TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed S1735, which requires certain public facilities and offices to provide on-site lactation rooms. Additionally, the legislation requires the New Jersey Department of Health to provide information about lactation room availability and the New Jersey Department of Education to provide information on lactation policies in schools.
“Building a stronger, fairer, and healthier New Jersey begins with unwavering support for our mothers and families, including providing access to private, clean, and safe spaces for nursing,” said Governor Murphy. “By signing this legislation, we are taking a critical step forward in breaking down barriers to breastfeeding and empowering New Jersey’s mothers.”
“By providing private and accessible space for nursing mothers, we are encouraging those who can breastfeed to do so as long as they can,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “This legislation continues to build on the Nurture NJ campaign efforts to ensure equitable maternal and infant care to all women and children.”
“Breastfeeding provides an excellent source of nutrition for infants, helps boost their immune systems to prevent illness, and strengthens the bonds between mothers and babies,” said New Jersey Department of Health Acting Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “This bill celebrates the benefits of breastfeeding by creating space for mothers to nurse. The Department of Health promotes breastfeeding and supports our working mothers with a half dozen lactation rooms.”
Institutions of learning should provide an inclusive environment for all staff and students,” said New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont O. Repollet. “To that end, we support the Governor’s efforts to ensure public facilities provide appropriate accommodations that affirm the rights and dignity of nursing mothers.”
“Women should have options for where to breastfeed, and today’s action will create better environments to support women’s choices,” said New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “I’m proud to stand with Governor Murphy, the First Lady and leaders of the New Jersey Legislature in taking another important step in helping families thrive in New Jersey.”
Primary sponsors of the legislation include Senators Loretta Weinberg and M. Teresa Ruiz and Assemblymembers Eliana Pintor Marin, Gabriela Mosquera, and Carol Murphy.
“Breast milk is best source of nutrition for an infant and offers a wide range of benefits to both the nursing mother and the newborn,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg. “Mothers who choose to breastfeed should be encouraged to do so regardless of where they are, and they should be offered accommodations that allow them to do so in private without fear of their privacy being invaded. This bill helps ensure safe spaces for women breastfeeding outside of the home. ”
“By providing information on a woman’s right to breastfeed in public and creating a lactation room in certain buildings we can empower New Jersey mothers to feed their children as they see fit,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz. “Wherever they are, new mothers deserve a safe space where they can choose to nurse or express milk. Breast milk offers enormous health benefits to the development and growth of a child and we should encourage women who choose to nurse in any way that we can.”
“While women should be able to nurse their babies publicly, some women prefer to do it in a more quiet setting,” said Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin. “This new law will provide women with the convenience of a private room at a public facility where they can nurse and still be able to accomplish their task.”
“The benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers are well documented. While some women are comfortable nursing in public, others are not,” said Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. “This will provide a quiet place for mothers to nurse their babies while they take care of business.”
“New mothers shouldn’t have to worry about finding a place to privately breastfeed their babies while running errands or going about their day,” said Assemblywoman Carol Murphy. “The early days of motherhood are hard enough. This change in law will make those days a bit easier for nursing mothers.”