New Law Will Require Breastfeeding Rooms in Federal Buildings

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By on July 29, 2019 in Current Events with 0 Comments
Blue and white ADA compliant identification sign that reads 'lactation room' to denote rooms designated for breastfeeding

A bill that was just signed into law by President Trump will require federal buildings that are open to the public and have public restrooms to also have designated lactation rooms for breastfeeding. The rooms will be available for use by members of the public as well as federal employees.

The Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act (H.R. 866) was sponsored in the House by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and in the Senate by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT).

The bill stipulates that these lactation rooms will be hygienic places provided in addition to the restrooms that are “shielded from view”, “free from intrusion” and “contains a chair, a working surface, and, if the public building is otherwise supplied with electricity, an electrical outlet.”

“This is great news for nursing moms all over Montana and our country,” Daines said. “It’s long overdue that Montana moms have access to a private, clean, and safe place to nurse their newborn babies. I’m glad to have led this fight, and I thank President Trump for signing my bill into law.”

Norton said, “The benefits of breastfeeding are so well-documented that federal agencies’ own literature has long encouraged breastfeeding. Millions of Americans visit federal sites across the country, not only here in the nation’s capital, making it essential that Congress ensure nursing mothers have access to designated private, hygienic lactation spaces.”

Norton had previously introduced similar bills in prior sessions of Congress that failed to pass (see the links below for reference).

President Obama had previously given authority to the Office of Personnel Management to establish breastfeeding guidelines in federal agencies, but this new law will mandate having designated rooms created for this specific purpose within federal facilities.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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