IWPR: Affordable Care Act provision to drive breast-feeding rates up 4%

WASHINGTON — According to a new report released Friday by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a provision in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that requires employers to provide nursing breaks and a private, sanitary place to express breast milk for most mothers employed on an hourly basis will drive breast-feeding rates up by 4% in the first six months. That translates into as many as 165,000 new moms breast-feeding each year, or more than 1 million new moms in six years, noted Robert Drago, director of research with IWPR.

The ACA provisions for breast-feeding cover three-fifths of employed women living in families below 350% of the government poverty line (about $50,000 for a family of two). That’s especially important because it includes a large number of hourly employees — a group that has been historically low in breast-feeding, Drago said.

All told, 19 million women of breast-feeding age will benefit from the new breast-feeding protections, Drago said.

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