Tips for Talking to Your Employer about Breastfeeding

July 17, 2012

After spending a few months navigating the countless adventures of becoming a mom, the thought of returning to work can be quite intimidating. Don’t let it be. Begin talking to your employer about your breastfeeding needs and come up with a plan for pumping at work. Also, reach out to other breastfeeding or pumping moms to see what may have worked for them. We’ll walk you through some tips for communicating with your employer, so your breastfeeding goals can be supported in the workplace.

Explain the benefits of breastfeeding. Make sure your employer is familiar with the benefits of breastfeeding and talk about why it’s so important to you. Remember, breastfed babies typically have fewer and less severe illnesses, so that means less time off work caring for a sick baby. Also, it can be valuable to mention that the AAP recommends moms provide breastmilk for a baby’s first year of life, and you want to do everything to give your baby the best start possible.

Know your rights. Employers are required by law to provide “reasonable break” of time for moms to provide breastmilk for their babies in a place other than a bathroom. So, work with your employer to determine what breaks you’ll take and where you’ll pump. Some moms have the privacy of their own office to pump in, while others find empty offices or meeting rooms a comfortable option. Regardless, make sure you’re able to agree on a place where you feel comfortable. Communicating these plans allows your employer to understand how you’ll manage your workload and responsibilities as a mother. Most likely after this understanding is reached, you’ll have an employer who gladly supports your breastfeeding goals.

Be honest about your needs. You know your body best, so make sure you’re able to create a workplace environment that supports your breastfeeding goals. Explain how often you need to pump in order to maintain supply, and ensure you have a comfortable and private place to do so. You’ll be a more focused and productive employee when you don’t have to stress about the nourishment of your little one.

How did you talk to your employer about your pumping needs? Share your experiences in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Tips for Talking to Your Employer about Breastfeeding

  1. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that understands a breastfeeding mom’s needs. In 2010 after the law was passed they built a small library and a separate Mother’s Room. It is a cozy room with a mini fridge for milk storage, cabinets for pump items, chair & foot stool, lamp and reading materials. I check out a key at our front desk and it is locked. I typically pump 3x per day. I also have to ‘treat’ my milk by scalding in a bottle warmer due to high lipase content. My whole process takes approx 30 mins. It is very comfortable & my boss is very understanding & supportive. He has two young kids also & that really helps! If you are not feeling supported get help because you really need to be calm at work to keep up your supply & continue your breast feeding which is truly the best for mom & baby (and the future of humanity if you want to get philosophical!) ;-)

    • Wow, that’s wonderful! It sounds like you have amazing support at work. So true that you need to be calm + comfortable while pumping – thank you for sharing your experience. We hope more employers follow suit. -Kathy

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