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September 17, 2018
On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, health insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. This includes the cost of a breast pump and support from a certified Lactation Consultant.
The ACA additionally amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The amendment states that, “employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time and space to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother, for up to one year following the birth of the employee’s child. The space provided by the employer cannot be a bathroom, and it must be shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public.”
But are these measures making a difference in breastfeeding results and improving the health of mom and baby? The short answer is yes.
Moms not only breastfed for longer, but moms also exclusively breastfed longer. According to the 2018 CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, breastfeeding has increased from 74% in 2008 to 83.2% in 2018. And the number of babies exclusively breastfed for the first six 6 months increased by 75% from 2010 to 2018.*
In 2017, researchers found that reducing barriers to receiving breastfeeding support can encourage breastfeeding. Early this year, another study found expanded access to workplace accommodations for breastfeeding will likely lead to longer breastfeeding durations and provide a net benefit to infants, mothers, and society at large.
*The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively feeding infants breast milk for the first 6 months.
Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.