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The Breastfeeding Promotion Act

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, May 18, 2007

On the heels of a rally featuring more than 100 moms and their families, the call is out to gather additional support for Rep. Maloney's Breastfeeding Promotion Act.

Here's the information:

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, H.R. 2236, was reintroduced in the House of Representatives on May 10th with Reps. Maloney(NY), Shays(CT) and Elison(freshman from MN) attending the press conference. Now it needs two things to move it along.

*1)It needs /_more cosponsors_/! At present only 28 representatives have cosigned. Bills generate more interest and get hearings faster when they have many, many cosponsors. If your representative is not a cosponsor, you need to ask him or her to do so. Gather up a bunch of your fellow mothers in your district and have them all call and write to the representative and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor. I went to my representative's office and got into an interesting dialogue with two of
his aides about why he has not signed on and asked them to bring it to his attention. Here is a link to the list of current cosponsors:*

If your representative is not a cosponsor, then go to the House of Representatives website and find out who your rep is with the Find your Rep link and get his or her contact phone number and email. Send them an email from his or her webpage telling them this is important to you. Ask your rep to cosponsor ASAP. Get your friends and neighbors to do so as well. Call back a couple weeks later and ask them if they have done so. If they have not write and mail and actual letter to your rep. Tell him or her exactly why the BPA is important. Here are some talking points you can adapt for your communications:

  • Women are quitting breastfeeding far earlier than the Surgeon General and all medical authorities say is best for babies.

  • There are no federal workplace protections for breastfeeding mothers in American and patchwork state laws are not proving strong enough.

  • Women are being told they can't pump, are not being given breaks to do so, are having to pump in bathrooms, are getting charged extra fees for breastmilk at some daycare chains all around the country, are getting fired for trying to be both good mothers and good workers.

  • Having a civil right to breastfeed in the law will reach and teach American workers where they spend most of their days and more quickly create a
    breastfeeding friendly culture that will help meet the Surgeon General's Healthy People 2010 goals for improving breastfeeding rates.

  • There is no downside to improving the health of babies and mothers!

  • Creating support for long term breastfeeding will eventually lower healthcare costs for infants and children across the board.

If your representative is a cosponsor send an email to thank them and ask them to talk and encourage their colleagues to sign on as well.

*2) Rep. Lynn Woolsey is now the chairperson of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections that must have a hearing on the bill before it can be voted out of the committee and have a chance for a full vote of the House. She is a cosponsor and favorable to the bill, but we need you all to send her emails, call and fax/write letters asking her to hold a hearing on the bill sooner than later! We especially need her to hear from a lot of her constituents in the Marin and Sonoma California areas to get in touch with her. Use the above talking points along with the fact that we have waited seven years to pass the Breastfeeding Promotion Act and in that time millions of mothers have not had adequate legislative support, which would make the choice to breastfeed/pump simple and easy to do. Ask her/her aides to tell us when we will get the hearing we need. Do this before the end of May. Make it a priority
to make these contacts with her and with your own representative. Often the Representatives webpage won't allow those who do not live in the zip codes in her district send an email. If are not one of her constituents you can use the following contact info to call, fax or mail a letter.

Washington DC Office:
2263 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
Ph.: 202-225-5161
Fax: 202-225-5163

We have a really strong chance at passage with this 110th Congress if we can make a strong showing by communicating to all the representatives that we want this bill to be heard and voted upon this year. Half the country are women and most are mothers. Surely we can muster enough of our communities so that every one of the 535 representatives can hear from more than one constituent on behalf of this bill, HR 2122 The Breastfeeding Promotion Act.


  1. Blogger Melissa | 9:34 AM |  

    This is the first time I have ever emailed my representative. I like it! I think I might do it again!

  2. Anonymous Rachel | 10:40 AM |  

    Thanks for the info. Sent off an email to my Rep Congressman McDermott in WA's 7th District!

  3. Blogger Jenn | 11:05 AM |  

    Just an FYI - the link for finding your representataive is broken. Thanks for the info - I'm off the write my representative!

  4. Blogger stephanie | 5:04 PM |  

    I sent in our comments from both my husband and me. Here's what I wrote :

    The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, HR 2122, was introduced on May 10. We encourage you to sign on as a cosponsor. As a long-time champion of women's and children's health, we know that you understand the importance of healthy practices and the implications that nutrition in early infancy can have on a child's long-term well-being.

    Formula feeding has tremendous risks, yet our culture and workplace environments do not support women who want to breastfeed and work. As the full-time working parents of an 18month old son, we are very aware of the tremendous hurdles that working mothers face as they try to follow provide the best possible nutrition for their children.

    Increasing the breastfeeding rates in our state and country will have tremendous positive implications on our healthcare system by reducing childhood illnesses and creating healthier adults.

    Please support HR 2122.

  5. Blogger Sarahbear | 6:57 PM |  

    My representative doesn't have an e-mail address published. I only see his bio and fact sheet.=/

    Is there anyone else I can write about it or is it only relevant if you live in the area your representative is over?

  6. Anonymous A.M.S. | 10:08 AM |  

    If you go to http://thomas.loc.gov and check H.R. 2122, it is the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act. I read through the bill and there isn't anything about breastfeeding promotion in it, unfortunately. It's a VERY good bill and should be supported, but I don't think it's the one you meant to announce here. H.R. 2236, however, IS the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2007. (Sorry, I spend my entire work day looking up legislation on both the state and federal level...it's second nature for me to go to read the bill before writing to my state reps!)

  7. Blogger The Lactivist | 10:24 AM |  

    Wow, that's not good. I basically cut and pasted the announcement that went out nationally. I wonder if they simply resent the one from when it was introduced the last time and forgot to change the number.

    I'll edit my post to reflect the new info. Thanks so much for the catch!

  8. Blogger AH | 2:47 PM |  

    I've posted links to this post on almost every bfing board and list that I'm a member of--thanks!!!!

  9. Blogger Ethel | 3:10 PM |  


    This worked for me.

  10. Blogger Margaret | 6:21 PM |  

    Thanks!! I sent an email off to my congressman. I requested a response so I'm curious to see what I receive in return.

  11. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:52 PM |  

    Thanks for spreading the word on this! Why not credit Mothering Magazine for writing most of what you have in italics?

  12. Blogger The Lactivist | 5:55 PM |  

    Because I didn't get it from Mothering Magazine.

    I got it from the press release that was issued about the event. I would assume Mothering Magazine got it the same place I did.

    If I'm wrong and they are the original authors, I'll happily credit them.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous | 11:13 AM |  

    To all Moms:

    My name is Vanessa Hernandez, and as Congresswoman Lois Capps’ District Representative, I feel compelled to share with you that, yes you do have someone in Congress who truly cares about our children. The wellbeing of our children is a top priority for the Congresswoman and she works tirelessly on issues such as childhood obesity, education, and healthcare. She is also a co-sponsor of the “Breastfeeding Promotion Act” H.R. 2236 because as a nurse, mother and grandmother, she knows first hand the benefits of breastfeeding.

    On a personal note, I am a mother of two (6 months and 2years) and the Congresswoman has been extremely supportive of me breastfeeding both of my boys. I have an office where I am able to pump, along with a refrigerator to store my milk, and I have even been able to take advantage of the Congresswoman’s nursing knowledge and ask her questions about breastfeeding. It breaks my heart to know that some women must choose between their work and breastfeeding their children. I have been blessed to work for a woman and with colleagues who are very accommodating and supportive of my needs as a mother and the needs of my children.

    Vanessa Hernandez
    District Representative for Congresswoman Lois Capps

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