After being tabled twice, the idea of breastfeeding and pumping areas in Dougherty county schools in Georgia was finally addressed when a teacher asked if her baby could be brought to her during her breaks so she could breastfeed. The goal by many was also to allow breastfeeding by teen mothers that were students, and also nursing employees during non-educational hours (breaks and lunch, for example). The push was also to adhere to state laws to require non-bathroom pumping facilities available to employees.
However, the ruling did not go in favor of nursing moms and their babies at all. In fact, quite the opposite, as the district now banned breastfeeding on the premises.
Sadly, Georgia's state law does not require employers to provide any time or space for pumping moms, putting their law light-years behind other states. So "at least" the Superintendent's statement of "They can pump it and take it home" is above what is required.
Georgia state law ALSO says that anywhere a woman is allowed to be with her baby, she's allowed to breastfeed. While some private businesses and homes are exempt, public and government buildings like a public school aren't, which makes me wonder how this new "rule" is even legal -- are they saying that babies can't be brought to mothers during breaks at all?
Also, what in the world do they hope to accomplish by banning their insanely high population of teen moms (eighth highest in the country) from being able to breastfeed? Especially in a state with a disturbingly low rate of only 9.7 percent of babies still being exclusively breastfed at 6 months old, you'd think they'd take some of the advice of the health care workers and WIC program into consideration.
This shows a distinct lack of understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding, respect for the laws intended to protect breastfeeding, and even respect for the teen moms that are trying to successfully breastfeed. Way to completely ignore all medical and logical benefits. The arguments of saving taxpayer dollars? Not so sound when those moms have to turn around and get formula through WIC because their breastfeeding supply suffered from pumping, when some could have been just nursing their baby during breaks.
I really hope they reverse this stupid decision soon and instead commend the employees and teens who want to breastfeed.
What do you think of their ruling?
Image via C. G. P. Grey/Flickr