Press of Atlantic City Editorial Board
New Jersey and the nation have made great strides toward public acceptance of breastfeeding as the evidence for its benefits has mounted. There’s still a little further to go, and a proposal in the state Legislature would help.
Sponsored by Assembly members Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, the bill would extend civil-rights protections to nursing mothers.
Frankly, some of those protections probably aren’t needed, such as from discrimination in housing or borrowing.
But the broad approach wouldn’t hurt and would provide needed support for women nursing toddlers and those nursing or pumping milk at small businesses.
Federal data shows nursing infants need less sick care, fewer prescriptions and less time in the hospital. Breastfeeding strengthens a baby’s immunity, lessens the chance of future obesity and supports development.
No wonder New Jersey has seen a jump in mothers who have breastfed at some point, from 72 percent in 2010 to 82 percent this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CBS New York
TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a bill that would protect breastfeeding mothers from workplace discrimination.
The new legislation would require employers to provide a proper location and a “reasonable break” for breastfeeding mothers to pump during work hours. The bill would also make it a civil rights violation to fire a woman because she is breastfeeding during work hours.
“Mothers don’t stop being mothers when they get to work,” bill sponsor Democrat Valerie Vainieri Huttle said in a statement. “The benefits of breastfeeding babies, especially during the first six months, are undisputable. No woman should ever be shamed for, or prevented from feeding her child the best food possible.”
The bill, sponsored by Huttle and Democrat Bob Andrzejczak was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee on Thursday.Read more
Vainieri Huttle & Andrzejczak Bill to Protect the Right of Women to Breastfeed in the Workplace Clears Assembly Panel
(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Bob Andrzejczak to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against women who chose to breastfeed or express milk in the workplace was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. The benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect babies from illness.
"Mothers don't stop being mothers when they get to work," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "The benefits of breastfeeding babies, especially during the first six months, are undisputable. No woman should ever be shamed for, or prevented from feeding her child the best food possible. This allows working women to breastfeed or pump at work without fear of repercussions."Read more
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
The goal is to extend current law, to cover women who work for small businesses or who are nursing babies older than one year
State and federal laws give New Jersey mothers the right to nurse infants in public and at most jobs, and breastfeeding rates here have risen steadily in recent years. But these protections don’t extend to moms who work for small businesses or those who want to nurse toddlers.
A handful of Democratic lawmakers are seeking to change that with a proposal that would extend civil rights protections to breastfeeding mothers in the Garden State. The measure is scheduled for a vote in the Assembly labor committee on Thursday.
All states — except Idaho — plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico legally permit mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Jersey’s law, approved in 1997, protects a woman’s right to nurse in any public place, including resorts or amusement parks.
The federal Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2014, requires insurance plans to cover breastfeeding counseling and supplies. And, in recent years, New Jersey hospitals have adapted their practices to encourage new mothers to nurse.
The legal protections and growing education campaign — breastfeeding was a priority for former New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd — have clearly paid off.
In 2010, 72 percent of Garden State mothers had nursed their babies at some point; by 2016, this had jumped to 82 percent, according to the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s biannual Breastfeeding Report Card. New Jersey was one of 29 states to already have reached one of two breastfeeding targets for 2020 set by federal regulators.Read more