I took advantage of California Paid Family Leave after my baby was born. During that 12 weeks, I bonded with my baby by breastfeeding him as often and as long as possible; I also built a very good milk supply. By the time I went back to work when my little one turned 3 months old, I had two gallon of breast milk stored in my freezer.
The working environment I returned to was, unfortunately, very unfriendly to breastfeeding mothers.
I went through a long, exhausting process of fighting just for a reasonable pumping space and a harassment-free office, which caused me to be stressed out with my milk drying up.
Luckily, I was able to continue exclusively breastfeeding my little one with my stored milk supply. When I was about to use up that storage, I left my job and became a freelancer. I was relieved and my milk supply came back. My little one was exclusively breastfed till the end of six months. He just turned nine month old todays and is still breastfed.
Experts agree that breastfeeding is baby’s best start. I wouldn’t be able to give my little one that best start without Paid Family Leave. That is how important Paid Family Leave is to breastfeeding mothers and babies. I was lucky. I live in California, the first state in the country to pass Paid Family Leave in 2002. But I believe that all the working mothers in this country should have the same access to paid family leave rights that we have in California. This is why I support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act).
Introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Family Act would create a national Paid Family Leave program, providing up to 12 weeks of partial pay for qualifying life events, like the birth of a baby or serious illness of a family member, among other things. This legislation will support national efforts to encourage breastfeeding.
America is one of the only seven countries in the world that doesn’t provide paid leave for new moms. We can do better by asking our policy makers to support the FAMILY Act.
If you live in Los Angeles, the LA City Council member Nury Martinez has just introduced a resolution to support the FAMILY Act and California’s Paid Family Leave Program. You can sign a petition started by Breastfeed LA here and tell the LA City Council, “I support the FAMILY Act and you should, too.”
If you live in any other city in the country, you can find your U.S. Representative here and send the following message from 9to5.org to your Representative.
“Today’s Date here
Your name here
Your address here
Re: Please support the FAMILY Act
I’m calling on you to support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act), which was introduced in Congress. It is well past time for federal policy that meets our nation’s needs, lives up to the values we all share, and truly honors America’s families. As Americans, we know that there is nothing more important than being able to care for family–whether you have an ill parent or loved one or a new baby on the way. That is why we need a law that guarantees that people can care for themselves and their loved ones while still making ends meet and contributing to the economy. The FAMILY Act is that law. Please support the FAMILY Act and do everything in your power to ensure that this much-needed bill becomes a national workplace standard.
It is an original post to MomsRising.org by To-wen Tseng. Photo credit to To-wen Tseng.