A member of the New Jersey Assembly Women and Children’s Committee is calling for an investigation after reports surfaced that a female New Jersey state trooper who had recently given birth was not allowed to pump breast milk during a break from her personal security assignment for Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey governor Phil Murphy.
Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, R-Morris, said when she heard the state trooper’s claim that she had been barred from using a facility on the grounds of the Murphy home to pump breast milk because of the “optics by guests who may be on the premises,” she was shocked. She said an investigation is needed because it’s important to find out exactly what happened in this situation.
“We just worked on some legislation to strengthen existing laws, making sure that there are safe and sanitary accommodations for breastfeeding mothers,” she said.
We’ve got to get to the bottom of this.”
“If a woman was told it was a bad optic, that speaks to the culture of the workplace, so culture is always the hardest thing to change and we can’t always do it through law.”
She said her understanding is the state trooper involved in the incident had to use a trailer that was in filthy condition to pump breast milk. Because breast milk is a food product, doctors recommend that breast milk not be pumped or fed in a bathroom.
Women who breastfeed typically need to do so or pump about every three hours, or they may stop producing the milk, or develop pain or an infection.
When a request was made to the first lady’s office for comment, a spokesperson re-issued a statement first made a few days ago that said in part: “Any characterization that the first lady would not be completely supportive and accommodating of breastfeeding, pumping or any needs of a new mother in the workplace is outrageous and categorically false.”
Tammy Murphy has made infant and maternal health issues her main focus during her time as first lady of New Jersey.
“The health benefits, the research we’ve known for years, and that’s why we should be making it even more convenient and helping mothers who want to and who can have that opportunity,” Dunn said.
She pointed out certain workplace situations may be challenging to accommodate breastfeeding mothers, but “we’ve come so far, we’ve made so much progress that to hear this was really disappointing because this is a setback.”