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D.C. And Maryland Team Up To Support Breastfeeding

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By Cathy Carter

The health care reform package includes a provision requiring workplace support of breastfeeding. D.C. and Maryland have been selected to lead that initiative.

Public breastfeeding is legal nationwide but not everyone is aware of that law. A Maryland woman recently held a nurse-in at a shopping mall in Frederick after she was asked to cover up or move to a nursing room. Breastfeeding advocates say that kind of thinking is outdated.

"In 2010 to still have to have nurse-ins in the United States, one of the richest countries in the world is just mind boggling," says Doctor Sahira Long, president of the D.C. Breastfeeding Coalition.

That organization along with a similar Maryland advocacy group have been awarded a grant by the Department of Health and Human Services. They'll educate businesses on how they can support breastfeeding mothers when they return to work.

"The more businesses know the benefit to themselves and not just you know, you have to do this, then hopefully, in that culture you'll see a shift," says Long.

The initiative will provide employers with instructions on implementing federal guidelines including providing lactation support space in the workplace.

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