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In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, the USBC is teaming up with key partners to mobilize action to ensure that every mom is empowered and supported to reach her personal breastfeeding goals.

Across the country individual advocates, breastfeeding coalitions, and allied organizations are calling on policymakers to support breastfeeding in ways that will create the strategic policy and systems changes needed to overcome the barriers to breastfeeding success. The "Action Across America" campaign is addressing four different topic areas (one each week of August), aligned with current legislative opportunities.

This week's focus is on building support for the FAMILY Act, new legislation to create a national paid leave insurance program. We know that rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration are higher in employed women with access to longer maternity leave[1][2], but taking leave is simply not an option for many families. Unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides important job protections, but it is available to fewer than 50 percent of workers—and many can't afford to take it.

Set to be introduced into Congress this fall, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) would create a national insurance program that would support workers and businesses by providing eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave for their own serious illness or that of a child, parent, or spouse; the birth or adoption of a child; the injury of a family member in the military; or exigencies arising from a servicemember's deployment. This program would apply to workers in all companies, no matter their size.

Based on successful programs in California and New Jersey, the FAMILY Act would be entirely self-funded by employer and employee contributions of two-tenths of one percent of a worker's wages. It would apply to all workers who qualify for Social Security disability benefits, regardless of age, full-time status, or income level, providing benefits equal to 2/3 of an individual's typical monthly wages, up to a cap.

Access to paid family leave is linked to greater income stability for families, reduced employee turnover and worker replacement costs for employers, and a reduced need for public assistance. More people staying in their jobs means more people paying taxes. Women with longer maternity leaves are more likely to combine breastfeeding and employment.[1] In a survey of 712 mothers, each week of maternity leave increased the duration of breastfeeding by almost one-half week.[2] For all of these reasons, The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding calls for the establishment of paid maternity leave for all employed mothers.

That's why we need YOUR help building support for paid leave and gaining original co-sponsors for the FAMILY Act. Help us tell Congress how paid leave benefits families, employers, and the economy!

There are many easy ways to take action:

  1. Tweet key Congressional targets: Use our easy tool to send customized Twitter messagesto priority members of Congress. With Twitter, you don't have to be limited to only your legislator: consider sending messages to legislators from several states in your region, or to those that are starred (key committee members). Note: If you don't already have a Twitter account, the links will first walk you through easy account setup steps.
  2. Visit your legislators while they are home "in district" during the August Congressional recess: The USBC, MomsRising, National Partnership for Women & Families, and National WIC Association hosted the "Action for the Summer Recess" webinar on August 8. Access the recording, slides, and toolkit materials to find everything you'll need to prepare for a visit with your legislator. 
  3. Help spread the word: Share the campaign with friends and family by sending them this link:. Or use our Campaign Promotion Templates.

With such a variety of ways to reach policymakers, we can demonstrate the Nation's overwhelming support for paid family leave!

Your voice can make all the difference...thank you for your continued participation and support.

Advancing breastfeeding on our Nation's agenda: Collaboration, Leadership, Advocacy

-    Megan, Amelia, and the USBC team

[1] Arthur CR, Saenz RB, Replogle WH. The employment-related breastfeeding decisions of physician mothers. J Miss State Med Assoc. 2003;44(12):383-387.

[2] Roe B, Whittington LA, Fein SB, Teisl MF. Is there competition between breast-feeding and maternal employment? Demography. 1999;36(2):157-171.

For more on paid leave in your state, check out Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents.

United States Breastfeeding Committee
2025 M Street, NW, Suite 800 ♦ Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202/367-1132 ♦ Fax: 202/367-2132
E-mail: [email protected]