Different Lactation Rights for Surrogates and Mothers

Different Lactation Rights for Surrogates and Mothers

In a world where breastfeeding in public used to be taboo, states have been providing statutory protections for mothers wanting to breastfeed their child when and wherever necessary. With the scientific research putting forth more evidence regarding the significant health benefits of breast milk over formula, the trend has picked up for new mothers to prefer breastfeeding to formula.

South Carolina’s First Breast Milk Bank

South Carolina has gone a step further and, as of May 2015, established the first breast milk bank. This is to help substitute for the burgeoning online milk transactions that are occurring between new moms where one mom who produces too little milk wants to purchase breast milk from a mom who produces too much. However, the milk bank will not sell milk to the general public but will help save newborn babies who are in neonatal intensive care units from premature death caused by necrotizing enterocolitis.

This rare disease has caused the deaths of more than 150 newborns in the last 20 years in South Carolina. The new breast milk bank is hoping to stop the disease altogether since research shows breast milk is one of the best ways to prevent the disease. The breast milk bank accepts milk donations, pasteurizes the milk, analyzes and examines the milk for effective nutrients and maladies, and then sells the milk to hospital nurseries. The profits will be used to keep the milk bank running.

Surrogate Mother Files Discrimination Case

This innovative milk bank relies heavily on breastfeeding women who have more than enough milk to feed their child to express milk for donation purposes. However, some women are coming up with significant issues from their employers. Recently, a woman filed a complaint against the hotel chain she worked for because she was denied lactation breaks based on her role as a surrogate mother. The hotel chain made the distinction between surrogate and biological mothers and ignored the woman when she told her employers that she needed the reasonable accommodations for breast-pumping breaks, as she still sent the milk to the baby’s mother and donated it as well for charities. Within the complaint, the woman alleged that the human resources representative for the chain told her that the lactation breaks did not apply to her because, as a surrogate, she was not providing the milk for her own child and was pumping for donation purposes.

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that requires that an employer permit an employee to express milk while in the workplace and during working hours, but there is no added protection for surrogates and, therefore, not all mothers are treated alike.

South Carolina Protections for Breastfeeding Women

According to South Carolina law, a woman is permitted to breastfeed in any place where she is legally allowed to be. Some states do not offer the same protections of a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, but do exempt breastfeeding women from indecency and nudity laws. The South Carolina law does not stipulate other protections for breastfeeding or lactating women. The FLSA requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees in private space, as long as it is not too burdensome or disruptive to the company or the employee’s duties. The FLSA, however, stipulates that these breaks from work do not have to be paid.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

Whether to breastfeed or to use formula, it is an individual’s right to determine how to feed their child. If you believe that you and your ex-spouse have a conflict over breastfeeding or other issues regarding the raising of your child, it is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation.