Due to significant health benefits for the mother and child, the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend six months of exclusive breastfeeding for all infants. Congress needs to do all it can to support working mothers when they decide to breastfeed.

A study found that the U.S. could save $13 billion per year in unnecessary medical expenses if 90 percent of new mothers nursed their children exclusively for six months. Diseases that would be significantly reduced include: sudden infant death syndrome, gastro intestinal disease related to low birth weight, ear infections, respiratory tract infections, leukemia, and childhood obesity. The study also found that 911 infant deaths per year could be prevented as a result. Returning to an unsupportive work environment has been identified as a major reason for the avoidance or early abandonment of breastfeeding. Workplace support can bridge this gap and help more women balance working and breastfeeding.

Congresswoman Maloney began working on this issue in 1998, when she introduced a comprehensive bill promoting breastfeeding and protecting women who choose to breastfeed. One of the provisions of that bill, which allowed states to spend more money on breastfeeding promotion and support through the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, was enacted into law. In 1999, the right to breastfeed amendment was passed as part of the FY appropriations measures, ensuring a woman's right to breastfeed her child on any portion of Federal property where the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be.

Working mothers’ opportunities to breastfeed were further expanded on March 23, 2010, when President Obama signed parts of Congresswoman Maloney’s Breastfeeding Promotion bill into law as part of the Affordable Care Act.  These provisions ensure that employers provide nursing mothers in traditional hourly labor jobs with adequate space and time to pump breast milk during the workday.

The provisions in the Affordable Care Act went a long way to providing working mothers with the opportunity to breastfeed at work, but they still left millions of white collar offices exempt from providing this vital opportunity to their employees. That is why Congresswoman Maloney introduced the Supporting Working Mom’s Act. This bill would require all workplaces, no matter the type of workers, to provide working mothers with the support they need to continue breastfeeding when they return to work.

Many women have been fired or discriminated against for expressing milk during the day in order to keep breastfeeding after returning to work. Some have been harassed on the job, or have had their pay docked because they used their regular breaks or lunchtime to pump milk.  These women deserve to have a means of legal recourse to fight this discrimination and continue their right to breastfeed.

More on Breastfeeding

Jan 31, 2021 In The News

Rep. Maloney stands on the steps inside a subway station with the word "excelsior" behind her.

Career politicians all around have been sent packing but Carolyn Maloney says she isn't going anywhere. | Guerin Blask

Feb 14, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today announced that founding co-chairs of the Congressional Maternity Care Caucus Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and founding co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus Alma Adams (D-NC) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL) have signed on as co-leads of H.R. 5592, the PUMP (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections) for Nursing Mothers Act.

Jan 18, 2020 Newsletter

Dear Friend,


This has been an historic week – with the House sending the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate voting to become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. On Monday, the House passed my bill to prevent corporate executives from taking advantage of a loophole that currently allows them to trade on information before it’s made public and I introduced a bill to ensure a greater number of employees are entitled to accommodations in the workplace to pump breastmilk.


Jan 13, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today introduced the PUMP (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections) for Nursing Mothers Act. This bill will close unintentional gaps in the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act to ensure that millions of working mothers have the access and protections they need to breastfeed should they choose to do so.

Jul 9, 2018 Press Release

NEW YORK—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and New York City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-36) joined mothers and breastfeeding advocates to decry the Trump Administration’s recent attempts to block a United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly resolution endorsing breastfeeding and call on countries to limit inaccurate or misleading marketing of substitutes.

Jul 9, 2018 In The News

President Trump on Monday called a report that the U.S. tried to scuttle a pro-breastfeeding World Health Assembly resolution fake news — even as he defended the position against the resolution.

Jul 7, 2017 Press Release

To view a video of today’s press conference click here


Aug 5, 2016 Press Release

NEW YORK – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined mothers from across New York City for the New York Breastfeeding Caravan to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and raise awareness for mothers’ rights to breastfeed.

Sep 18, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) commended U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez for extending overtime protections to 4.8 million workers and in doing so, extending workplace protections to over 1 million breastfeeding women. In their letter to the Secretary, Merkley and Maloney also called on the Labor Department to explicitly outline breastfeeding rights when finalizing the overtime rule so that employers and working mothers are aware of their new rights and responsibilities.

Aug 7, 2015 Press Release

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today joined breastfeeding advocates, mothers, and the NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council for their annual Subway Caravan at New York City Hall. The Council presented Maloney with the Breastfeeding Champion 2015 award for her work on breastfeeding rights for mothers.