Since returning to work, I’ve become somewhat fascinated/obsessed with the practice of pumping at work**. Pumping while at work has been sort of a necessary evil for me as I try to reach the one-year mark of breastfeeding my baby boy. I diligently pump twice a day while away from Lenny, but I’ve developed a physical reaction to pumping–I get a wave of nausea every time the pump latches on. Needless to say, while I am fortunate to be able to breastfeed and do enjoy nursing my son, I just may throw myself a little party when I no longer have to pump. But I digress.
Pumping at work is hard enough, so it is essential that employers are supportive of breastfeeding moms. Us Nutmeg-State-ers are actually among the lucky few; Connecticut is one of only twelve states that mandate any sort of workplace pumping requirements. Melanie has written an excellent post discussing the Connecticut law. In a nutshell:
Employers are required to provide a private, lockable space that is NOT A BATHROOM.
Employers need to allow reasonable break time for the act of pumping and for set-up and break-down of equipment. Depending on the employer, this time may be above and beyond the regular break policy provided to other employees.
You cannot be disciplined or discriminated against because you are taking the time to pump at work.
Employers must make this accommodation for up to one year after the child’s birth, if necessary.
Please do read Melanie’s post on the subject. My post is not intended to be a discussion of the law; I am certainly no lawyer and Melanie is the expert here.
After reading this article about where moms pump in Seattle, I was inspired to reach out to Connecticut moms to submit photos of where they pump while at work. I have to say, in general I was pleasantly surprised at the spaces our local moms submitted. For the most part, you’re given a comfortable chair or couch and plenty of space for your pumping equipment in a dedicated, clean and private room. Many rooms have a sink, lockers and a refrigerator. There are some rooms with extra equipment, like a microwave or telephone, and one mom jokingly adds to her caption, “Note: I don’t know what the projector is for.” Some rooms are cozy and nicely decorated, others are a bit more clinical. Some of you pump in your private offices, some of you pump in your cars, some of you pump in your empty classrooms. Those of you that submitted photos seemed generally happy with your lactation rooms. Those that aren’t–the mom who has to pump in a hot attic, or the mom who struggles daily with restrictions placed on her by an uncooperative employer–please speak up. It is within your legal rights for your employer to make reasonable accommodations in allowing you to pump at work. While I would love to think that I didn’t see too many less-than-stellar lactation rooms because all of you working moms are overjoyed with your accommodations, I imagine I didn’t hear from many of you unhappy mommas for privacy reasons. And that’s okay. I only hope that you do assert yourselves to your employers if you feel the situation needs to change, and that employers that see these photos will take a second look at their own lactation rooms and pumping policies for any areas for improvement.
What follows is a compilation of our reader-submitted photos with their own captions describing their spaces. Mommas, show us where you pump!
Other responses we received without pictures were:
“I’m currently out of work for the summer, but I have to pump in the nurse’s office.”
“I’m not pumping anymore but when I did I had to pump in my car because I’m on the road all day as a home care nurse.”
Please continue the conversation–are you happy with where you pump at work? Let us know!