National breastfeeding month and world breastfeeding week

August is National Breastfeeding Month, and the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), which is held every year from August 1-7. The theme for this year is “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal For Life!” This shows the importance of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

To help meet this goal, Arkansas has two breastfeeding laws supporting breastfeeding families. The newest law, in effect since July 1, 2009, requires employers to give reasonable unpaid break time and space to an employee who needs to express or pump breastmilk. The first Arkansas breastfeeding law was passed in April of 2007. This law allows a mom the right to breastfeed her child in any public place.

Act 621: 11-5-116. Break time for expressing breast milk. This law requires an employer to provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express or pump breast milk for her child in order to maintain milk supply and comfort. It also requires that employers make a reasonable effort to provide a private, secure, and clean room or other location near the work area, other than a toilet stall for an employee to express or pump her milk.

Act 680: 20-27-2001. Breastfeeding in public. A woman may breastfeed a child in a public place or any place where other people are present. The 2007 law also changed the Arkansas indecency law (Code 5-14-112) to provide protection from prosecution for indecent exposure.

For more information, please visit: www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/WIC There are also federal laws that protect the rights of breastfeeding moms.


Federal Law: Break Time for Nursing Mothers. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) makes employers give break time and space for a nonexempt nursing mother to express or pump breastmilk for her nursing child for one year after her child’s birth. Note: While paid breaks are not required, if an employer already provides paid breaks to employees, they must pay when those breaks are used to pump.

For more details, please visit: www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers or www.dol.gov/whd/FLSAEmployeeCard/BreaktimeNursingMothers

The Arkansas Department of Health recommends calling the Arkansas WIC Breastfeeding Helpline at 1-800-445-6175 for a Fact Sheet on the laws, or visiting your local health unit for more information.
Hola Arkansas Staff

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