Pumping at Work: What Employers Can Do to Help Breastfeeding Moms

January 29, 2014
Pumping at Work: What Employers Can Do to Help Breastfeeding Moms

We still hear too often of moms having to fight for their right to use a breastpump at work. Fortunately, there are many laws in place that protect breastfeeding moms at their place of work, but it’s important to educate yourself and talk directly with your employer to set yourself up for success. You may also wish to share with your supervisor the benefits of breastfeeding and why continuing to provide breastmilk for your little one is so important.

Here are some ways that your employer can help support you in your breastfeeding goals:

  • Provide a designated nursing mothers room. The law requires that this room not be a bathroom and be hidden from view, but it’s also great to provide an extra-comfortable chair, preferably with arms, and make sure there are plenty of outlets for powering electric breastpumps.
  • Plan for storage. Breastfeeding moms will need to store milk in either a cooler with ice packs or in the fridge, so make room! If possible, allow moms to also store pumps, pump kits, and spare parts either in the nursing mothers room or in a cabinet nearby.
  • Allow for easy cleaning. Provide a sink somewhere close, if not in the nursing mothers room, for washing hands and rinsing pump parts.
  • Create an environment that supports breastfeeding moms and respects their parenting decisions. This might mean updating or creating a written company policy and communicating this policy to all employees.
  • Be flexible. Understand that pumping takes time, and although it may be possible to multitask in some instances, it’s not always comfortable (or convenient). Work with moms to adjust beginning and end times of work, time breaks when other employees can cover necessary tasks, and plan schedules ahead of time to reduce stress. Some companies even allow schedule options such as a gradual return to work or flex schedules to accommodate moms’ needs.

It’s also important to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding for employers – moms who breastfeed miss less work due to infant illness, have lower healthcare costs, and increased productivity, loyalty, and satisfaction.

What does your employer do to support breastfeeding moms? What do you wish they did better? We’d love to hear about your experiences.

13 thoughts on “Pumping at Work: What Employers Can Do to Help Breastfeeding Moms

  1. PLEASE HELP ME. I am asked by my employer to pump in a shower stall which is in the bathroom area. The toilets and shower stall are not separated by any wall or door. Is this allowed because it is surely disgusting and unsanitary.

    • Hi Eunice,

      We’re sorry to hear about your difficult pumping conditions at work. Have you tried talking to your company’s HR department or your supervisor about finding a better solution? We still hear too often of moms having to fight for their right to use a breastpump at work. Fortunately, there are many laws in place that protect breastfeeding moms at their place of work, but it’s important to educate yourself and talk directly with your employer to set yourself up for success. Here’s more information about what your rights are, and some advice on talking to your employer about finding a better solution: http://bit.ly/18061O1. Keep up the good work, mama!

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