Philly mulling extending breast milk work rules to more businesses

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 Pediatrician Dr. Esther K. Chung speaks at City Hall about the importance of breast feeding during a hearing on a bill that would require employers to provide a private place for breastfeeding mothers. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Pediatrician Dr. Esther K. Chung speaks at City Hall about the importance of breast feeding during a hearing on a bill that would require employers to provide a private place for breastfeeding mothers. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A bill in Philadelphia is designed to assure that lactating mothers will have a clean, secure space to pump breast milk at work. 

The bill enforces existing federal rules to give women space for pumping breast milk while on the job, and covers many workplaces exempt under federal law.

Rue Landau, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission, who will enforce the legislation if approved, said some women give up breast-feeding altogether because pumping at work is such a hassle. 

“Some would say that nursing mothers actually perform a valuable public service and should be supported and applauded,” she said. “Science has concluded compared with their formula only counterparts breast fed children suffer from fewer ailments such as ear infections diarrhea respiratory illness or other issues.”

Dr Esther Chung, a professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College, says women should not have to pump in the ladies’ room.

“No one would prepare a meal in the bathroom therefore women should not be expected to express milk in an unsanitary environment such as a bathroom,” Chung said.

The proposed city regulations would cover the public and private sectors, even businesses with just one employee.

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