New Bill Would Give California Teen Moms Place in School to Pump & Breastfeed

It's hard to imagine taking care of a child while trying to navigate exams and SAT prep. Yet, that's what many teen mothers find themselves doing. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has led the charge for California public schools to have nursing and breastfeeding areas for students who are moms to use, which will hopefully make things a little easier.

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While teen pregnancy is on the decline in this country, overall, the U.S. has a high teenage pregnancy rate when compared to other nations. At some point, there needs to be a discussion and a game plan to help young mommies so they can juggle the demands of motherhood and their academics.

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"AB-302 Pupil Services: Lactation Accommodations" would provide public school student moms a private place to nurse and pump -- that goes beyond the girls' bathroom. If signed by the governor, this bill would help empower more teen moms to breastfeed, considering it can be more of a dream than a reality with limited breaks between classes, the lack of adequate storage for expressed milk (it's not something you would tote around in your lunchbox), and other common setbacks. Who knows, maybe more young mothers would think about nursing their children if they knew there were options available to do so.

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High school was a very surreal experience for me. In addition to the occasional Beverly Hills, 90210, situations (didn't we all have a Dylan McKay in our lives?), my school was one of few in the district to have an in-school program for teen moms. I could barely think about piecing together an outfit at that age, let alone having to care for a child. Two of my good friends got pregnant during high school (their dedication to finishing school was amazing). Thankfully, they were able to graduate with our class. Many people criticized our school for helping out teen parents (guys too), which made me ask myself, What the heck are these moms supposed to do? They can't exactly give back their child.

Hopefully bills like this will make it easier for teen mothers to care for their children, without fear of getting a bad grade in class should they want to dip out and pump or nurse.

 

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