This week he issued a memo to the Office of Personnel Management asking that “appropriate workplace accommodations” be written up for federal employees who are breastfeeding.
This was inspired by the new health-care overall bill which mandates that breastfeeding accommodations be made for hourly workers in both the public and private sectors.
The new legislation requires that women not be discriminated against for breastfeeding or pumping during work the work day. Tax breaks will also be given to those employers who set up breastfeeding rooms and provide pumping supplies (refrigeration, etc) for new mothers. Although most American mothers start out breastfeeding the numbers drop quickly into the first year. Workplace accommodations may bring these numbers up a little. Obama says he’d like to establish guidelines for *all* federal workers, hourly or not.
This is not quite what Gisele Bündchen had in mind as far as breastfeeding legislation goes, but it’s nice to know many working women will have more choices.
According to The Washington Post, the departments of Labor, State and Transportation, the National Security Agency, and the Government Accountability Office already have breastfeeding policies. Some were established as far back as the 80s.
Googling around about Obama and breastfeeding, I found a blog where one breastfeeding advocate discusses Obama’s personal relationship to nursing. She came to the conclusion that Obama’s girls were probably breastfed and that Obama himself may have been nursed as he was born poor, in 1961, before the WIC government-sponsored free-formula campaign had been established.
Earlier this year Michelle Obama put breastfeeding education and promotion on her to-do list for reducing obesity in America, particularly within the African-American communities, which tend to have higher rates of obesity and obesity-related illnesses.
Will you be more likely to breastfeed if you have workplace accommodations for pumping? Does the Obama family’s support for breastfeeding sway your feelings on the topic?