D.C.'s Police Department Makes It Hard for Cops to Breastfeed

Note to employers: If an employee asks for an easy accommodation to help feed her kids, just give it to her.

In November, the Washington, D.C. police department started a new initiative to push more officers out of their desks and onto the streets. That's a problem for breastfeeding women on the force, who say that the new assignments have isolated them from breastfeeding equipment and private rooms and forced them into uncomfortable body armor. Now, breastfeeding women who prefer to stay in the station must use sick leave to do so. The police union has filed a grievance over the issue.

Access to private, non-bathroom breastfeeding facilities is now a requirement under federal law. But for breast-feeding cops on a beat, accessing those facilities isn't always easy—or discreet. In the D.C. police department, officers must first notify a commander, find a street replacement, and then make it back to the station in order to pump. And the federal directive also fails to address conditions that may affect breastfeeding employees when they aren't physically pumping milk—like when they're forced to slip into a too-tight bulletproof vest.

Even with the federal legislation, access to breastfeeding has always been more difficult for women in certain professions. Writing for the New York Times in 2006, Jodi Kantor detailed the breastfeeding class divide for working moms:

as pressure to breast-feed increases, a two-class system is emerging for working mothers. For those with autonomy in their jobs—generally, well-paid professionals—breast-feeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice. It is usually an inconvenience, and it may be an embarrassing comedy of manners, involving leaky bottles tucked into briefcases and brown paper bags in the office refrigerator. But for lower-income mothers—including many who work in restaurants, factories, call centers and the military—pumping at work is close to impossible, causing many women to decline to breast-feed at all, and others to quit after a short time.


And it's not only D.C. cops who have faced those barriers. After her Times piece ran, Kantor relayed the story of Erica Romero, a small-town New Mexico police officer who fed her daughter "formula during the day and breast milk during off hours" to deal with her force's sub-par breastfeeding accommodations, and routinely squeezed into a now too-small vest just to do her job. Organizations like La Leche League International have offered up advice to breastfeeding law enforcement officers, helping them access ad-hoc solutions (like a breast pump car adapter) or systemic ones (like strategies for approaching higher-ups about the issue). In the end, though, the responsibility rests with employer. If an employee asks for an easy accommodation to help feed her kids, just give it to her.

Photo by Flickr user Tony Webster, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less