Weekly Wednesday Wire: August 26, 2015

Please note: Inclusion of an item in this e-newsletter does NOT imply endorsement or support of such item by the United States Breastfeeding Committee, unless specifically noted.

Black Breastfeeding Week: Lift Every Baby

The third annual Black Breastfeeding Week (#BBW15) celebration is taking place August 25-31. "Like" the Black Breastfeeding Week Facebook page and follow them on Twitter for details on the action-packed agenda. The 2015 theme, Lift Every Baby, gives a cultural nod to the black national anthem, Lift Every Voice & Sing, at a time when the black community has been facing unprecedented unrest. Read the press release. Upcoming events include:

  • August 25-31: community events throughout the nation
  • Thursday, August 27: #LiftEveryBaby Twitter Chat at 9 p.m. ET, hosted by @BlkBfingWeek, @BMBFA, @MochaManual
  • Saturday, August 29: National Baby Lift Up at 3 p.m. ET, black families across America will meet in pre-determined locations in key cities to lift their babies in unison as a sign of support and empowerment for babies

Federal News

Overtime Rule Comment Opportunity, from DOL

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a new rule that would increase the salary threshold for overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the new rule, workers making up to $50,440 would be eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, providing overtime protections for as many as an additional 5.9 million salaried workers, 3.2 million of whom are women. When effective in 2016, 46% of currently exempt Black women workers and 48% of Hispanic women workers would be newly covered. By increasing the number of employees who are considered nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the proposal would also expand the right to workplace accommodations for breastfeeding under the "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" law. For more information, see the special section in 7/8/2015 WWW issue, and also these new resources:

Comments on the overtime rule proposal are requested by Friday, September 4, from both individuals and organizations. The following suggested talking points have been compiled, specific to the impact on the breastfeeding provision:

  • Employment is now the norm for women of childbearing age, yet breastfeeding mothers continue to face barriers in the workplace, putting them at particular risk for not meeting their breastfeeding goals. All major medical authorities recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding for at least the first year. We know that 80% of mothers intend to breastfeed, and 79% actually do breastfeed at birth. Yet only 27% of U.S. infants are still breastfed at one year of age. Employed mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding early if they do not receive the support they need in the workplace.
  • Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide nonexempt employees who are nursing mothers with reasonable unpaid break time and a private, non-bathroom location to express breast milk for one year after the child's birth. By increasing the number of employees who are considered nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the overtime rule proposal would also expand the right to workplace accommodations for breastfeeding to many additional employees.
  • Under the new rule, some salaried women who are currently allowed to take paid breaks to pump during the workday may be required to shift to unpaid breaks by their employers. However, this change is still considered advantageous due to the additional right to a private space for these workers and the significant number of women who would gain access to legally protected break time.
  • The "Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions" resource from the HHS Office on Women's Health provides businesses with cost-effective tips and solutions for any industry setting. These simple accommodations are critical for employees' breastfeeding success, and this new resource means that employers have the support they need to implement accommodations that make breastfeeding and working possible.
  • I/we applaud the Department for proposing this critical expansion of overtime protections, thereby expanding coverage of the "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" law, and urge the Department to proceed in issuing and implementing a final rule without delay.

An mPINC Minute, from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2015 national survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) has begun. Screening phone calls are being conducted in alphabetical order by state/territory abbreviation and facilities will be contacted on a rolling basis. Screening will begin in the following states/territories over the next few weeks: Alaska (AK), Alabama (AL), Arkansas (AR), Arizona (AZ), California (CA), Colorado (CO), and Connecticut (CT).

Emergency Preparedness Twitter Chat, from ASPR

Join the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response on Thursday, September 3, from 1-2 p.m. ET for a #Prep4Moms Twitter chat, to learn about ways that pregnant women and new moms can keep themselves and their babies safe before, during, and after an emergency. Experts will answer questions and discuss a wide range of topics, including items for an emergency kit and plan, recognizing and coping with stress, and protecting babies from contaminated water and other hazards.

Partner News

Structural Race Analysis of First Food, from CSI

The Center for Social Inclusion has released a report outlining the barriers to breastfeeding that communities of color face, along with policy and practice recommendations to address racial inequity in First Food. The report highlights structural barriers that women face during pregnancy, at the hospital, and in their first weeks and months at home after the baby is born—including access to Baby-Friendly hospitals and certified lactation consultants, which are often lacking in neighborhoods of color. Read the press release.

EMPower Hospital Announcement, from EMPower Breastfeeding Initiative

The EMPower Breastfeeding Initiative has released the names of over 90 hospitals in 24 states selected to participate in the EMPower Initiative. The hospitals selected will receive ongoing support in breastfeeding practices and quality improvement methods from experienced coaches, as well as training and resource support in lactation education. The effort supports evidence-based practices for prenatal and maternity settings known as the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Read the press release.

Report and Shared Strategies from Best Fed Beginnings, from NICHQ

The National Institute of Child Health Quality has released a report on Best Fed Beginnings, a national initiative to help hospitals improve breastfeeding-related maternity care and increase the number of Baby-Friendly hospitals. Since March, 19 more hospitals have joined the 31 that have received the Baby-Friendly designation under the initiative. To help advance breastfeeding awareness, NICHQ has a wealth of resources for health care practitioners, parents, and others, including success stories from hospitals and inspirational videos.

Retraining Hospital Staff to Prioritize Breastfeeding, from NICHQ

The National Institute of Child Health Quality has released a blog post entitled, "Retraining Hospital Staff to Prioritize Breastfeeding," exploring how CHRISTUS Hospital - St. Elizabeth in Texas is working to make system changes led by breastfeeding champions and a task force representing several different units of the hospital.

News from the Field

Racial Bias in Health Care and Health, from JAMA

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published an article entitled, "Racial Bias in Health Care and Health: Challenges and Opportunities," discussing the potential contribution of societal racial bias to disparities in health care and health status.

Collective Impact Connection

Webinar on Overcoming the Overhead Myth, from SSIR

Join the Stanford Social Innovation Review on Wednesday, September 2, from 2-3 p.m. ET for a webinar entitled, "Overcoming the Overhead Myth."  Participants will learn why the nonprofit starvation cycle exists, how organizations that invested in administration subsequently improved their programmatic work, strategies for explaining to funders the importance of overhead costs for future success, and tips for evaluating whether grantees are skimping on crucial investment areas in budgeting.

News & Views

In These Times: "The Real War on Families: Why the U.S. Needs Paid Leave Now"

Additional media mentions:

HHS Office on Women's Health blog:

The Daily Tar Heel: "Feed your babies, says Chapel Hill, Carrboro"

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