I am lucky enough now to work from home, but after my first son was born, I returned to work for a couple of months.I was teaching, and I had promised to finish the school year. I had also committed to breastfeeding my baby. This meant that, along with lugging stacks of essays, I also was lugging a breast pump around the school building.So I can understand why women’s-health advocates pushed for the Affordable Care Act provision that employers with 50 or more workers provide a private room – not a bathroom – for nursing mothers to use breast pumps.I had Win in 2006. In 2006, in a public high school, a “private room” for pumping meant the unisex staff bathroom near the main office, the only room I could find with both a sink (for rinsing bottles) and a lock on the door. There was no chair, so I either stood there like cattle for 20 minutes during my lunch break, or I sat on the floor. Did I mention this was a unisex bathroom? Not to disparage either sex’s bathroom habits, or the efficacy of our school’s custodial staff, but: yuck.Did I mention that there was a little roach friend who would sometimes poke his head out from a crack in the tile?Sometimes I would lock the door of my classroom and pump in there, then re-dress and take the whole apparatus to the bathroom and rinse the bottles. My students would come back from lunch to find the door locked, and I was faced with the embarrassing admission that I had been performing a reproductive function in the very spot where these teenagers diagrammed sentences. Yuck.Even so, I have a quarrel with the Affordable Care Act. What is the point of compelling only larger workplaces to provide a space for nursing mothers? What about women in small businesses, or women in workplaces where breast pumping just isn’t feasible?I’m not saying that the law should cover all workplaces. And I understand that every woman doesn’t have the choice to stay at home when it comes to the point that she’d rather nurse her baby directly than serve him thawed, questionably clean milk.I am saying that, perhaps, these provisions in the law aren’t really going to do anything to help women.Even if they do, that’s not the justification for the law. Supporters cite improvements in children’s health when babies are breastfed. As further encouragement of breastfeeding, the law requires insurance companies to completely cover the cost of breast pumps. The improvements in children’s health, say advocates of this measure, should outweigh the cost of the pumps.Of course, I am a firm believer in breastfeeding, else I wouldn’t have befriended a cockroach in order to maintain my milk supply. And it would have been nice, back in 2006, to have been handed $350 for a new breast pump. Instead, I borrowed a friend’s and attached new tubing.But my decision to continue breastfeeding had nothing to do with the availability of a pump. It had much more to do with the availability of a nap. Many women give up breastfeeding because it is much harder, at least at first, than bottle-feeding. It takes up to a month to establish a good rhythm of feeding; the baby has to learn to properly latch on, and not fall asleep in the middle. Moms must spend the hour between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. encouraging a tiny person to eat, then immediately encouraging him to go back to sleep now that he’s fed and wide awake.And even though the cost of the breast pumps is no longer a factor in the decision to breastfeed, there are unintended consequences of requiring insurers to fully cover their cost. A recent NPR story noted, “Weird things happen when you take price out of the equation for consumers. For one thing, they stop looking for the best price. But even though breast pumps are free for new moms, somebody has to pay for them.”That’s why, although I was completely committed to providing breast milk for my children, I am not so sure the government should be. It’s a very personal decision. Strange as it sounds, I’d rather pump milk in a unisex bathroom than have this decision bandied about in congressional committee. Like the freedom to make choices in any arena of private life, and like many aspects of parenting, breastfeeding is supposed to be a challenge. It takes a level of dedication that, on the whole, has much more to do with children’s health than does any isolated factor. You can’t legislate dedication, even with a $350 bonus. As both mothers and babies will attest, the best things in life – like breast milk and naps – are free.