New mothers are encouraged to breastfeed for six months to a year after having a child, and yet, when they return to work, there are significant barriers they have to face to do so.
A new social campaign for non-profit advocacy group MomsRising aims to drive attention to the challenges working mothers face when they don’t have access to dedicated facilities. Created by independent ad agency Wongdoody, the campaign, which features the slogan "Bringing moms out of the bathroom stalls and into the pumping rooms they deserve," began on Tuesday with a one-minute video encouraging women to share stories about the unsanitary places they’ve had to pump breast milk with the hashtag "#IPumpedHere."
Federal law requires employers to provide hygienic non-bathroom areas and adequate break times for salaried and hourly-paid workers to pump breast milk. However, a University of Minnesota study found that 60 percent of working mothers in the U.S. do not have these resources, so they end up pumping in storage closets or dirty public bathrooms. Influencers such as Chelsea Clinton and Julie Bowen ("Modern Family") have spoken out about the issue in the past.
Moms that are using the hashtag to share their horror stories include Denene Millner, author of "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man."
On the corner of 33rd and 10th, in the front seat of my car. #iPumpedHere because the bathroom at work wasn't an option. Because EWA.— Denene Millner (@MyBrownBaby) May 19, 2017
The video and social activity are meant to drive people to www.IPumpedHere.org where they can find information on pumping rights, a guide on standards to share with employers and a petition to sign for lawmakers urging them to expand protections for breastfeeding mothers.
"Pumping rights is an issue that’s often overlooked, even though inadequate conditions and break time are incredibly common problems that can really have a negative impact on working mothers," said Skyler Mattson, managing director at Wongdoody. "This issue impacts women from all walks of life, in all types of jobs, and employers and lawmakers alike must go farther in order to truly protect the needs of breastfeeding working moms."
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, CEO and executive director of MomsRising, said breastfeeding doesn’t only lead to healthier moms and babies, but healthier businesses. "Healthier families mean less employee absenteeism and higher productivity," she said.