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Article
The ‘Pumpgate’ Incident: Stigma against Lactating Mothers in the U.S. Workplace
Women and Health
  • Mary Bresnahan, Michigan State University
  • Jie Zhuang, Texas Christian University
  • Jennifer Anderson, South Dakota State University
  • Yi Zhu, Michigan State University
  • Joshua Nelson, Central Washington University
  • Xiaodi Yan, Michigan State University
Document Type
Article
Publication Version
Post-print
Publication Date
3-1-2017
Keywords
  • Breastfeeding and health,
  • Pumpgate,
  • Pumping breastmilk at work,
  • Breastfeeding stigma,
  • Mother-friendly workplace
Abstract

Studies conclude that breastfeeding for six months is associated with better lifelong health for mother and child. Mothers in the U.S. returning to work after maternity leave report difficulty with the need to take frequent breaks to pump breastmilk so many stop breastfeeding. Factors discouraging pumping breastmilk in the workplace motivated a content analysis of public comments posted in response to a legal deposition that occurred in January of 2011 in which an attorney who was a new mother was challenged about taking a break to pump breastmilk. A total of 899 public comments posted on Yahoo in 2015-2016 in response to this earlier incident were analyzed for content. Of these, only 336 mentioned breastfeeding. Overall, 148 comments showed support for breastfeeding or pumping breastmilk at work, while 182 comments showed moderate to strong disapproval (6 unclassified). The majority of disapproving comments were critical of pumping breastmilk in the workplace. Implications of these findings for the duration of breastfeeding after returning to work are discussed.

DOI of Published Version
10.1080/03630242.2017.1306608
Pages
26
Format
application/pdf
Language
en
Publisher
Taylor and Francis
Rights
Copyright © 2017 Taylor and Francis.
Comments

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Women and Health on March 15, 2017, available online:http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03630242.2017.1306608.

Citation Information
Mary Bresnahan, Jie Zhuang, Jennifer Anderson, Yi Zhu, et al.. "The ‘Pumpgate’ Incident: Stigma against Lactating Mothers in the U.S. Workplace" Women and Health (2017)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jenn-anderson/29/