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My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 5, 2023

Coast Guard improving support for nursing mothers

By Kyle Ford, MyCG Writer 

Uniformed service member and civilian mothers benefit from the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act signed into law with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (H.R. 2617).  

The PUMP Act requires small but significant changes to existing policies, practices, guidance, and negotiated agreements for civilian mothers who choose to breastfeed their children, and the Coast Guard (CG) is updating policies to provide for accommodations for military nursing mothers as well.  

The PUMP Act specifies that:  

  • Mothers have a reasonable break time to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the child’s birth; and  
  • Mothers are provided a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used to express breast milk.  

CG policy changes include stronger language (changing should to must) and involve resources for nursing mothers and breast milk storage.  

Break Time and Compensation 

For civilians: Employers must allow mothers to take breaks for expressing breast milk and cannot consider that time as unpaid break time. If already providing employees with paid breaks (for example, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon), they may use the time to express breast milk. Nursing employees must be compensated in the same way other employees are compensated for the time. 

For military members: Unit commanders, commanding officers and officers in charge must support nursing service members to ensure there is adequate time for the member to express breast milk during the workday.  

Space Requirements  

A space must be available for nursing mothers, units may create or convert a temporary space for expressing breast milk or make space available when needed by the nursing employee. The space must NOT be a bathroom. The location must include lighting, a chair, a table, electrical outlets, and access to a water source. If not dedicated to the nursing employees’ use, the area must be available when the employee needs. Units may also create permanent, dedicated spaces for nursing employees or procure portable lactation suites. 

Breast milk storage 

Policy changes also remove barriers to appropriate storage of breast milk and lactation equipment. Breast milk may now be stored inside securable containers within a workspace or dining facility refrigerator or freezer. Additionally, lactation equipment may be stored in medical spaces.  

Questions regarding purchasing and installing equipment should be directed to your Regional Support Team or Base Senior Field Contracting Officer (SFCO). 

Questions regarding Health, Safety & Work-Life should be directed to your Safety and Environmental Health Officer (SEHO) or visit: 

Questions regarding civilian policy should be directed to COMDT (CG-122): 

Questions regarding changes to military policy should be directed to COMDT (CG-133): 


Supervisors: How to support breastfeeding in the field > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News ( 

Nursing mothers on temporary orders to be reimbursed for breast milk shipping and storage  > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News ( 

The Parental Leave Program is renewed for another year > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News ( 

Parent Resources| Office of Work-Life Programs (CG-111) ( 

About Breastfeeding | Breastfeeding | CDC 

Breastfeeding resources | Office on Women's Health ( 

FLSA Protections to Pump at Work | U.S. Department of Labor ( 

H.R.2617 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 | | Library of Congress 

ALCOAST 242/23 Update to Pregnancy in the Coast Guard