Laws that protect your breastfeeding rights in Colorado

Protecting Breastfeeding in Colorado with Ancient Harmony Breastfeeding Image by Jennifer Mason Photography copyrighted

Originally posted in The Family Room Blog


This post was written by Sara Dale-Bley, IBCLC, RLC. She facilitates breastfeeding support group at The Family Roomfor free, Thursdays 1-2:30.

Did you know that there are 3 state laws that protect your right to breastfeed a child in Colorado?  The laws cover breastfeeding in public, workplace accommodations to express milk, and postponement of jury duty for breastfeeding parents.

In 2004 the state legislature enacted the first of these three laws with Colorado Revised Statutes § 25-6-301 and § 25-6-302 recognizing the importance of breastfeeding and stating that a mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.  Part of the impetus behind this legislation was an attempt to advocate and provide governmental support for the removal of societal barriers to breastfeeding that many families have faced in years past.  Anywhere that a nursing parent is legally allowed to be, they can breastfeed their child without being asked to cover up or move.  This state legislation expanded the 1999 Federal Right to Breastfeed Act which stated that “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location.”

Another step forward in breastfeeding rights in Colorado was the passage of the Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act in 2008, CRS § 8-13.5-101 et seq.  This law established that all employers must provide reasonable unpaid break time, or allow an employee to use paid break and/or meal time to express milk for up to 2 years after a child’s birth.  The law requires employers to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the accommodations are in close proximity to the employee’s work area, and establishes that breastfeeding employees cannot be discriminated against for expressing milk at work.

Workplace accommodations rights were expanded with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010.  Because many states, like Colorado, had existing legislation addressing workplace support for expressing milk, the Federal law was written stipulating that whichever provision of either law provided greater protection for the EMPLOYEE is the one that will be applied.  In Colorado, parts of our state law are stronger, and parts of the Federal law are stronger.

1.     Our state law provides coverage for all employees whether they are salaried or hourly, therefore all employees in Colorado are covered.

2.      Our state law stipulates that accommodations must be provided for 2 years after a child’s birth. Because the Federal law specifies that accommodations be provided for only 1 year, the CO law is stronger and employers must provide accommodations for 2 years.

3.     Although our state law says that employers must make “reasonable efforts” to find a space for parents to express milk that isn’t shared with a working toilet, the Federal law is firm on this provision.  Because the Federal law provides greater employee protection,  accommodations in CO must be somewhere that isn’t sharing space with a working toilet.

4.     Both the CO and Federal laws apply to every employer in Colorado!  However, some employers claim that they would experience “undue hardship” if required to provide accommodations.  Our state law says that any employer is within their rights to apply to the Department of Labor to prove undue hardship.  Luckily, the Federal law wins out with this provision as well.  Only employers with fewer than 50 employees can even apply for, and provide proof of, undue hardship, and even then they must reapply each time an employee requests accommodations.

Lastly, in 2015 our legislature passed the Postponement of Jury Service for a Person Who is Breastfeeding a Child Act, Colorado Revised Statutes, 13-71-119.5.  This law establishes that a person who is breastfeeding a child is eligible for two, 12-month postponements of jury service.  Documentation can be requested by the judge or jury commissioner to support the postponement request.  Call or email your county’s jury commissioner for specifics.

What should you do if you feel your family’s rights are being violated?  Contact your state and local breastfeeding coalition for support and guidance.  The Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition can be reached at 1-844-COBFC-4U or  Contact information for regional coalitions around the state can be found at the CO Department of Public Health and Environment website:

Image by Jennifer Rainey Mason

All Families Welcome

All Families welcome at The Family Room support group with Ancient Harmony

Originally Posted on The Family Room Blog


When I first started attending breastfeeding support groups back in 2004, with the birth of my first child, it was common to see that the adult attendance was restricted to mothers or mothers-to-be.  The reason for this was that when support groups dedicated to breastfeeding were popping up across the US in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a great deal of concern about creating a protected space where mothers who were learning how to breastfeed would be able to do so without feeling self conscious about exposing their breasts in front of men.   Things have changed in the years since those first groups started and it’s become apparent that nursing works best when everyone around the nursing dyad understands how best to support them.

Consequently, while there are still support groups around town that restrict attendance to mothers or mothers-to-be and their children, the support group at The Family Room does not.  Breastfeeding works best, and families are most likely to reach their feeding goals, when families support each other as a team, and all members are educated and supported by their chosen lactation support personnel.  In some families, that means helping Dad work beyond his concerns by addressing his fears, and teaching him constructive ways to support Mom and baby through the challenging early days of breastfeeding.  For other families it means teaching Mom’s wife how helpful it can be to have a second set of eyes looking for ways to adjust a latch to make it less painful.  It can mean helping a transgender Dad and his husband become comfortable with, and develop their own method for navigating chestfeeding sessions with a supplemental nursing system.  Or, it can mean supporting a breastfeeding parent and baby learning to nurse as a new family of two.

“Breastfeeding works best, and families are most likely to reach their feeding goals, when families support each other as a team.”

All family members deserve to be supported through their concerns that accompany those early days of nursing and to be empowered with information on how to navigate the bumps in the road.  All support persons who make up a nursing dyad’s family are welcome to attend our no-cost support groups at The Family Room.

Breastfeeding Support at The Family Room is facilitated by Sara Dale-Bley, IBCLC.

Nursing Nannies

Nursing and Nannies tips from Ancient Harmony Breastfeeding Services, Denver Colorado

Originally Posted on 

Written by

Even though multiple years have passed since I breastfed my children, it was a significant part of my parenthood journey. I’ll never forget when I came home the first day after going back to work after my son Beckett was born. I rushed home in hopes to catch Beckett’s 4 pm feeding. Praying I didn’t have to set up Weegew. Weegew was the name I gave my pump since it constantly sung “wee-gew, wee-gew, wee-gew,” I thought the name was very fitting. I walked in to see Beckett eating, very happily, from a bottle. He was beaming at my nanny and as happy as a clam. I was so grateful to see things going so well but I wished I had made it to feed him in time. I immediately blamed myself; if I would’ve sent my nanny a quick text and asked her to hold off on feeding him, I wouldn’t have to trudge up to my room and it would’ve saved me the session with Weegew. As I pumped, I realized I need to be more communicative in regards to nursing and my nanny. I was very fortunate, I never had the horror stories of ounces of liquid gold thrown away, or my baby refusing the bottle. Nonetheless, I heard these horror stories often. It wasn’t until recently I had a nanny say to me, “Im knowledgeable with breastmilk handling and storage but to be honest I don’t know what else is needed.” Voila! The bridge between nursing mommas and caregivers needed to be addressed. Of course I called on my personal lactation consultant, Sara Dale-Bley, which I couldn’t have breastfed as long as I did if it wasn’t for her continued support, and plethora of knowledge. This led into a Q&A session with Sara.

Q: What is the most important thing a caregiver, especially a nanny, should know about a baby that is exclusively breastfed?

A: Be sure to keep an ongoing, open dialogue with the breastfeeding parent about how breastfeeding is going. Knowing if there are any issues with nursing, that are being complicated by bottle feeding, and addressing them as quickly as possible, can help nip them in the bud and keep everyone happier with all feeding scenarios.

Q: Are there any tricks you can suggest if a baby has trouble taking a bottle?

A: Keep trying, and make it fun! Many families that I see specifically because the baby won’t take a bottle are very stressed. Parents are incredibly worried that baby won’t take the bottle by the time the breastfeeding parent goes back to work, and the baby often senses that stress and will refuse the bottle even more fervently. Taking a step back, deescalating the situation, and allowing the baby to have more control over the use of the bottle can be incredibly helpful. Keep in mind that we want the baby to have positive associations with the bottle, so being silly, singing, and making funny faces can help create that atmosphere. Also, remember

that rhythmic action stimulates suckling, so bouncing, dancing, patting, etc during bottle feeding attempts may be useful. Going outside for a walk can be great for distracting baby enough that they may be more receptive to the bottle. I often recommend that the caregiver sit and bounce slightly on an exercise ball, while attempting bottle feeding, as an alternative.

Additionally, I always recommend that whenever babies get a bottle that caregivers use Paced Bottle-Feeding techniques (described in detail here: Allowing babies to be in greater control of the flow of milk from the bottle is especially important for children who are still learning how to use a bottle. If the milk is allowed to flow quickly from the bottle into the baby’s mouth when they are not prepared for it, they may experience a choking sensation which can be quite alarming and exacerbate bottle refusal.

Q: Are there any suggestions you have for mommas who are pumping?

A: Make sure that the flanges you’re using with your pump have been fitted for you. Pump flanges are fit based on the diameter of nipples mid-pump, while milk is flowing through them and they’ve expanded to their largest size. Nipples come in an incredibly wide range of normal sizes, but are rarely ever “average.” Unfortunately, pumps generally come with one standard size flange that that specific manufacturer has deemed “average.” Many parents find that this standard flange is either so large or small that milk isn’t removed effectively from the breast and can make the experience of pumping painful. Your pump manual should come with a flange sizing guide you can use, or you can consult with an IBCLC who can help you fit your flanges. If you find that you need another flange set, be sure to submit that expense to your insurer! Breastfeeding support and supplies are covered in the current provisions of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act.

Once your flanges are fit correctly, it can help to make the experience of pumping as relaxing as possible. Stress can inhibit let-down, so whatever works best for you will be most helpful. I often recommend covering the bottles so parents can’t watch them fill, and listening to something relaxing on their phone or MP3 player can help distract from the noise of the pump. There are many, many other tips and tricks that families have found helpful and it would be too big of a list to include here. Keep experimenting until you find what works best for you and consult with your IBCLC for fresh ideas on how to increase your pumping efficiency.

Q: As a professional lactation consultant, what upsets or frustrates moms the most about breastfeeding?

A: Ongoing pain is definitely most frustrating for families. Usually whatever issue is causing the ongoing discomfort and nipple damage is relatively easily resolved, but it can take a bit of dialogue and analysis to figure out the root cause.

Q: Would you suggest mommas and caregivers have a lactation consultant come to the home to help with the initial transition? If so, what would that look like (IE how long are the appointments, how often, when should this happen, etc.)?

A: Having a consultation where families and their chosen caregivers are able to create a feeding plan together and discuss any particular issues they each may have in the presence of a breastfeeding expert is invaluable. I would recommend such a visit take place as soon as possible after childcare arrangements have been finalized. In-home lactation consultations tend to last about 1.5-2 hours and many IBCLCs offer less expensive, shorter, follow-up visits for tweaks to the feeding care plan as issues arise. It’s always very helpful to have as many caregivers present as possible during these visits so that everyone is on the same page with regard to the updated feeding plan.

Q: Can you give moms the words to tell her caregiver about her breastfeeding journey? Such as, breastfeeding is very important to me. I want to continue and do not want to be asked to switch to formula. Or suggest some type of breastfeeding plan, like a birth plan?

A: Here are some questions that can help jumpstart the conversation:

* How do you support breastfeeding families?

* How do you ensure that my baby’s milk is stored and prepared safely?

* How often will my child be fed my milk?

* Would you ever feed my child anything other than my milk? If so, under what circumstances?

Q: What questions should a caregiver ask mom about breastfeeding?

A: What are your feeding goals?

How can I help you reach those goals?

Q: Do you have any other helpful tips, suggestions or comments?

A: Families should take the first few weeks after birth to enjoy their new little one (or ones) and revel in their babymoon! Just as a honeymoon is the time to enjoy being with your new spouse, your babymoon is the time to enjoy being with your new baby! Take that time to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Baby should be transferring milk and gaining weight well and you should feel confident that your supply has regulated to what your baby needs.

Once you’re confident that all’s well with nursing, if you know that your family will be expecting the baby to be able to take a bottle, begin thinking about starting to introduce regular bottles at about 4 or 5 weeks of age. Keep in mind that when babies are born, they have an incredibly strong instinct to suckle on anything in their mouth. As they age, they gain far greater control over their suckling. Babies who are only ever exposed to nursing, or who only had one or two bottles very soon after birth, may not have the knowledge of what the firm plastic bottle nipple is for! Introductory, learning bottles don’t need to be full feedings. I usually recommend a small bottle, starting with just an ounce or so, every day, or every other day, to keep baby familiar with bottle mechanics.

I want to thank Sara from the bottom of my heart for all she does to help breastfeeders everywhere but for helping caregivers too!

To learn more about Sara Dale-Bley or Ancient Harmony click here.

Ancient Harmony offers the gold standard of breastfeeding support to Denver metro area families through private, in-home consultations, Skype consults, weekly group support, and prenatal & back-to-work breastfeeding classes. All consults scheduled on an individual basis. Please call (303)731-6657, or email for more information.