What Health Care Reform Means for Nursing Mothers

By Erinn Springer

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the recently passed health insurance legislation, has a few provisions that will really benefit nursing mothers in the workplace. When President Barack Obama signed the legislation, employers with more than 50 employees were then required to provide nursing mothers “reasonable break time” to express breast milk.

Before the legislation, 17 states already had laws that required employers to provide nursing mothers breaks to collect breast milk. Now nursing mothers around the country will have that same privilege. The legislation grants women up to a year to take these breaks.

Not only will nursing mothers get time but also a private location to express milk. Health care reform requires employer to provide nursing mothers space to express milk that is private and not located in a bathroom.
The U.S. Department of Labor will determine how much time will be necessary to grant women these breaks and whether the time used on these breaks will be compensated.

Employers with less than 50 employees will not have to meet any proposed requirements if their compliance presents an “undue hardship.” If a business can prove an undue hardship it means that it cannot comply with the legislation without difficulty or large expense to the small business.
This law will have a large effect on women that work hourly and are eligible for overtime benefits. Women on salaries are not covered by this provision but many companies have accommodations for working mothers.
Nursing mothers will be able to breast feed their children for longer time periods and will not have to quit because of working conditions. This is a huge win for mothers across the country.
Tomorrow: Immediate Benefits of Health Insurance Reform

If you work as a nanny or au pair does the working mother that hired you express breast milk at work?


  1. Yes my Mom Boss does express milk at work since she has a private office and a refridgerator at work then she brings it home in a cooler.She is my first Mom Boss (4 total) to have done this. All the other mothers I worked for switched to formula before going back to work.I think this reform is great news for working mothers. It's only a few months and it improves the quality of life for mothers and their children. As you know, breast is best!

  2. Great for working mothers but how can it be enforced? Does the mom have to threaten her boss to make sure it happens?Tonya Las Vegas

  3. My MB had for awhile after going back to work, she said the room for it though wasn't that comfortable for the process. And she would have clients that she would go to at times that either did or didn't so after awhile it got hard for.

  4. Anonymous above: Grammar much?

  5. One mother I worked for expressed milk at work because it was a big corporation and there was a "sitting room" used for that purpose. Another mom I worked for would express milk while working form home. All others used formula since much much easier. The reform is a great idea and healtier for the child. What about corporations that have daycare at work? Couldn't the mom's go down to daycare to breast feed the child?

  6. Tonya, the IRS will be responsible to enforce this and it will need billions of $ to do the job.

  7. Awesome post!It was really helpful for me!Thanks for sharing.

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