Law requires businesses to have 'mommy rooms' for nursing mothers

(NBC) - Going back to work after having a baby can be stressful enough. But for some moms, finding a place to pump can also be a hardship. Part of President Obama's affordable health care act includes requiring businesses to provide a mommy room, a private space to use a breast pump that is not the restroom.

"For me and my milk supply, I have to pump relatively frequently," said Nicola Singletary.

Nicola is a new mom who breastfeeds her 4 month old baby. The very thought of telling a new potential employer of her needs terrified her.

"I like this job, but while I am asking for this job, can we find a way to make this schedule work around pumping?" said Nicola.

Nicola, who is a teacher, chose to say nothing and paid the physical and emotional price like so many other new moms.

"Things like pumping in the car," said Nicola. "Fitting it around class schedule was the most challenging thing."

The U.S. Department of Labor is now cracking down on businesses that are creating that challenge for working mothers. A law now requires that companies with more than 50 workers provide a private room at least 4 foot by 6 foot and enough time for breastfeeding moms to pump.

Dr. Miriam Labbok of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health said that you don't need a lot of space for such a room.

"This is generous," said Dr. Lobbok of the room she was showing us. "We have three chairs, breast pumps, sink and a fridge for her to store her milk."

As Dr. Labbok stresses, there is widespread research on the medical benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother. Now, it's the law that your workplace support that.

"You don't just stop breastfeeding and then breast feed 12 hours later," said Dr. Labbok. "The body doesn't work that way. If you stop breastfeeding during the work day, your milk will begin to disappear."

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