After you give birth, all you can think about is having the baby moon of your dreams. Some parents are blessed and are able to stay at home with their babies. For most moms, especially working moms in the US, your maternity leave is over before you know it. I got 8 weeks after the birth. I mean, she still had her umbilical stump for Pete’s sake. But, I had done it before with my first baby, and I knew I could do it again.
Once again, I am nursing and working. Which means pumping every 3 hours. This means I needed to notify my manager and HR department when I came back to work. The first time I came back from maternity leave, I had no clue what to do, or how to tell my manager I needed the extra breaks. I pumped in my hot car for the first week. I took to Instagram to ask what other moms did. I was quickly informed that there are laws set in place that give mothers the right to pump on the job and take the necessary breaks needed. I mean, we are keeping someone else alive…it’s kind of a big deal.
Our Lactation Room Fiasco
I got online and printed out the Break time for Nursing mothers law and headed down to my HR department armed with literature and law. I was informed that my workplace didn’t have a lactation room. I presented the paperwork I had printed from online and was told that my HR department would work to get this going for me and that I was the first mother to come to them and request a lactation room.
The next day I was informed they had cleared out a storage room for my use. On my break, I went to the room to pump. I noticed the room was filthy, no table, no sink…nothing. Just dusty old books. I went back to HR and explained to them the need for cleanliness and a place to sit. Within the month they installed a sink and got me a table and chair.
It’s been a battle, let me tell ya. People did not grasp what the lactation room was for. They still don’t honestly. People go in there and take lunch breaks, they lock the door so no one can go in, we’ve walked in on people sitting at our pump table eating burgers (I’m vegan so that’s not cool!), or hanging out in there talking on the phones and we’ve had supplies stolen. HR has tried posting signs everywhere notifying others that it is NOT a designated breakroom, and that it’s for nursing moms only on tightly scheduled breaks. Still no luck. A fellow lactating coworker informed me she was making her own signs for the room because obviously the other 8 signs were not getting through to people.
So far, we’ve had no issues. We’ve had to leave the door closed and the occupied sign up to give the illusion someone is in there, but other than that, it’s been smooth milking. My manager and HR have been awesome about working with my many pump breaks during the day, and because of this I am able to continue nursing my baby and donate milk. If you are having issues at work, approach your HR with the laws in hand. You’ll be surprised how quickly your managers will work with you once they learn it is law, and if all else fails…make some signs! Happy lactating!
Don’t forget to check out my previous article: Giving back – Human milk for human babies
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