You’ve welcomed your new little one into the world, started to get the hang of breastfeeding and spent countless hours cuddling. Unfortunately, it’s almost time for you to return to work and begin providing for your baby in a different way. For a new mom, talking about breastfeeding or pumping to coworkers can take a little getting used to, especially if they aren’t well educated about the benefits of breastmilk. So, we’ve compiled some tips to make these conversations with supervisors, coworkers and critics open and easy.
Have a plan
While pregnant, start thinking about a plan for pumping at work. Many moms find it easiest to pump once in the morning, over lunch and in the afternoon. Others find their pumping routine varies based on meetings and schedules throughout the day. Think about what would work best for you and your baby’s needs.
Start with your supervisors
It best to start a conversation with your supervisor before you take your maternity leave. That way expectations are set before baby even comes. Keep in mind that employers are required to provide a reasonable break for you to pump or breastfeed throughout the day. If you work closely with other employees, feel free to talk about your plan with them too. Ideally, open communication about your needs will yield the best work environment for a pumping mom. This is the time to talk about how you’ll manage your work responsibilities and take the necessary breaks for pumping. Also, find out if there are other coworkers you can approach who have successfully pumped while at work. What tips can they share with you?
Explain the benefits
If you are met with criticism by coworkers or supervisors, share the benefits breastmilk-feeding has for your little one and remind them of the rights of working mothers. If this approach makes you uncomfortable, focus on communicating with your supervisor and coming to an agreement. Don’t feel obligated to talk to each coworker about your personal decision to breastfeed. You know what’s best for your baby and you don’t need to justify that to anyone. It’s your legal right to pump in the workplace, so never feel embarrassed or second-guess your decision to provide the best nutrition possible for your little one.
How did you talk to your supervisors and coworkers about pumping at work? Share your suggestions in the comments below.