Netflix's "Workin' Moms" lead character Kate Foster returns to work shortly after the birth of her baby and has nowhere to pump breast milk, so she retreats to the inconvenience of a public bathroom stall. Unfortunately, the scene portrayed isn't fiction for many nursing parents in the workforce.
Even though protections from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exist, there are gaps in access to workplace breastfeeding resources, according to a small 2020 study published in Workplace Health & Safety journal. Of the 52 survey respondents, the answers indicated the following:
- 36.5 percent reported their work schedule was too demanding to take breaks for breastfeeding.
- 28.8 percent did not have access to breastfeeding resources at work.
- 26.9 percent did not have access to a designated breastfeeding space or the designated space was dirty.
- 11.5 percent reported other challenges, such as difficulty finding breastfeeding information at the workplace, difficulty making arrangements at the workplace for breastfeeding, and difficulty feeling comfortable expressing breast milk while at work.
In the United States, there are workplace protections in place to support nursing parents, but unfortunately, there are holes in the law and many parents don't receive the support they need.