Mia Birdsong has been breastfeeding her infant son for six months and had been storing her breast milk in her office’s communal fridge after pumping at work.
However, Fox 47 reports Birdsong was told she was no longer allowed to do so by her employer, Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation Facility in Lansing, Mich.
Birdsong said she was told she could no longer store her breast milk in any of the refrigerators on campus because it was against OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations and that she could either use a thermos or put the breast milk in the biohazard refrigerator, which contains blood and human waste.
“It was never a problem in the past,” Birdsong said. “I am placed in a situation where it is very disrespectful.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for about six months and then continuing to breastfeed for 12 months or more, as long as it’s mutually desired by mother and baby.
Hope Network, which has not responded to Yahoo Beauty’s request for comment at this time, released the following statement to Fox 47:
“At Hope Network we fully embrace and support a woman’s right to breastfeed and have dedicated space among our statewide locations to accommodate that need. According to state health department regulations, we are required to label and date all items in refrigerators used by our patients when in an adult foster care home.
“The staff member who came to you placed her breast milk in an unlabeled bag, which violates state health department regulations. We asked her to label all future breast milk per health department regulations. If she was not willing to label her breast milk for any reason, she would have the alternative option to place the breast milk in an alternative, non-patient refrigerator.”
The statement from Hope Network continued: “We never received a response from the staff member regarding the solutions we provided to her. However, if the employee remains uncomfortable labeling her breast milk to comply with state health department regulations, we are absolutely willing to add another refrigerator to the building she works in.”
The organization added: “Hope Network has made it clear to this employee that we are fully supportive of her choice to breastfeed, but our nonprofit organization must comply with state health department regulations.”
However, Michigan’s Department of Licensing Regulatory Affairs said that there’s no specific law regarding breast milk storage.
Fox 47 followed up with Birdsong, who said Hope Network has provided her with a new refrigerator to store her breast milk in.
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