New mothers want pumping room at work

    Breastfeeding mothers in Pennsylvania may soon have a state-mandated space to pump breast milk in the workplace.

    Breastfeeding mothers in Pennsylvania may soon have a state-mandated space to pump breast milk in the workplace. A bill in the state assembly would force employers to provide a clean, private room for pumping. A legislative committee will hold a hearing on the issue today at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090507sbfeeding.mp3]

    When Philadelphian Megan Thomas returned from maternity leave to her job as a paralegal, she found that her office was ill prepared to accommodate her need to pump breast milk.

    Thomas: I was basically told to use the bathroom, which is not sanitary. I don’t think they’d expect anyone to eat their lunch in a bathroom, let alone provide milk for my daughter in a very unsanitary environment.

    The firm did eventually provide a room for Thomas, but it was frequently used by employees on their lunch breaks. If passed, the legislation now moving through the General Assembly would make companies provide a space that new mothers could use whenever they needed it.

    Officials from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce say designating such a space should be voluntary, not mandatory.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.