Resolution encourages businesses to provide place for breastfeeding for employees

Posted at 8:30 PM, Feb 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-28 12:32:28-05

A Utah lawmaker is encouraging businesses to provide a private place for mothers to pump milk, a resolution that made allies of groups used to being on opposite sides of cultural debates.

Under current law, breastfeeding in public is allowed, but for new mothers returning to work, it can be difficult. Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, has sponsored House Joint Resolution 4, which encourages employers to have a spot for nursing mothers.

"All of our utah residents would want people to understand faciliating breastfeeding or mothers that breast feed," said Seelig. "What the resolution does is it encourages employers to provide a place in their workspace where women can go and express milk, in a way that's private and clean and that allows them dignity."

Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Eagle Forum, backs Seelig's resolution.

"This is just to say to businesses, 'If you possibly can, we can encourage you to create a place for women to take care of their babies, to breastfeed their babies,'" Ruzicka said.

The measure is a resolution rather than a law, meaning it can't be enforced, but La Leche League of Utah, a non-profit organization that promotes breastfeeding, is encouraged by the conversation.

"We recognize that providing a mandate for small businesses can be difficult, so we are happy to see a resolution, encouraging this," said Christy Porucznik with La Leche League of Utah.

Seelig says that her resolution is also about making an awkward conversation between a boss and employee a little more comfortable.