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How the PUMP for Nursing Mother’s Act Protects Working Women


In the United States, most adults become parents during their lifetime, and many of them return to work within 2-12 weeks following childbirth. For lactating parents, this necessitates finding a way to maintain their milk supply and ensure their baby has adequate milk while they are away. Despite these predictable needs, American workplaces are frequently unprepared and unsupportive.


Cheryl Lebedevitch

Senior Advocacy & Communications Manager, U.S. Breastfeeding Committee

We can do better! After more than a decade of raising awareness and mobilizing action, one thing is clear: America needs the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. The bipartisan Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act would close the coverage gap that leaves nearly 1 in 4 women of childbearing age unprotected by the current Break Time law. Families, healthcare providers, and researchers consistently report on the challenges workers face trying to secure the time and space they need to express milk at work. 

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee works with government and nonprofit partners to document worker and employer stories, share innovative solutions found by businesses, and expose legislative gaps to be addressed. We know that nearly 9 million women of childbearing age are not protected by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law — a federal provision that requires break time and a private space for breastfeeding employees to pump during the workday. Even workers who are covered by the Break Time provision, or similar state statutes, have little recourse to enforce their rights if their employer fails to comply with the law.  

Employers and policymakers are often surprised to learn just how simple lactation accommodations can be. Businesses across the nation are finding that simple curtains, pop-up tents, and other low-cost solutions can make a world of difference for lactating workers.

The bill has support from advocates, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Republican and Democratic legislators. The PUMP Act has advanced through Committee in both the House and Senate, and this week is likely heading to the House floor for a vote. It is time for Congress to take action in support of working caregivers by passing the PUMP Act! Message your Members of Congress on the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee advocacy webpage.

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