events. The tech world also offers potential solutions. For mothers whose jobs require domestic travel, the start-up Milk Stork offers prepaid overnight shipping and pharmaceutical-grade coolers to send breast milk home from the road. Peanut , a social networking app for mothers, provides a release valve for women to swap stories.
Among its , users, discussions about pumping, breastfeeding, and returning to work come up frequently. To feed a newborn and establish a milk supply, a mother needs to express milk as often as every hours, and although that frequency eases as her baby grows, most women still need to pump at least twice in an average work day.
Skipping a session is not only physically uncomfortable , it carries the risk of complications like blocked ducts or mastitis. In the short-term, you might leak through your shirt, and in the long-term, skipping or delaying pumping signals the body to start making less milk, imperiling your supply. Unlike parental leave or flexible scheduling, which to some extent affect all working parents, breastfeeding is a labor of parenting that can only be performed by mothers. Only about one in five mothers actually manages to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months , as the WHO and the AAP recommend.
Maternity leave—or the lack of it—is the first and biggest hurdle that women who wish to breastfeed face. The U. One study found that almost a quarter of U. Black mothers on average also return to work sooner than white mothers.
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Since the mids, working motherhood has been the norm, not the exception. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58 percent of mothers of infants under 12 months are in the workforce. Mothers who work outside the home increasingly do so not as some kind of add-on, but to support their families. More than 40 percent of mothers in the U.
Among black mothers, the figure is more than 70 percent. Lauren Dinour, an assistant professor in the Nutrition and Food Studies department at Montclair State University in New Jersey, who has published extensively on breastfeeding and pumping in the U. That takes at least three or four weeks, but many women don't get any kind of maternity leave. Many women work in workplaces where there is no such thing as break time, or they're paid by the hour and they don't want to give up an hour in their day to breastfeed, because that's an hour less that they're going to get paid—and oftentimes money is extremely important when you have a newborn, especially if you're the sole source of income.
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Peri traveled often for work while she was pumping. The Transportation Security Administration considers breast pumps medical devices, and both breast milk and formula are exempt from the carry-on liquids limits.
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If they've gone slushy , the TSA can confiscate the ice packs used to keep breast milk cold. In addition, TSA agents may at their discretion open and test containers of breast milk, a process that can be time-consuming, not to mention unnerving to mothers who are constantly sterilizing bottles and pump parts to avoid contamination.
I talked to moms who have had TSA agents swab or dip litmus strips into every bag or bottle of breast milk they were carrying. A study looked at access to lactation rooms at U. In an op-ed for Cosmopolitan , Senator Duckworth wrote that her experiences of air travel as a new mother partly motivated her to draft the legislation. On longer flights, a nursing traveler may need to pump on the plane. Peri knew it was possible to express milk manually, but she had never done it.
So she ducked into a family rest room and started searching on her phone for a how-to video. And I cannot find a proper video to explain it to me, because all I keep getting are these fetish videos. When we contacted YouTube with examples of a dozen breastfeeding-related videos that seemed intended to titillate, YouTube agreed that they violated the company's policy. The videos were promptly taken down. I was like, this is just not going to work. We switched to formula—and it was fine. Merkley had workshopped the idea of creating workplace support for pumping within his own party, and with New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who had been working on the issue for 10 years in the House, without success.
To Merkley's great surprise, his measure found support from an unlikely source: Oklahoma Republican Senator, Tom Coburn. But when Merkley brought up pumping, Coburn spoke passionately on the advantages of breastfeeding for mothers and babies, and the need to encourage it.
Merkley's amendment passed unanimously out of committee and went on to become law. Merkley wrote his amendment to apply to hourly, not salaried, workers. In retrospect, he regrets the exclusion.
Most American women work , including those who are mothers of infants. One study found only 40 percent of working mothers of infants have access to both a private place to express breast milk and break time in which to do it. It's hard to imagine stronger pumping laws getting any White House support under President Trump. Trump once called an opposing lawyer "disgusting" for asking to take a pre-scheduled pumping break during a deposition.
Just last week, the U. The resolution only passed when Russia threw its weight behind it. While it remains to be seen whether the federal laws governing workplace lactation will ever be expanded to cover more workers, scholars and others have begun to assess the impacts of the ACA. It seems to have done a lot for breast pump manufacturers: During the two years after breast pumps were covered by insurance, sales at Medela, the leading pump maker, rose by 34 percent.
The biggest impact was on black, less educated, and unmarried mothers, all of whom historically have lower rates of breastfeeding. The study also found that the ACA increased the average duration of breastfeeding. The amount of that increase? About two weeks. As Jeff Merkley's experience with Tom Coburn attests, frontline health care workers are usually well-versed in the benefits of breastfeeding.
But even as doctors and nurses promote breastfeeding to patients, their own working conditions sometimes make pumping difficult. Sarah, a registered nurse at Northside Hospital in Atlanta who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she is currently struggling to pump at work.
She and her colleagues, several of whom are also pumping, work hour shifts. Sarah gets to work early so that the last thing she does before clocking in is pump; that way she can go as long as possible before taking a break. When her shift begins at 7 a. A lot of days, we don't even have the staffing to relieve people for lunch. I have to tread lightly asking for a pump break when most people aren't even getting lunch breaks.
Although she finds waiting more than three hours between pumping sessions uncomfortable, she sometimes has to go more than four. When, in reality, getting everything set up, pumping, breaking it down, cleaning it up, and getting back to the floor, it may take 30 minutes. Follow RecordLifestyle.
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