Advocacy in Action
Our goal is to help ALL families in Pennsylvania succeed in breastfeeding!
We still have much work to do.
PABC is a member of the US Breastfeeding Committee and our members are active in local and state legislative efforts. While we are not legislative experts, we are passionate about raising our voices to help families meet their breastfeeding goals and help positively impact individual and community health in our state. If you are interested in advocacy, click here to read a great piece from the Center for Legislative Strengthening titled "Learning the Game."
PABC members visit the Pennsylvania Capital in Harrisburg annually to talk to our legislators about the importance of breastfeeding and policies or legislation that helps families succeed at breastfeeding. Come along and help us to support breastfeeding as the cultural norm. Help us remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies by personally informing your legislator about important upcoming bills.
State Advocacy Information
Federal Advocacy Information
“Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility" follows the Sustainable Development Goals of the worlds' leaders who are committed to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity . . .
Pennsylvania’s Freedom to Breastfeed Act — July 8, 2007 , P.L. 90, No.28, Cl.35
"The Freedom to Breastfeed Act permits a mother to nurse her child in public; and provides that breastfeeding may not be considered a nuisance, indecent exposure, sexual conduct or obscenity."
Ready to speak up?
“Protect Sick Babies” INITIATIVE SB500 — Medically fragile babies in PA need your help!
This new legislative proposal is sponsored by Senators Brooks and Schwank. The legislation will provide Medicaid overage for medically prescribed pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) given to medically at-risk infants who do not have access to their own parent’s milk. It does not mandate private insurance coverage. The bill will enable vulnerable inpatient and outpatient infants to have access to PDHM, and evidence-based and cost-efficient resource that improves health outcomes for infants whose own mothers cannot provide human milk for the baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization/United Nations Childrens Fund, the American Dietetic Association, and others support the use of PDHM. These recommendations reflect an abundance of medical evidence showing PDHM use produces:
Lower infant mortality rates
Fewer serious complications in the NICU
Shorter hospital stays
Higher rates of exclusive maternal breastfeeding at discharge from the NICU; and
Lower short-term and long-term health care costs.
To help get this life-saving legislation across the finish line, we are again your help by contacting your legislators in PA. Use this link to Urge your state senator to support Senate Bill 500.
Pregnant Lactating and Parenting Pupils Protection HB1807
Memorandum, "Currently, beyond the everyday stressors our students experience, lactating students also face difficulties in attending class regularly due to having to express breast milk. Additionally, pregnant, lactating or parenting students will often face penalties for having “unexcused” absences that are, in reality, related to pregnancy, lactation, marriage and parenting. In Pennsylvania, we do not have any law that provides these students with protections that allow them to finish their studies, which will enable them to earn a diploma and attain family-sustaining employment.
This legislation is to provide pregnant and lactating students with reasonable accommodations to express breast milk or breastfeed their children without a penalty for missing class. Additionally, this legislation will include a list of protections for married, pregnant, lactating and parenting students in order to encourage them to continue their studies. The Philadelphia School District already has such a policy in place, as they recognize that young parents who leave school early face greater hardship and poverty than young people who complete their education."
Cannabis Regulatory Control Act (Adult Use-Cannabis) HB2050
Bill Text page 357 lines 10- 18 "To develop and implement a Statewide public health campaign focused on the health effects of cannabis and legal use, including an ongoing education and prevention campaign that educates the general public, including parents, consumers and retailers, on the legal use of cannabis, the importance of preventing youth access, the importance of safe storage, preventing secondhand cannabis smoke exposure, information for pregnant or breastfeeding women and the overconsumption of edible cannabis products."
Bipartisan Approach to Adult Use Marijuana Legalization in PA SB473
Bill text page 190 Lines 12-19 "(4) A warning stating: "This product is for medicinal use only. Women should not consume during pregnancy or while breastfeeding except on the advice of the practitioner who issued the certification and, in the case of breastfeeding, the infant's pediatrician. This product might impair the ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. Keep out of reach of children."
Bill text page 124 Lines 4-9 "(g) Product warning.--All cannabis, cannabis-infused products and cannabis concentrates must contain a warning on its label stating: "Cannabis consumption may impair the ability to drive or operate heavy machinery, is for adult use only and should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Keep out of reach of children."
Senate Resolution Dedicating May 6th as Fourth Trimester Awareness Day SR74
Memorandum "The United States has one of the worst records for maternal health in the industrialized world. Both societal norms and our medical system concentrate almost solely on the health, safety, and care of the fetus and infant, while the care for the mother during the postnatal period has little to no support.
During pregnancy, a mother may have a dozen or more OB-GYN visits right up until days to giving birth. Once a baby is born, their first pediatric visit usually occurs within a few days. For the mother however, there is generally only one visit four to six weeks after delivery. In many cases, insurance does not cover more than this one visit.
The first three months of the postnatal period can be a time of particular vulnerability for new mothers with physical and mental health risks. This period should be recognized as the Fourth Trimester during which the care afforded the mother should be on par with the care she receives prior to childbirth.
The purpose of this resolution is to bring attention to the need for Fourth Trimester care and raise awareness of the attendant benefits for both mothers and infants by designating May 26th as the Fourth Trimester Care Day. As legislators we need to commit ourselves to supporting families at all stages by elevating and addressing the health and wellness of new mothers."
Ensuring Fully Staffed Polling Places HB1916
Page 2 lines 22-23 "(4) A qualified registered elector may not be excluded from service as a clerk of election except the following:" Page 3 line "10) A woman who is breastfeeding and requests to be excused."
Bill text page 1 lines 17-22 "Section 204. Exclusions from Tax. --The tax imposed by section 202 shall not be imposed upon any of the following: (74) The sale at retail or use of tangible personal property manufactured for the purpose of initiating, supporting or sustaining breastfeeding."
Find your Representatives:
State Advocacy Information
Federal Advocacy Information
The Pennsylvania Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition and Pennsylvania Department of Health have received a Sustaining Innovations in Breastfeeding Support grant from the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials. This grant will enable the organizations to align efforts and build on the strategic initiatives of the PABC Equity Workgroup by educating policy makers about chest/breastfeeding barriers and providing them with proactive solutions to increase breastfeeding equity among Black and Hispanic mothers. The goals of this project are to create a Community Lactation Support Network and educate policy makers about Medicaid Reimbursement for Lactation Support. PA AAP and PABC will be reaching out to community partners to compile culturally congruent lactation support resources across the state.
Public Health Policies
Healthy People 2030-Maternal, Infant and Child Health recommends increasing the “proportion of infants who are breastfed exclusively through 6 months old and continue breastfeeding with solids to one year (Objectives are MICH -5 and 16).
The Institute of Medicine’s Consensus Report Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps recommended third party coverage of, “Comprehensive lactation support and counseling and costs of renting breastfeeding equipment.”
The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President recommended that hospitals, health care providers and insurance companies should educate new mothers about breastfeeding and provide support for breastfeeding.
US Department of Health & Human Services National Prevention Strategy recommends support policies and programs in order to increase the initiation and duration of breastfeeding including workplace breastfeeding support and access to lactation services.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes the Breastfeeding Report Card to provide state-by-state data so that health professionals, legislators, employers, business owners, community advocates and family members can work together to identify states’ needs, develop solutions, and work together within their community to better protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. This report includes data from the Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care Survey which assesses lactation support services in maternal/childcare facilities.
The US Department of Agriculture WIC food packages revisions to provide greater incentives for continued breastfeeding.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Section 2713 “Coverage of Preventive Health Services” recommendations for breastfeeding include: pre and postnatal breastfeeding education, formal breastfeeding evaluations undertaken by trained caregivers in the hospital and out-patient care settings, followed by interventions to correct problems as needed.
The Internal Revenue Service ruled that breast pumps and other nursing supplies could qualify for tax breaks.
The Joint Commission made changes to breast milk feeding performance measures PC-05a and PC-05 effective October 2015. Click to learn more about these performance measures.
The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality is leading a nationwide effort to help hospitals become Baby Friendly.
United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations have been adopted by Bright Futures, an initiative of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Bright Futures recommendations are supported and coordinated by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
AAP Breastfeeding Policy Statement on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk states that “Breastfeeding and human milk are the normative standards for infant feeding and nutrition.”
Disaster Planning Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies Breastfeeding in Emergencies Protecting promoting and supporting breastfeeding is a key intervention to protect infant and young child health, development and survival in emergencies.
Breastfeeding Employer Awards
BREASTFEEDING FRIENDLY EMPLOYER CERTIFICATE PROGRAM
The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition wants to recognize breastfeeding-friendly employers that support their employees by providing and maintaining high-quality lactation support programs and appropriate onsite environments.
FOR BUSINESSES SERVING PATRONS & CUSTOMERS:
Welcoming Environment — A breastfeeding mother should be treated the same as any other patron by the staff and management.
Trained Staff — The business trains staff to support breastfeeding customers and promotes an accepting environment among all patrons.
Time — Breastfeeding mothers are given adequate time to express milk or nurse their babies. This may be in the form of breaks, flexible work hours, or part-time work.
Space — The workplace provides an accessible, safe, clean, private space to express milk or nurse. This may range from a designated “mother’s lounge” to a privacy screen at a cubicle.
Support — All employees are informed about the ways the business accommodates employees who are breastfeeding. The breastfeeding support program is described in writing; this may be in the new employee orientation, a benefits summary, guidelines to prevent discrimination and harassment, a company wellness program, or a separate breastfeeding support policy. Supervisors and co-workers are updated on breastfeeding support when an employee returns from maternity leave.
Flexibility — The workplace is flexible in accommodating each breastfeeding mother’s unique situation.
Breastfeeding Employer Awards Recipients
The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition wants to recognize breastfeeding-friendly employers that support their employees by providing and maintaining high-quality lactation support programs and appropriate on-site environments. Apply here.
History: The PABC Worksite Breastfeeding Award was created as part of a grant-funded project begun in 2009 for the Business Case for Breastfeeding. Four regions were represented in the project coordinated by PABC (Jeanne Spencer), Maternity Care Coalition (Esther Chung), Nursing Mothers Counselors (Kathie Wagner), Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh (Judy Gutowski), and Luzerne County Breastfeeding Coalition (Jill Martin). The Business Case Train the Trainer program was in Philadelphia for 52 people, two other trainings were held for PA-MILC with 12 attendees and Western PA Lactation Consultant Association for 37 others.
EMPLOYER AWARD RECIPIENTS
PA Department of Health Lycoming County State Health Center
The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition recognized PA Department of Health Lycoming County State Health Center at its meeting on April 21, 2023.
Hampden Medical Center- Penn State Health
The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition recently recognized Hampden Medical Center for establishing its Lactation Support Program.
Hampden Medical Center’s program supports breastfeeding/chest-feeding and an environment of wellness for staff and students as they transition back to work or studies after giving birth. The new facility hosts five mother’s lounges that provide breastfeeding people, including visitors, with a private space to express milk.
In addition, the Human Resources Department promotes the Lactation Support Policy during new employee orientation and provides flexibility for work arrangements and direct breastfeeding when possible.
“Returning to work after maternity leave can be difficult,” said Jessica Harter, a nurse in Inpatient Women’s Health. “I am grateful to work in a hospital that offers resources to help me continue providing the best nutrition to my baby.”
When onboarding new employees, leaders use the Lactation Support Accommodation Request Form to encourage early conversations with supervisors about space to pump, break time and milk storage. This process alleviates employees’ concerns so they can plan ahead and choose human milk feeding prior to the birth of their child.
“We were intentional in extending lactation support services beyond our Women and Babies Center to employees and visitors,” said Kathryn Lally, lactation program manager for Hampden Medical Center. “Our goal is to create a culture that promotes family and well-being and gives people the resources for important work-life balance.”
The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition works to protect, promote and support breastfeeding as the cultural norm for infant feeding in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition (PABC) proudly recognizes Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for establishing an exceptional Lactation Support Program. After review of its policy and employee resources, the PABC Award Committee presented a Breastfeeding Friendly Employer certificate to CMU on October 28, 2020. CMU is a leader in Pennsylvania, joining a growing number of businesses, schools and universities providing employee lactation support.
At the award presentation, held during a PABC virtual meeting, Co-Chairs of CMU’s Family Care Advisory Committee, Michelle Piekutowski (Associate VP and CHRO) and Mary Jo Dively (VP and General Counsel) discussed the family friendly philosophy at CMU and the development of the program to support breastfeeding families. The lactation program was supported by university leadership including President Farnam Jahanian and Provost James Garrett, who have been instrumental in promoting family friendly campus initiatives. Additional CMU partners in this project and honorees included: Shabaki Lambert, Assistant VP of HR, Strategic Initiatives; Jack Kennedy, Assistant VP, Benefits and Compensation; and La Dawn Robinson, Manager, Equal Opportunity Services.
The Office of Human Resources not only manages the Lactation Support Policy, but also coordinates the use of the 11 dedicated lactation rooms available at CMU. The university website provides an interactive map to conveniently locate rooms and an electronic request form to access the lactation spaces.
Employees and students choosing to breastfeed can more easily transition back to work or studies at CMU after the birth of a child. The provisions of flexible time and private space for milk expression allow breastfeeding students, faculty, staff and guests to successfully merge their priorities of family, work and education in a supportive setting. Employees are encouraged to communicate with supervisors before delivery to develop mutually agreeable arrangements.
Research proves that human milk is the optimal first food for children because of its immediate and lifelong health advantages. Breastfeeding also benefits the health of mothers by improving pregnancy recovery and by lowering rates of breast and ovarian cancers, cardiac disease and type 2 diabetes. This Lactation Support Program reduces barriers for families choosing to breastfeed and supports the health of breastfeeding individuals and the health of future generations.
CMU’s investment in employees as partners not only provides lactation support, but also includes a Care@Work program for additional resources, such as child care, elder care, pet care and household help.
Businesses, schools and organizations can review the award criteria and submit applications for a Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award at pabreastfeeding.org.
University of Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition (PABC) proudly recognized The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) for establishing and maintaining an exceptional lactation support program. After a thorough review of their policy and employee resources, Alison Keating and Lisa McCloskey, PABC Award Committee Co-Chairs and Leslie Cree, PABC Chair, awarded a Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer Certificate to Penn late last year. Penn is a leader in Pennsylvania, joining a growing number of businesses, schools, and universities providing comprehensive employee lactation support.
At the award presentation, held virtually on November 13, 2020 during the Lactation Resource Group meeting, Jennifer Brady, manager of Employee Health and Wellness, highlighted the 60 lactation spaces offered throughout the Penn campus and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and announced that thirty additional spaces were part of the construction of a new hospital tower. Dr. Diane Spatz, professor with the School of Nursing, spoke about the origins of the program, remembering that the Nursing Education Building, now the Claire M Fagin School of Nursing was the first building on campus to create a lactation space on campus. Dr. Spatz finished her PhD at Penn Nursing in 1995 and had her first National Institutes of Health research study funded on human milk and breastfeeding so it was important that breastfeeding be prioritized in the School of Nursing. This led to the creation of a whole semester course on human lactation and the establishment of the first lactation space on campus which included a Medela Lactina pump (state of the art at the time).
The program has grown to include a comprehensive, inclusive language policy supportive of lactation for all members of the Penn Community (faculty, staff, students, and visitors), an interactive map of spaces and facilities throughout Penn’s campus, twice per year lactation discussion groups hosted by Dr. Spatz, and virtually all lactation rooms being equipped with state of the art computer chip multi-user hospital grade Symphony breast pumps. The Penn Women’s Center provides pump kits at no charge to the Penn Community.
The Human Resources Department implements this policy, manages the lactation rooms and promotes the flexible use of space, reducing barriers to breastfeeding success. Employees are encouraged to reach out to Karen Kille, Senior Work life Consultant, in order to identify a lactation space, or help arrange a space in their area.
Employees and students choosing to breastfeed can more easily transition back to work or studies at Penn after the birth of a child. The provisions of flexible time and private space for milk expression, allows breastfeeding students, faculty, staff, and guests to merge their priorities of family, work, and education in a supportive setting.
Businesses, schools, and organizations can review the award criteria and submit applications for a Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award at pabreastfeeding.org.