• Friendly Airports for Mothers Act (FAM) H.R. 2375, SR 1110

    No matter what they are doing or where they are, breastfeeding mothers need to express milk every few hours. An airport is just one of many environments where women face challenges trying to find a clean, private space to nurse or pump. A recent study of 100 airports found that while 62% reported being “breastfeeding friendly,” only 8% met the minimum requirements for a breastfeeding mother.

    Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Rep. Stephen Knight (R-CA-25) have introduced the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act of 2017 to require all large and medium hub airports to provide a private, non-bathroom space in each terminal for mothers to express breast milk. The space must be accessible to persons with disabilities, available in each terminal building after the security checkpoint, and include a place to sit, a table or other flat surface, and an electrical outlet. Airports would have two years to comply and would be able to use Airport Improvement Program funds for the purpose of complying with the new requirement. California and Illinois already have state legislation requiring large airports to provide a location for breastfeeding mothers to express breast milk in private.

    The  Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding; the Institute of Medicine report, Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention; and the National Prevention Strategy each call for breastfeeding-friendly environments. Yet in spite of this tremendous recognition—and laws in 49 states that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location—moms continue to face barriers, even harassment, when breastfeeding in public. And when away from their babies, airports are just one of many public places where moms face challenges finding a clean, private space to pump.

    In April 2016, the 2015 version of the bill passed the Senate as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, which funds our nation’s air transportation infrastructure. It then returned to the House for consideration as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act, however, this reauthorization was not ultimately passed before the end of the 114th Congressional session.

    Click here to contact your representatives to ask them to support this bill.

    Supporting Working Moms Act (SWMA) H.R. 3255

    Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place for most hourly wage-earning (nonexempt) workers to express breast milk at work. Although it was intended to cover all employees, its placement within existing statute means that it does not cover millions of salaried executive, administrative, and professional employees, including teachers. While it provides protection and support for the most vulnerable workers, this distinction in the law was unintentional, causes confusion, and could be addressed with a simple amendment.

    Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) have introduced the Supporting Working Moms Act (SWMA) to ensure a fair and uniform national policy by extending the existing federal provision to cover salaried employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers. The HHS Office on Women’s Health hosts Supporting Nursing Moms at Work, a comprehensive online resource providing businesses with cost-effective tips and simple solutions for all industries. Twenty-eight U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia also have state legislation to support breastfeeding in the workplace. At this time Maryland does not have a similar state law.

    Click here to contact your representatives to ask them to support this bill.

    Affordable Care Act Coverage of Breast Pumps

    Effective 8/1/12 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands health plan coverage to include breastfeeding support and supplies. Breast pump coverage will vary among insurance plans, so check with your insurance policy handbook or call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to find out the details of your benefits. Before calling, talk with a Lactation Consultant about which pump is best for your situation, especially if your baby is in the NICU or you plan on returning to work and will need to pump on a regular basis to build up or maintain your milk supply.

    Click here for more information .

    Maryland Law: Health – General § 20-801

    A mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be. A person may not restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child.http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/wic/docs/YouHaveTheRightToBreastfeed.pdf

    If you experience a situation in which your right to breastfeed is challenged, you can report noncompliance with the Maryland law to the Maryland Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division

    Maryland Code: Tax General: Title 11. Sales and use tax: Subtitle 2. Exemptions: 11-211

    Maryland was the first state to provide an exemption from sales tax for breastfeeding accessories that may be used by breastfeeding mothers. Exempt items include breast pumps, breast pump hook-up kits, breast shells, nursing shields, Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), feeding tubes, breast milk storage bags, finger feeders, and purified lanolin.

    The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding

    On January 20, 2011, Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin released The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, outlining steps that can be taken to remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies.

    Federal Law: Health Care Reform § 4207

    An employer shall provide a reasonable break time [unpaid] for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth, and a place, other than a bathroom, which may be used by an employee to express breast milkWorkplace Support in Health Care Reform

    Additional Resources