Can 90 % of moms breastfeed without workplace reform?

The journal Pediatrics reported yesterday that the lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women fed their babies breast milk only for the first six months of life.

I’ve shared before that I breastfed each of my kids about 18 months each. I feel very strongly about the importance of nursing, but I also never went back to work outside of the home.

Neither of my first two children would even take a bottle they were so used to being fed on the breast. (My mother would call me home from dates with my husband because Rose absolutely refused to eat anything from a bottle.)

What if I had gone back to work? What would I have done?

I know multiple women who developed breast infections when they did go back to work because their employer did not give them adequate time to pump. And even when they did get to pump some of the babies turned up their noses at the breastmilk from bottles and the mothers had to use formula while they were separated.

An article on Boston.com Moms does a great job of examining these issues and why it is difficult for moms to nurse as long as recommended. While recognizing the benefits of breastfeeding, the blogger asks how can moms accomplish this goal without the support of their employers?

From Boston.com Moms:

“But exclusive breast-feeding is easier said than done, at least for women in the United States: According to BusinessWeek, “Of infants born in 2006, 43 percent were breast-feeding at 6 months and 23 percent at 12 months. Just 14 percent, however, had been exclusively breast-fed for six months.” And as any mom who has lugged a breast pump with her to the office for any length of time knows, returning to work can make it even harder to continue to nurse.”

“Just 24 states, along with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., have laws relating to breastfeeding in the workplace. (Massachusetts is not one of them.) In Allen v. totes/Isotoner Corp., Ohio’s supreme court ruled that it was legal for Isotoner to fire LaNisa Allen, the mother of a nursing 5-month-old, taking unauthorized breaks to pump – and for “choosing to breastfeed” (Leah at Working (on) Motherhood had a great take on the case at the time).”

“Companies often encourage their employees to take advantage of healthy eating programs and gym memberships, but when it comes to facilitating breastfeeding, many working moms feel like they’re on their own….”

“One thing seems pretty clear: If it’s in the country’s best interests to have new moms nurse their infants exclusively for at least six months — and the billions of dollars in health care savings indicates that it may be – then new moms should get at least six months of paid leave in which they can do so. The United States and Australia are the only two industrialized countries in the world that do not offer paid maternity leave. And moms in the Outback have a sweeter deal than we do: In Australia, your job is protected for a year, but in the United States new working moms only get that guarantee for 12 weeks.”

I agree with this blogger that if the benefits are that great (and we know they are!) then companies (or the government) must create an environment where women can accomplish this goal.

What do you think? Is it impossible in the current environment – with almost 80 percent of mothers working with only 12 weeks of protection for their jobs – to nurse for six months exclusively?

What would you like to see employers do to help 90 percent of mothers achieve breastfeeding for at least six months?

Is this something the government needs to get involved in or should a free-market economy be able to adjust for this goal of greater health for our next generation?

170 comments Add your comment

Jeff

April 6th, 2010
7:13 am

I believe nursing is great for all involved. And I think when it beocmes a big enough of a demand that employers will want to be seen as “mom-friendly”, it will happen the natural way instead of through government requirement.

Leave the government...

April 6th, 2010
7:17 am

…out of this – it, like “healthcare for everyone” is not their job to mandate…

deidre_NC

April 6th, 2010
8:22 am

i am a firm believer in breastfeeding and breasfed all my kids- a couple of a long time…i think employers need to make it easier for women to breastfeed as far as the giving women the time and the place to do it, but a year of paid leave is not gonna happen, there are very few companies who can afford something like this and i really can see many issues arising from something so biased-if a woman gets 1 year of paid leave for having a baby-there will have to be some fair compensation for women who do not have babies for expample…

my youngest (who is now in college) wouldnt take a bottle at all…she would starve to death first i was lucky that i could stay home with her til i weaned her. with my oldest daughter i had to go to work when she was 6 months old and after the first bottle she took she didnt want the breast any more..that killed me…but it was life…i agree that it is almost always better for the baby and the mom to breasfeed but i cant see how we can expect the governemt or employers to give such huge breaks for something like this. my god…you cant get a year off with pay for an illness such as cancer for example…maybe women who plan to get pregnant can be offered a supplemental baby leave disability kind of insurance (as an extra) like we have long term disability insurance we can take or not take…have a long term baby leave that can be an extra insurance. or maybe some businesses can implement a telecomuter kind of thing…there are many jobs that can be done from home…altho there are many (more probably) that cant be….but no it is not the businesses or the governemtns job to give us this….

deidre_NC

April 6th, 2010
8:24 am

sorry for all the typos….btw-my sister is having cancer treatments and is in the hospital..all of you who pray please pray for her! thanks!

cld

April 6th, 2010
8:27 am

I am a working mom who lugged that breast pump to and from the office for nine months. From the day I returned from maternity leave (12 weeks after delivery) until my son’s first birthday, that pump was one of my best friends. Is it possible to exclusively breastfeed and work full-time outside the home? Yes, I did it. My son never had a drop of formula. Is it easy? No.

I had a very family-friendly director, and a number of pro-breastfeeding co-workers (including our administrative assistant), who helped secure private conference rooms where I could pump twice a day. I have access to a refrigerator and freezer, and I ignored the looks as I trekked across the building carrying that big black case, 10 months after my son was born, so I could pump.

I think many moms give up too easily. Some women legitimately cannot do it. But really, that’s a small minority. It takes a lot of time and effort – and if your employer isn’t flexible, then there are major hurdles to cross. I mean, how many smokers spend 40-60 minutes a day away from their desks on smoke breaks??? But a new mom can’t do the same to pump milk? Smoking is detrimental to everyone – pumping breastmilk is nothing but good.

Jeff

April 6th, 2010
8:31 am

Will do Deidre.

A question that will eventually arise, so I’ll bring it up: Will women be “on the clock” or not getting paid during the nursing at work?

Had a great Easter with the munchkin at Myrtle Beach. Did I look that young when I used to go on Spring Break? Do I look that old now? don’t answer that.

deidre_NC

April 6th, 2010
8:36 am

lol @ jeff and thank you!
where i work, and most places you are allowed so many breaks a day for a certain time..ie: 2 15 minutes breaks in addition to lunch…that is when you smoke…ive never worked anywhere that you could just go smoke when you feel like it and for as long as you wanted- or where non smokers didnt have the same amount of breaks and time…and now with all the laws prohibiting smoking on a lot pf premises smokers just have to do what they can to feed their habit…i dont think a mother who needs to pump can be put in that same category–but i also cant see mothers who need to pump getting special priveleges that other workers dont get…i wouldnt have a problem with it…but im pretty easy going-there are a LOT of people who would see this as unfair to non pumping workers…you know there would be problems…

cld

April 6th, 2010
8:41 am

@Jeff, Regarding the “on the clock” issue. I am salaried non-exempt, so I’m paid by salary instead of hourly but my position technically is eligible for overtime pay, per government definitions. So I have to fill out a time card each week for documentation. I did not clock out for pumping, but I also spent time “off the clock” working, checking e-mails, etc. Some weeks, I only worked 40 hours including my 3-4 hours of pumping. Other weeks, I worked more than 40 hours even after I deducted that time – but I always logged 40 in order to avoid billing overtime. In my boss’s eyes, as long as it all equalled out and I was getting my assignments done, that’s what matters.

I’ll comment again, the smokers in my office take their breaks on the clock. I know other workplaces, where people are paid hourly, they have to clock out. But not where I work. So I really didn’t feel there was any difference in what I was doing.

Michelle

April 6th, 2010
8:48 am

My former employer was GREAT for lactating mothers. We had a room (with a hospital grade pump, you just had to bring your own “stuff”). It was a room with a bed, chair, sink, and refrigerator). This is NOT the norm though! My current employer has a policy in place, but they choose not to follow it like they should. I will typically let a lactating mother use my office if she would like (it’s private, has a locking door, and is comfortable.)

I will say, there are some employers that will NOT do anything to help a lactating mother (even though there are government guidelines that they are supposed to!) Some expect mothers to pump in a bathroom stall…HELLO…how gross is that?!

Most breaks for “pumping” are not paid. This is considered time off of the clock (unless you are salaried of course)! Typically, it only takes 15-20 to pump anyway!

If they are allowing a standard 15 minute break 2 times a day “in general” it shouldn’t matter that it is being used for pumping versus smoking!

deidre_NC

April 6th, 2010
8:52 am

i agree that women should be allowed to pump…im just saying that there will be fall out if these women are getting ‘extras’ that non pumping women are not getting….and yes there should be a a comfortable secure CLEAN room for a women to pump in…and yes it can be done on a scheduled break…i just know that people are always claiming unfairness in a workplace and im sure if breasatfeeding women were given extra benefits for this there will be all kinds of ‘unfair’ claims happening…its the way our society is unfortunately.

RJ

April 6th, 2010
9:05 am

As a teacher I was able to use part of my planning period to pump. I purchased a great pump so I wasn’t sitting there all day. I didn’t have a refrigerator but I kept an insulated bag with ice packs. If I worked late I simply dropped off the bottles with his home care provider. Luckily she was only 1 mile away from my school.

It was difficult. There were days when I started leaking and had to learn to wear the pads in my bra. I didn’t do it for my first and she really didn’t take to formula well. She also suffered from multiple ear infections which I feel could’ve been avoided or lessened with breast milk. I was young and my doctor just didn’t discuss the advantages of breastfeeding with me. The second time around I had a great mid-wife that shared so much with me. It was the absolute best decision I made for my son. It can be done, you just have to be dedicated to doing it.

Since I’m paid a salary I had no need to clock out. I’m required to do so much pass the regularly scheduled work day that if the school system had to pay overtime for the free tutoring, mandatory meetings that last 2 hours, PTA meetings, rehearsals, etc I’d have a nice bump in pay :).

DB

April 6th, 2010
9:29 am

@deidre_NC, you got it. And I LOVE your idea of being able to buy supplemental “disability” insurance to cover you for up to a year after giving birth.

I don’t know why employers get so twisted on this issue — surely there aren’t hoards of women whipping out their pumps two or three times a day, bringing U.S. commerce to its knees? Maybe something as simple as adjusting work hours to add 1/2 hour a day to compensate?

Don’t get me started on the smoke breaks – ugh. In the building where I have my office, the smokers are too lazy to walk the extra 20 yards to go outside, so instead they go into the parking garage and stand around the entrance puffing — you have to walk past that stink to enter the building. YUCK!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 6th, 2010
9:41 am

Cld – I think the smoke break example is great. when I worked downtown holy cow there were so many people outside smoking all the time —

Deidre — will be praying for your sister!

Cammi317

April 6th, 2010
9:43 am

I went back to work a month to the day that my daughter was born. My boss at the time, I had kindly offered to set up a nursery of sorts for me. I thought it was going to be great, but…. Their intentions were well meant, but it was a disaster. I guess they figured that she would sleep all day, but of course she did not and I was pulling out my hair running back and forth trying to keep up with my job duties and take care of her. I worked in an office with all men and I could see their impatience at times. My one reprieve was that my sister worked in the law office across the hall from mine and she would come take my daughter for about an hour every day to give me a reprieve. This went on for 3 months until I put her in daycare. I was equally as stressed trying to find a few minutes to pump milk everyday. I got to the point where I just could not so by the end of the workday, I was in pain, swelling and often leaking through layers of breast pads.

motherjanegoose

April 6th, 2010
9:45 am

Morning all! I am looking out at the Gulf in Florida and waiting for my daughter to wake up LOL.
It is 8:30 ish here.

T….loved your Easter picture.,,,,,your kids were adorable. FYI…THAT was a Mc Mansion in that background….NOT….yes, I have seen a lot of houses from coast to coast but THAT was not my idea of a Mc Mansion. Some need to get out more..maybe me….LOL.

I breastfed both of mine….10 months and 8 months, I taught school and had one of the hand held pumps that was NOT electric….more like a syringe. IT WAS A PAIN IN THE NECK TO USE but I did it for my kids,

Not everyone can breastfeed but some have an attitude about breasfeeding that I have about technology….to much hassle and not something worth the trouble. TO ME, you cannot make a decision about breastfeeding in less than 2 months,,,,,it takes time to get the ebb and flow of things.

It was over 4 years since I breastfed my son, when they brought my baby girl into me at the hospital ( remember the injury and they whisked her out). The lactation consultant stood there to talk to me and I said, “Oh, I can do this myself…I breasfed my son for almost a year…” She kindly replied, ” Just buzz me if you have any questions…” WHOA…that was about 5 minutes later, when my daughter would not latch on. So, ,,,if I had trouble, after doing it for nearly a year, many others may perhaps just get frustrated and give up without giving ample time to adjust.

FYI….my kids both had allergies and tubes, so I have always wondered what happened there….as far as the claims they have that breast feeding protects children here. Any ideas?

Have a super day…we are off to the beach and pool.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 6th, 2010
9:48 am

One of my good friends is a teacher who tried to pump — they wouldn’t give her the time to do it and she developed mastitis and was our for a week with a terrible fever and flu-like symptoms — so instead of giving her 15 minutes twice a day to pump she was out for 40 hours — you better believe when she came back to work they would send someone down from the office to watch her class for her to pump!! What’s extra sad about that is often schools are run by women (probably the majority in the workplace) but yet still not sympathetic to making sure teachers get the time they need.

Cammi317

April 6th, 2010
9:52 am

motherjanegoose, I breastfed my daughter until she was 16 months and she has severe allergies. The funny thing is I did not develop any until I was pregnant with her, but her father has always had severe allergies.

I did not have any trouble breastfeeding. My daughter caught on from day one and I always had an abundance of milk. I had a friend who had trouble producing milk. The pump that I attempted to use at work was also an old fashioned hand pump. Perhaps if I had one of these newer battery operated or electric pumps, I would have faired better.

cld

April 6th, 2010
9:57 am

@ motherjanegoose, My son who was breastfed for a year has had the same. Ear infections started at five months and didn’t stop until he got tubes at 10 months. He’s been on children’s Zyrtec off and on (I’m weary of keeping him on it, so I take him off whenever the allergens seem to be at low levels) since 12 months old. He’s had other respiratory concerns that may be related to allergies or possibly asthma – only time will tell. Now, he is almost two and we haven’t had a sick appointment in more than three months – our longest stretch ever!

I sometimes wonder about the immunity thing, too. It seems like he still picked up EVERYTHING at daycare. Though, I blame his ears on his daddy. :) My husband’s family just has bad ears. He had tubes twice as a child, and his brother had them once.

catlady

April 6th, 2010
9:58 am

Develop a pump that can be worn inside of the clothes and pump on the sly–that might help.

When I was nursing 30 years ago my school would allow me to pump, in a 3×3 restroom, with the men on the faculty sitting right outside in the lounge! I was not successful at pumping a single drop!

The sitter gave them bottles of formula during the time I was gone. When I got to the sitter’s after work, I would grab the baby and sit down right there and nurse, as I was in pain by then. It was not ideal. I nursed the first one only two weeks, but the second one nursed until weaning at 10 months (I went back to work when he was 3 weeks old), and the third nursed for 5months (I went back to work when she was 16 days old. You can imagine that by 2:00 I felt like one of Mr. Lowman’s dairy cows! I used to look longingly at the milking barn (I live in a rural area).

Some of my young fellow teachers now DEMAND frequent (to me) breast pumping breaks so they can store the milk and take it home. I am amazed by that.

JATL

April 6th, 2010
10:03 am

I semi-breastfed my children -one for 4 months with just a little supplementation and the other for 2 months. It’s not something I love, and I didn’t go back to work. However, employers need to HAVE to allow women to pump. And because of SO many issues -even other than breastfeeding -women need to have 6 months of paid maternity leave MANDATED BY THE GOVERNMENT (or companies WILL NOT DO THIS). I think so much good would come of it. I don’t understand everyone who flips out about this notion. European countries and Canada have this (as well as universal healthcare and at least 6 weeks paid vacation), and they’re all doing just fine! Having a baby is HUGE! Everyone would benefit if mothers could be at home for a while without freaking out over job security and paying the bills.

One thing I don’t understand -why is ANY baby in the USA dying from lack of breastfeeding? Some of you may have problems with formula, but it’s out there, and you can get it for free if you’re poor, so no baby needs to be dying over this!

Cammi317

April 6th, 2010
10:05 am

My youngest sister is a teacher and she amazed me the ways that she found time to pump. She would literally pump in her van while driving down the highway to school using a battery operated pump and store the milk when she got to school. Or if she got there early enough, she would sit in the parking lot and pump. Her van windows are tinted, but she would make sure that she was fully covered with some sort of wrap and just reach under and pump. She would also close her classroom door and pump during her break.

CDD

April 6th, 2010
10:07 am

I really only had the working full-time and pumping with one of my kids (my 2nd.) With my others I was able to stay at home so it wasn’t an issue. The job I had allowed me to use a training room to pump on my (2) 15 min. breaks and at lunch. I brought along a small cooler with ice packs so I didn’t need to use the refrigerator. I don’t know if anyone would have had a problem with it, or even noticed if I would have, but it just bothered me to think that something out of my body was cohabitating with Lean Cuisine’s or leftovers. The main problems I had was I went through 3 breastpumps while working there. I couldn’t afford a good one and one time it died mid-way through. I tried it manually but that was just messy. So I was miserable at the end of that day!

I do think employers need to just make pumping at work more accessible to working moms. Especially since breastfeeding is proven to keep babies healthier overall, they should think of the days moms won’t have to miss while taking a sick one to the doctor’s office! One issue that might come up though is if more mothers start to pump at work, what to do about privacy? I know I didn’t want anyone in the room with me while I had my girls hooked up to a buzzing machine. Maybe several closet-like rooms with a chair and side-table would be better.

motherjanegoose

April 6th, 2010
10:11 am

@catlady…you went back to work when your daughter was 16 days old? WOW…I am tipping my hat to you. Some Mommas could not even cook dinner and clean their house when thier baby was 16 days old. I knew you were tough! I mean this as a compliment and it falls into the category of
…you do what you have to do…some do not have to do much….LOL. I remember standing in the shower at 5:00 a,m, bawling my eyes out because I was so tired from getting up for feedings and teaching school with Kindergarten too, I made it though.

@ T…THIS is when I use all those hotel points….3 free nights ocean front….I will check in later…have a good day all!

cld

April 6th, 2010
10:15 am

LOL @ Cammi: I can’t tell you how many times I pumped while driving! If my son didn’t drink much at his morning nursing (which was most mornings from 5-10 months – see comment about ear infections), I’d pump on my morning commute. That stretch was primarily during winter for me, so when I was driving at 6:45 a.m. it was still dark out. My commute is on two-lane roads. I’d pull up to a stop sign . . . hook up everything, with the shield secured in my nursing bra and my shirt or cover shielding my chest, and I’d turn it on . . . when I was finished, I’d switch it off. At the next light or stop sign, I’d unhook everything and re-dress. It was a very productive use of my 40-minute commute!

CDD

April 6th, 2010
10:16 am

And no, I don’t think breastmilk alone is a cure-all for all childhood sicknesses like ear infections or colds. I nursed my son & 2nd daughter ’til they were 10 mon. and my oldest and youngest daughters until 1 year. All but my youngest pretty much just decided to stop on their own but I stopped nursing my youngest on her 1st birthday. My 3rd child used to get ear infections about 3 – 4 times every year. She’s been doing much better this year though.

ewww CDL

April 6th, 2010
10:18 am

just saying… I bet you were a nice view for the truck drivers….

cld

April 6th, 2010
10:20 am

@ “ewwww” First of all, there was no view. Between my shirts and my nursing wrap, there was nothing to see. Second, it was dark out. Third, I was driving on semi-rural two-lane roads. I passed maybe six cars during my 40 minutes of driving.

I am a mom

April 6th, 2010
10:24 am

but the last thing I want to see is a woman with her kid hanging off her nipple in public

cld

April 6th, 2010
10:31 am

@ I am a mom: I think that’s sad. It’s the most natural thing in the world. All mammals do it. Yet a huge portion of our society is squeamish about it. No wonder we have to jump hurdles to keep it up until the babies are old enough to wean.

Michelle

April 6th, 2010
10:45 am

MJG…have a fabulous, relaxing vacation! I will close my eyes and envision the beach, ocean waves and imagine the breeze! Ahhh…much better! :o)

I don’t believe that ear infections have anything to do with nursing. It is more related to the length and development of the eustachian tube (the tube that drains fluid from behind the ear). If they are not fully developed or long enough at birth, the fluid cannot drain from behind the ears and an infection develops. I think that nursing (because you have to suck harder on the nipple of the breast than the bottle)does a better job of moving fluid out of the tube…but…if it is not fully developed, neither of them will work!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 6th, 2010
10:49 am

“The United States and Australia are the only two industrialized countries in the world that do not offer paid maternity leave.” First and foremost, that is an incorrect statement. Any company in the US has the right to offer that benefit, most choose not to. The correct statement is that the US gov’t does not REQUIRE an employer to provide that benefit. If you support this gov’t requirement, then don’t turn around and complain about socialism taking over the US.

“then new moms should get at least six months of paid leave in which they can do so”….that’s a very nice, warm thought, but has anyone actually thought about the ramifications of that? It’s not just saying your job is protected, it’s saying your job is protected ANY you must be paid for no work above and beyond your other benefits. Will this be regardless of size of the company? So if you own a 6 person printing company and two of the employees get pregnant at the same time (this is an actual event of someone I know, not just made up), you as the owner will be REQUIRED to PAY both of those employees full wages for 6 months. A law like that would make more than a few small business go under.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 6th, 2010
10:53 am

‘What’s extra sad about that is often schools are run by women (probably the majority in the workplace) but yet still not sympathetic to making sure teachers get the time they need.’

How naive…in my experience, women are meaner to other women than any other group!

cld

April 6th, 2010
10:56 am

Tiger, you are right. My most harsh “criticism” (not direct criticism, but snide remarks and looks) came from other women. The men acknowledged they knew nothing about breastfeeding and were completely non-judgemental about it.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 6th, 2010
10:56 am

typo on my 10:49 post…ANY should read AND

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 6th, 2010
10:58 am

@cld..this blog is a case study in “woman on woman lack of sympathy”, it sometimes shocks me how brutal it is, which is ironic because I’m usually a big proponent of anything that starts with the description “woman on woman” ;-)

@cdl

April 6th, 2010
10:59 am

well animals do it in public too.. but does that make it ok for humans???

lol

April 6th, 2010
11:03 am

no men are not judgmental on breast feeding in public but since they mostly think with the tiny brain you are just feeding into the sexual side of them…..

Cammi317

April 6th, 2010
11:07 am

I can’t tell you the number of other women who have said to me they could not breast feed because they thought it was too sexual. I repeatedly point out to them that the ONE reason that we have lactating breast is for the purposes of feeding our babies. The

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 6th, 2010
11:14 am

@lol and Cammi…not sure what impressions women have of men, but the sight of a woman breastfeeding isn’t exactly high up on the list of fantasy mental images that occupy my top 10 (or 50 for that matter)…..most of the other dads I know share my opinion on this.

uconn

April 6th, 2010
11:18 am

@tiger… You bring up valid points on the small companies regarding REQUIRING paid maternal leave, but as it stands right now companies with fewer employees (I believe its 50 or less) are not required to grant FMLA, so if (and thats a BIG if) the government were ever to mandate that companies grant paid maternity leave I am sure small businesses would be exempt.

cld

April 6th, 2010
11:19 am

I would not put breastfeeding in the same category as “doing it”. One is about nourishing a baby who is not self-sufficient; the other is about the primal instinct of adults – whether for pleasure or for the purpose of making babies. I’m sorry, but that need to “get some” can wait until you get home. A baby’s need to eat, can’t.

blech

April 6th, 2010
11:22 am

and for women to let their “toddlers” or older kids nurse… you need therapy!

@cld

April 6th, 2010
11:23 am

then go somewhere private

cld

April 6th, 2010
11:27 am

Personally, I did. I preferred not to be gawked at. I went to my car, found private rooms, etc. But there were a couple times when we had problems doing that. I was at a wedding and attempted to nurse in my car . . . but a group of wedding guests had decided they wanted to hang out in the parking lot. That’s not my issue – that’s theirs. I have no problem with women who are more comfortable than I am – those who want to nurse in public. I don’t think anyone should make them feel like they’re somehow doing something wrong.

SuwaneeMommy

April 6th, 2010
11:28 am

@ Tiger: I agree. The economic implications of any type of required maternal leave are staggering. I was a member of a 5-person office when I got pregnant and ended up with unintended complications that landed me out of work at 31 weeks and with a preemie at 32 weeks. I ended up taking about 5 months off before I came back to work part-time. Now, I work for another small business, 17 employees, and I know that if I want to continue to work here past my next pregnancy (when and if that happens) I will only be able to take 3 months off because they just can’t go that long without me. (However, I’m of the opinion that things work out, and I do not live to work; therefore, I’m not worried about it.)
I have never gotten FMLA protection (they let me back because I’m a good employee and they like me as a person) and did not get disability or maternity pay–I had to self-insure. Imagine if all new moms voluntarily left the workforce for six months (or more)? What kind of loss in productivity would that create? How would the prices of goods and services go to up compensate for the salary, benefits and taxes that have to be paid for workers on leave? And what about the moms who actually like working? Would they be required to stay home for six months anyway? How about we let moms decide what’s best for them.

Also, it doesn’t matter how you feed your baby–just feed your baby!

@cld

April 6th, 2010
11:32 am

well since we are not a 3rd world nation (yet)…. I got a new puppy once and a book to go with her… The most profound statement in the book was … NOT everyone is going to think your new puppy is as adorable as you do….. This goes with newborns and new mothers as well.. Yes its your right to have a child and breast feed them but for the love of god, what about the rest of the restaurant or church or plane that really does not want to see this??

FCM

April 6th, 2010
11:41 am

Why not expand FMLA (which was crammed down employer throats) to 6 months. That is better for both the mom and the baby. Better bonding, less time in child care.

oh yea...

April 6th, 2010
11:44 am

lets just add to a Government fund that cant even bail its self out of anything else

FCM

April 6th, 2010
11:44 am

(I am against FMLA for Moms in case you didn’t get that). Companies and Governments did not ask you to have a child. They should not be responsible for your decisions. YOU should be. If your having a child and need 6 months with the kid (for breastfeeding or just because) then it is up to YOU to plan that out.

Not only that but the Act covers Dad’s too. So you have Mom & Dad out for 6 months. What about the adopted child–I assume that would not be breastfed. But FMLA covers that too.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 6th, 2010
11:45 am

hey Uconn…how’s it going? Long time! How did Uconn do in the NIT? What’s that stand for again “Not interested tournament”? ;-)…sorry had to bust your chops.

Back to point…the discussion today is going WAY beyond an FMLA type requirement, FMLA doesn’t require the employer to pay a person for no work…that is what is being suggested here. I can only imagine the field day the bloggers on this group would have towards a woman who wanted to have a large family of 4 kids compared to those who only wanted 1. The mother who has 4 kids in 8 years would basically be paid for four years of no work….everyone here finds that to be fair to the employer?

And regarding the size of the company, why should it matter? If you’re going to do it, stand behind your convictions that women who work for smaller companies deserve all the same rights as those who work for bigger ones. Isn’t it really a human rights issue, not a size of the workplace issue? If we exclude smaller companies, aren’t we really saying that we are fine with some companies not treating their companies with same level of decency as bigger companies with deeper pockets…that seems particularly harsh to me. If I’m a business owner, my solution is to never grow bigger than 50 employees because the government rewards me for not being nice then.

The funny thing is that there are mechanisms in place to now allow women to get the time they need and get paid, it’s called short term and long term disability. Why not have the government make the law that insurance companies are required to included maternity leave as a covered condition? Make the employee pay for insurance premiums, which many employers already provide to them for reduced rates. That way, responsible people who have a little bit of foresight will pay a nominal rate for disability insurance (of course the premiums will go up for all people electing this insurance, but probably nominally) and when they have their babies, their jobs will be protected, the moms will get paid through insurance, and the employer only has to cover the expense of hiring someone in the moms absence and not have to pay double the wages for one person’s work.