(Atlanta, GA) – One of the greatest struggles for breastfeeding mothers is to have their accommodations met in order to comfortably feed their children in public places. Mommy blogger Sojourner Marable Grimmett of Fox 5 Atlanta’s MyAtlantaMoms.com and blog, Married with Two Boys launched a lactation room support campaign, Table for Two, to bring awareness to these challenges and provide help for breastfeeding mothers seeking to transition back into the workplace and community, particularly through the establishment of lactation rooms. The initiative’s first goal is to establish lactation rooms at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Women have lobbied for years to establish lactation rooms in their places of employment and public facilities. Only recently have states begun to pass laws that help ensure that mothers have a private place to nurse their children. On March 30, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, mandating that an employer with more than 50 workers provides a private room—not a restroom— so their female employees and customers can express breast milk for their children as needed. Today, there are more than 83 million mothers in the United States – roughly 61% of them work, and more women are returning to work immediately after maternity leave. While some women are able to transition smoothly back into the workplace, others need assistance with juggling work and newly-minted motherhood.
Unfortunately, many mothers stop breastfeeding prematurely due to the inconvenience and lack of privacy. The painful reality of allowing breast milk to “dry up” when women are not ready to stop nursing can cause tremendous grief, depression, and disappointment for mothers anxious to provide the most important nutrients to their newborn. Breastfeeding during the first 12 months of an infant’s life has been shown to provide tremendous health benefits for the child, even long-term. A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared that breastfeeding helps to prevent childhood obesity.
In Atlanta, the “world’s busiest airport” Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA) currently does not have designated lactation rooms for employees or customers. Mothers are asked to feed their children in the restroom or to call in advance to arrange a private room to pump or breastfeed. Breastfeeding in the bathroom is synonymous to having your child literally “eat” in the restroom. (Would you eat in the restroom?) Breastfeeding mothers deserve safe, secure, and comfortable places to pump and nurse. Table for Two’s first initiative is to bring lactation rooms to HJAIA. It’s time to establish designated and convenient lactation rooms at Atlanta’s airport, as well as companies, and organizations across the country. The campaign is a resource for anyone looking to build lactation rooms in their community and workplaces. For more information, please visit www.supporttablefortwo.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/supporttablefortwo.