Support Breastfeeding Legislation
In an effort to increase support for breastfeeding in the workplace, the Physicians Committee for Breastfeeding in Rhode Island (PCBRI), along with employees at the Rhode Island Department of Health, worked very hard to pass bills that protect working mothers who are breastfeeding and ensure they have the right to express milk at work. The bills were sponsored by Representative Joanne M. Giannini in the House, and Senator Rhoda E. Perry in the Senate. They were heard before the Health, Education and Welfare Committee on the House side, and the Health and Human Services Committee on the Senate side. The bills passed in both the House and the Senate in June of 2003, and Governor Carceiri signed them into law on June 27, 2003. The resulting law provides Rhode Island women with the right to express milk in the workplace for their babies.
It is an unfortunate fact that many mothers stop breastfeeding upon their return to work. This frequently occurs because employees, like their employers, do not always understand how easy it is to accommodate a nursing mother. Working together, employers and their employees can identify a sanitary and private place for mothers to pump milk for their babies. They can also determine a schedule that gives mothers the time they need during the workday to pump often enough to maintain their milk supply. These important accommodations enable the employee to continue breastfeeding, and everyone benefits as a result.
Please visit the website of the State of RI General Assembly to review the text of this law.
If you need help obtaining support in your workplace or have a violation to report, please contact Emily Eisenstein, MPH. She is the Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Health and can be reached at the address or number listed below:
3 Capitol Hill, Room 302
Providence, RI 02908
Phone (401) 222-4605
Fax (401) 222-1442
To view the law protecting a Mother’s right to breastfeed in public in Rhode Island, please visit this webpage, and see section E.