RICHMOND (WRIC) - Thousands of new moms could soon have an easier time breastfeeding when they head back to work.
A bill is now on its way to the governor's desk which would require all schools to have a designated area in their building for employees and students to pump milk for their child.
Meg Gruber, President of the Virginia Education Association says she heard story after story from teachers about the breast feeding issue.
"New mothers were coming back to work and needed to express their milk and didn't have anywhere that was clean and private to do it," she says.
Delegate Jennifer McClellan Then Drew Up A Bill To Require All Schools To Have A Private Lactation Room.
"Unfortunately I heard too many stories where the teachers weren't allowed to pump and one woman came to work at 7:30 in the morning. She was told she couldn't pump until 12:30 in the afternoon. When you are feeding a child or pumping every two hours and you have to go too long, its painful, it can cause infections and it can reduce your milk production."
"It was like it never crossed anyone's mind that maybe as a system we should have a policy about how to deal with this," Gruber says.
Not only will there be private rooms, but a nursing mother must be given breaks throughout the day to pump until her child is one year old.
"We want mothers that are comfortable both physically and emotionally when they return to the classroom to do the great jobs that they do so it's a win-win for everyone," McClellan says.
And the law covers not only teachers, but teen mothers as well.
"As we were going through, we realized it's not just teachers. Unfortunately it's students too who are having babies and are being forced to choose between continuing to breast feed or not and we just want to make sure they had an environment to allow them to do that."
The Senate voted unanimously to pass the bill. Each school board would be in charge of coming up with plans in their schools for lactation rooms.
Fairfax County already has this policy in place, so they will be a model school system for others to follow.
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