Pumping Breastmilk At Work
Pumping Breastmilk At Work
Corky Harvey & Wendy Haldeman (Board Certified Lactation Consultants/Co-Owners of The Pump Station) gives expert video advice on: Should I tell my boss before I start pumping at work?; Do I have a right to pump my breastmilk at work?; How long does it take to pump? and more...
Should I tell my boss before I start pumping at work?
Well I think it's a great idea to have communication with your boss. I think it's a great idea to take your baby to the workplace so that everybody gets a chance to see this baby and be real about it. And I would make an appointment and have a conversation with my boss. I might go armed with the state law, depending on what my relationship with this person is to say…. And I would be a part of the solution. In other words, I would say... Let's say you have an office door that closes, that's easy and you might want to get a sign to put out. I think women should take themselves lightly, I think a little humor involved it's great. I saw one sign once, that was just a real cute little sign that said “Moo” and it had a bow on it. And another said “Mother working”. Something clever that you can put up that everyone knows if they open the door that's what you're doing. You might also go with a list of things that why you're going to be a better employee because your breast feeding. You miss less days. And if he or she is going to provide you the place you can pump you need to get your work done even if you have to stay later, come early, stay late, do whatever and being a good employee. But if it's a janitor's closet that you are going to have to pump in, paint it, put posters up. Be helpful to others who are doing this, some women share pumps in the workplace, et cetera. You need a refrigerator, if you don't, you can get a cooler at your desk. So there's ways to do this, no matter what. So I think a conversation is great. I also had a woman tell me recently that she's a sales person; she does a lot of sales calls, a lot of over the phone sales. She sent a birth announcement to each one of her people that she would be making, just to let them know what life space she was in. I thought that was such a clever idea, just to make them aware that she's breast feeding and she's nursing. I think you definitely have to bring your boss on board. Because they need to understand that you do need timely breaks and that they have to be somewhat predictable; that you can't wait long periods and do it and why that is. That you need a place to pump that's not the bathroom that you can go and do it. That you're not going to take advantage; this is what you need to do, but if you need to come in earlier or stay later, you're willing to do that. And that you're going to have a healthier baby and therefore you're going to be at work more. Less insurance paid out.
Do I have a right to pump my breastmilk at work?
You are entitled to do that but you're not entitled to more time. In other words, the law provides you with X number of minutes for breaks. So if you need more time than that, then you may have to negotiate that with your boss by coming in earlier or staying late.
Where should I store my breastmilk at work?
Well, there are a lot of different options. It should be cold; breast milk can sit out at room temperature for five hours. But if it is going to be longer than that, it should be refrigerated. So, it could be refrigerated if you have a refrigerator at work. A lot of moms will put a designated little carrier in the refrigerator so people know not to use it. You don't put it in a cream pitcher; it should be closed. Or, if you don't have a refrigerator, then you can get little cooler cases, and as long as it has blue ice around it - so you freeze it every morning, put it in your case - that can be under your desk. It can be in four blue ice packs for 24 hours. I've seen people take little two-beer coolers, put loose ice in there, or ice in zip lock bags, and keep it around their milk. So those are your options, you can do that. And then you put it in your case and go home. Certain kinds of pumps actually have a cooler case in them, and you can use those at work, and then just put it in the bag and out you go.
Should I cover up If I'm able to breastfeed at work?
If I'm at work breastfeeding, I'm probably not going to cover up. It depends on what I suppose the environment I'm in. I'm trying to think of different work situations that might be difficult but if everybody knows I'm breastfeeding, I've got a picture, I've got my baby with me, they know I'm breastfeeding. I'm going just nurse without a cover up probably all the time.