The author argues that the benefits of breastfeeding are overwhelming and that more needs to be done to ensure that all women have a viable option to continue breastfeeding upon returning to work, particularly the working poor and minorities. Those least likely to breastfeed are more likely to be part of an at risk population in terms of health. Most significantly, the lack of a cohesive policy in the workplace has had a disparate impact on the most vulnerable populations of breastfeeding mothers and their children. The lack of federal protection and a patchwork of protection in the states have contributed to our failure to achieve breastfeeding goals set in the 1990's. Federal laws and decisions are reviewed. The author has undertaken a comprehensive review of the state statutes to demonstrate the disparities in protection. The review also serves as a guide for potential federal legislation. Federal legislation must provide a floor beneath which no mother may fall. The author proposes what components are crucial in enacting such legislation and examines a bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives.
Heather M. Kolinsky, Respecting Working Mothers with Infant Children: The Need for Increased Federal Intervention to Develop, Protect, and Support a Breastfeeding Culture in the United States, 17 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol'y 333 (2010)