Mother Mia Birdsong has been breastfeeding her infant son for six months, and had been storing her breast milk in her communal work 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, Michigan.
Birdsong says she was told she could no longer store her breast milk in any of the refrigerators on campus because it was against OSHA Regulations, and that she could either use a thermos, or put it in the biohazard refrigerator which contains blood and human waste.
“It was never a problem in the past,” Birdsong says. “I am placed in a situation where it is very disrespectful.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire.
Hope Network, who have not responded to our 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.”
“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.”
“Hope Network has made it clear to this employee that we are fully supportive of her choice to breast feed, but our non-profit organization must comply with State Health Department Regulations. ”
However, Michigan’s Department of Licensing Regulatory Affairs, says that there’s no specific law regarding breast milk storage.
FOX 47 followed up with Birdsong, who says Hope Network has provided her with a new refrigerator to store her breast milk in.
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