Working mothers who are breastfeeding have better protections than ever, with a federal law that requires employers to provide women a private place to pump (other than a bathroom), and the time to do it.
The provisions have been in place for almost two years, and "the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour division is beginning to crack down on places of business that have not complied," according to the Huffington Post. The department has cited 23 companies, Huffington Post reports, including a McDonald's and Starbucks.
Everyone now recognizes that breastfeeding is best for babies and moms, with health benefits proven time and time again for both infant and parent.
One of the biggest hurdles for breastfeeding moms is feeling like it is OK for them to take the time and space needed to meet their breastfeeding infants' needs -- whether at work or while running errands.
I happened to be at the State Capitol the day that bill was being addressed in committee. The meeting room and the hallway outside was packed with mothers and their infants there to support the bill. It was a far larger -- and more dedicated crowd -- than the one there to hear about child care regulation and accountability (which is what I was in Madison for).
This isn't a challenge a law can fix.
Nascar driver Kasey Kahne caused an online firestorm in December with his anti-breastfeeding Tweet. He posted the Tweet, calling it "nasty" that he had seen a woman breastfeeding her infant in the grocery store.
People are working to change that.
Target stores were subject to nurse-ins recently, after a woman was bullied by employees to stop breastfeeding her child in the store. Several years ago, the Victoria's Secret at Racine's Regency Mall was the target of a nurse-in, after a woman was denied a fitting room so she could breastfeed her child.
In the 1970s and 80s, the show featured nursing mothers — including character Maria — who "would explain the concept to the Muppets and younger characters, for the audience's benefit," the HuffPost reported. Breastfeeding disappeared from the show in the 1990s, being replaced with bottle feeding.