The Nursing Moms group has an email list and meets for monthly lunches in the Capitol. Discussions revolve around nursing questions and “typical parenting topics like birthday parties, traveling with small children, recipes and of course sleep; [as well as] concerns that we all share as staffers, such as long days and late votes,” Nedrow said.
Growing Support for Breast-Feeding
Capitol Hill is not alone. Legislative changes have made workplace-dedicated lactation spaces more common. The Affordable Care Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to include provisions for workplace lactation spaces and reasonable break time. Employers must provide “a place” — other than a bathroom — that is shielded from view and free from intrusion. Many Capitol Hill staffers, though, are exempt because they are not covered by the FLSA. (This same exemption denies most Capitol Hill staff overtime pay as well.)
“We have a long way to go in meeting the goal of giving every baby the optimal start for good health with breast-feeding,” Beam said. “Establishing a ‘model workplace’ on Capitol Hill by providing a comfortable, private space and encouraging mothers to take time during their workday to be able to pump breast milk for their babies is an important step toward that goal.”