Archive by Author

Is Your Insurance Company Failing You?

3 Jul


Did you know that the Affordable Care Act requires non-grandfathered insurance plans to cover lactation services and pumps? Yup. Awesome, right? Problem is, some insurance companies are not following either the spirit or letter of the law. Great news, the smart, savvy ladies over at Breastfeed Chicago have been working on this issue for a while, and we’ve got a whole mess of info for you, if you are looking to get your lactation costs covered.

First, take a look at this (FRONT PAGE!!!) article in the Chicago Tribune: It outlines all of the discrepancies between what insurance companies say they’re doing and how hard some moms have to work to get services reimbursed. Shameful.

Second, take a look at all this great info from the National Women’s Law Center – they’ve explained the law in detail and have created templates for reimbursement requests and appeals:

Third, share your story with us! Comment below and let us know if you’ve had luck getting lactation services covered! If you haven’t, tell us that story, too! We want to hear from you.

Easy Way to Support Breastfeed Chicago

26 Jun

Change your Amazon Smile recipient to Breastfeed Chicago!!!

And thanks!

Support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act!

5 Jun

Mamas! It’s not often that we get the chance to band together and help to protect our fellow moms – pregnant moms who are forced to work without accommodations like stools, water bottles and modified tasks. No one should have to choose between supporting their family and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

What is the Act?

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a bi-partisan effort that helps protect moms by requiring employers to give pregnant women reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

What can you do?

Our very own Senator Mark Kirk has not yet signed on as a supporter of the bill! Help him make this choice by telling him how much his support would mean.

Call him: 

  • Chicago: 312-886-3506
  • Springfield: 217-492-5089
  • Washington, D.C.: 202-224-2854

Message him:

Sample Tweets: @SenatorKirk

  • Bipartisan support means #PWFA has a much bigger shot at passage. Let Congress hear how important this is to you
  • Having a healthy pregnancy should not have to mean giving up a paycheck. #PWFA is justice for pregnant workers. #MissionPossible
  • Fired for drinking water? Or for asking not to lift heavy boxes? This should never happen. Protecting workers with #PWFA is #MissionPossible
  • Most people agree pregnant workers shouldn’t be pushed off the job right when they need work most. #PWFA would help keep them on the job.
  • @SenatorKirk, pregnant workers need your support. Will you join @KellyAyotte & @SenDeanHeller in co-sponsoring #PWFA?
  • We are counting on @SenatorKirk to stand w/pregnant workers. @KellyAyotte & @SenDeanHeller co-sponsor #PWFA —will you?
  • @SenatorKirk, IL did it and so should Congress. Join @KellyAyotte & @SenDeanHeller to co-sponsor #PWFA. Will you sign on?

Letter to Senator Kirk:

PWFA-Letter to Sen. Kirk from Illinois coalition in support of PWFA

Senators Casey (D-PA), Shaheen (D-NH), Ayotte (R-NH), and Rep. Nadler (D-NY) - Heller (R-NV) not pictured

Senators Casey (D-PA), Shaheen (D-NH), Ayotte (R-NH), and Rep. Nadler (D-NY) – Heller (R-NV) not pictured

Dear Labor and Delivery Nurse…

1 Jun

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Dear Labor and Delivery Nurse,


My clients want to breastfeed–thanks for helping to make that happen! Whether they are planning a water birth or a scheduled Cesarean birth, we’ve talked in our prenatal visits about how their choices in birth will impact breastfeeding. They have carefully considered some preferences for the birth that were made with immediate and exclusive breastfeeding in mind. Thank you for respecting their birth preferences and working with us to navigate changes if labor and birth brings something unexpected.

For a vaginal birth, thank you for realizing that immediate skin-to-skin means that the baby needs to be placed directly on the mother’s skin (not on a blanket, not on her hospital gown) immediately after birth. Help us remind the doctor that my clients would really like the baby to land on the mother’s chest, not on the bed or sterile drapes, or be held by the doctor while drying and suctioning and cutting of the umbilical cord takes place. For a cesarean birth, thank you for honoring my client’s desires for as much of a physiologic and empowering experience as possible. Ideally, a gentle cesarean enables immediate skin-to-skin, with the baby being slid under the sterile drape right after birth and the potential for breastfeeding initiation in the operating room. If that isn’t possible, skin-to-skin after a few minutes, with the baby remaining in the operating room for the entire surgery if everyone is healthy, is also great! Studies have shown that when babies are brought to the warmer and dried and suctioned, breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity rates are not as high. Plus, for my client and her partner, the emotional experience of the event and bonding with the baby is a crucial part of this process, so separation from the baby may be difficult and traumatic.Thank you for being an advocate that supports breastfeeding and sees the impact that birth and early postpartum experiences can have on breastfeeding and parenting.

We know that the baby is working hard to breathe for the first few minutes, so we expect that baby isn’t going to breastfeed right away. But my clients would still like to hold and snuggle their baby during this transition time, knowing that breastfeeding will happen soon, and touching, smelling, and admiring their baby in the mean time. Thanks for avoiding the urge to get all the weighing and measuring done so that mom can breastfeed after that. We know you’re busy, and we know the baby needs to be weighed in order to be admitted to the motherbaby unit, and for that, we appreciate your patience wholeheartedly. Thank you for giving us the time to allow the entire process of breastfeeding, from those very first breaths to those last sleepy sucks, to unfold.

You may be wondering why I am not helping with breastfeeding. I trust moms and babies, and I know that babies are equipped with all the instincts to make it happen. My clients can’t wait to watch their baby do the breast crawl. I know baby has latched on five times to the wrong spot, and is bobbing around frantically, but it’s all part of the process. I have also talked with my clients about how skin-to-skin and breastfeeding colonizes a baby’s gut, and I want the mother and her partner to be the ones that do that, so I do very little handling of their baby during this delicate time. Thank you for giving us the space for these new parents to believe in their baby.

I believe in empowerment. I believe that nature has designed a system that works. Thank you for giving us space and time and trust–this hour is brief but it lasts a lifetime.

Best, Maura Winkler Birth Doula


This article only focuses on how a birth doula prepares clients prenatally and supports them in the very early postpartum, but birth doulas continue to provide support during the early weeks of breastfeeding, and postpartum doulas also are a resource for breastfeeding support in the early weeks and months. To find a doula that is perfect for you, check out

Maura Winkler is a birth doula, placenta encapsulator, and Breastfeeding USA counselor. She is currently pursuing the nursing portion of a nurse midwifery program at UIC. She has a passion for women’s rights, especially those related to birth and breastfeeding, and enjoys helping women and families advocate for their healthcare wishes. She is mama to a 2.5 year old girl, still breastfeeding!

UPDATE ON SENATE BILL 0344 “Lactation Accommodation in Airports”

12 May

On Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 8:30 a.m., the Human Services Committee will hold a hearing on SB0344 “Lactation Accommodation in Airports” in Stratton Building Room C-1 in Springfield, IL. Please contact the members of the Human Services Committee by email and telephone and ask them to support SB344. Their contact information is included below. A sample email template is also included, but your personal stories and handwritten notes are most effective.

Illinois Senate bill SB0344 “Lactation Accommodation in Airports” is making its way through the Illinois General Assembly. It was voted on and passed by the Illinois Senate on April 22, 2015. The bill is now in the Illinois House of Representatives. Chief House sponsors are Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, Rep. Elgie R. Sims Jr., and Rep. Jehan A. Gordon-Booth.

Human Services Committee – Members (99th General Assembly)

Chairperson : Robyn Gabel- (217) 782-8052 (D)
Vice-Chairperson : Litesa E. Wallace- (217) 782-3167 (D)
Republican Spokesperson : Patricia R. Bellock- (217) 782-1448 (R)
Member: Carol Ammons- (217) 558-1009 (D)
Member: Jaime M. Andrade, Jr.- (217) 782-8117 (D)
Member: Kelly M. Cassidy- (217) 782-8088 (D)
Member: Tom Demmer- (217) 782-0535 (R)
Member: Laura Fine- (217) 782-4194 (D)
Member: Mary E. Flowers- (217) 782-4207 (D)
Member: Norine Hammond- (217) 782-0416 (R)
Member: Sheri L (217) 782-8151 (R)
Member: Cynthia (217) 782-0150 (D)
Member: Brian W. Stewart- (217) 782-8186 (R)
Member: Michael Unes- (217) 782-8186 (R)

Sample email–

RE: SB 0344- “Lactation Accommodation in Airports”

Dear Representative :

Please vote to support SB 0344 “Lactation Accommodation in Airports” and help this bill make its way through the Illinois General Assembly.

O’Hare International Airport (O’Hare) and other Illinois airports do not have designated lactation rooms for breastfeeding mothers. Midway Airport recently opened a Mother’s Room on Concourse C. There should be additional lactation areas in each airport terminal and each concourse. At a minimum, a comfortable space for breastfeeding mothers should include an electrical outlet, a sink, and wash area.

Currently, O’Hare airport asks mothers to feed their children in the restroom or to contact Travelers Aid in Terminal 2 to arrange a private room to pump or breastfeed. O’Hare Airport is planning to open one Mother’s Room during the summer of 2015, and that is a step in the right direction. This legislation will ensure that airports accommodate breastfeeding mothers and young families looking to feed their babies.

One of the greatest struggles for breastfeeding mothers is to have our voices heard and accommodations met in order to express milk and feed our children in public places. Women have lobbied and fought for years to establish lactation rooms in their places of employment and public facilities. Only recently have states begun to pass laws that help ensure that mothers have a private place to nurse their children and pump breast milk (if they choose to do so in private).

This campaign seeks to make Illinois airports nursing friendly and to build public accommodation for breastfeeding mothers. This grassroots petition started just two months ago and the Illinois Senate swiftly passed this bill on April 23, 2015. California passed similar legislation last year. Illinois should do the same.

We hope you will listen to our collective voices and vote YES to SB 0344 “Lactation Accommodation in Airports”.

Thank you for your support.



Want more info on this topic??? 
Establish Lactation Rooms in Illinois Airports Petition:
Fly and Feed facebook page:
Breastfeed Chicago:
Rep. Duckworth OpEd- Airports fail to accommodate breastfeeding mothers:

Thank you, O’Hare!

30 Apr

Have you heard the news? O’Hare will be opening up a Mothers’ Room this summer!

Go thank them! Tweet to @fly2ohare and let them know that you appreciate their support of breastfeeding mamas! And tag us, too: @BFChgo

Whoot! Whoot! Katrina does it again!!

2 Apr

We are so proud of our Executive Director and Founder, Katrina Pavlik! She is the force that drives us all and with pieces like this, that get published in the Trib – you can see why. Read it – it’s good!

See the Op-Ed here:

Tell us what you thought of this piece. What have you done to advocate for yourself as a mom?


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