March 22, 2018
The Honorable Richard Pan
Chair, Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee
Legislative Office Building, 1020 N Street, Room 545
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 937 (Wiener): Lactation accommodation
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Pan,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, supports SB 937 (Wiener), which would require a lactation room or location to include prescribed features and would require an employer to provide access to a sink and refrigerator in close proximity to the employee’s work space. The bill would also require an employer to develop and implement a policy regarding lactation accommodation and make it available to employees.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant. Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for both mother and baby. Studies have shown that breastfeeding has a positive impact on a child’s cognitive development, reduces a child’s risk of developing chronic diseases in the future, and reduces a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Despite expert recommendations, the percentage of American women that exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months remains low, with only 24 percent of children born in 2014 falling into this category. According to the Centers for Disease Control, women who work outside of the home are less likely to initiate breastfeeding and tend to breastfeed for a shorter length of time than women who are not employed outside of the home. Women frequently cite an unsupportive work environment as a reason for discontinuing breastfeeding.
SB 937 (Wiener) would require employees to provide access to a sink and refrigerator along with other prescribed features in close proximity to a lactating employee’s workspace, making the workplace supportive for working mothers and reducing barriers that prevents women from continuing to breastfeed upon returning to work.
Pediatricians across the state urge you to vote AYE on SB 937 (Wiener). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Suzanne Higgins Stewart, MD
Resident Representative Member, AAP-CA State Government Affairs Committee
American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee Members
Office of Honorable Scott Wiener, California State Senate (Author)
AAP-CA CEO Kris Calvin; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne