NJ lawmaker calls for probe over first lady breastfeeding flap
⚫ A call to investigate NJ breastfeeding flap
⚫ NJ state trooper insists she was denied an accommodation
⚫ Women in NJ have the right to breastfeed or pump at work
A member of the New Jersey Assembly Women and Children’s Committee is calling for an investigation after reports surfaced that a female New Jersey state trooper who had recently given birth was not allowed to pump breast milk during a break from her personal security assignment for first lady Tammy Murphy.
Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, R-Morris, said when she heard the state trooper’s claim that she had been barred from using a facility on the grounds of the Murphy home to pump breastmilk because of the “optics by guests who may be on the premises,” she was shocked.
“We just worked on some legislation to strengthen existing laws, making sure that there are safe and sanitary accommodations for breastfeeding mothers,” she said.
We've got to get to the bottom of this, she said
She said an investigation is needed because it’s important to find out exactly what happened in this situation.
“If a woman was told it was a bad optic, that speaks to the culture of the workplace, so culture is always the hardest thing to change and we can’t always do it through law.”
She said her understanding is the state trooper involved in the incident had to use a trailer that was in filthy condition to pump breast milk.
Because breast milk is a food product, doctors recommend that women not pump it in a restroom or bathroom, either.
First lady's spokesperson insists the claim is false
When a request was made to the first lady’s office for comment on Dunn’s push for an investigation, a spokesperson re-issued a statement first made a few days ago that said in part:
“Any characterization that the first lady would not be completely supportive and accommodating of breastfeeding, pumping or any needs of a new mother in the workplace is outrageous and categorically false.”
Tammy Murphy has made infant and maternal health issues her main focus during her time as first lady of New Jersey.
Breastfeeding is natural and healthy
Women who breastfeed typically need to do so or pump about every three hours or they may stop producing breastmilk or develop pain or an infection.
“The health benefits, the research we’ve known for years, and that’s why we should be making it even more convenient and helping mothers who want to and who can have that opportunity,” Dunn said.
She pointed out certain workplace situations may be challenging to accommodate breastfeeding mothers, but “we’ve come so far, we’ve made so much progress that to hear this was really disappointing because this is a setback.”
Dunn, who has taken the lead on several issues pertaining to women’s rights, described herself as a beneficiary of those who have fought for those rights in the past and said her desire to help mothers returning to the workforce through policies like creating lactation rooms and milk banks stems from her own mother’s breastfeeding advocacy – she was a member of the La Leche League.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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