Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go…. Part 2

Making Plans with your Employer

So, now you should have mastered the pump, built a small supply of milk in your freezer, and introduced a bottle to your little one. No problem, right? Next step, get your employer on board for giving you your well-earned break to pump while at work. Sometimes, this is a no-brainer. If you live in a state like California, businesses with more than 50 employees are mandated to give breastfeeding moms pumping breaks and supply a clean, private space to pump (which cannot be a bathroom stall.) Other states do not have such laws in place, so you might be paving the way in your business for you and future breastfeeding moms. Either way, it is helpful to know your rights and how to be proactive to get what you deserve: time to pump so that you have something to feed your breastfeeding baby. Let’s get all of your ducks in a row so that this is an easy process for you.

Reasons Why Pumping at Work is Good for Your Employer

Sometimes it is helpful to have a list of reasons why allowing a mom time to pump at work is beneficial for her employer. Bosses like to look at the bottom line. Here’s a handy-dandy list of reasons to share with your boss:

• A study of multiple companies with lactation support programs found an average retention rate of 94.2%

• One-day absences to care for sick children occur more than twice as often for mothers of formula feeding infants.

• Businesses with lactation support have lower turnover rates, higher employee satisfaction, and additional health care savings.

All of this information, and more, can be found in the Business Case for Breastfeeding: For Business Managers


What You Would Like for Your Employer to Provide


A pumping mom needs very few things from her employer to continue making milk for her baby. Really, all you are looking for is a private, clean space (that is not in a bathroom) with outlets, a comfy chair, and a lock. An optimal break time is about 20 minutes: 15 minutes to pump, 5 minutes for set-up/clean-up. You should be able to take a break every few hours, since you will need to pump as many times as you are missing that breastfeeding session with your baby. It is amazing how efficient you will become in your pumping space. The supplies you will probably have to provide will be a pump/pump pieces and freezer bags (in which to keep your pumped milk.) Some savvy employers may provide a small fridge to keep your milk in and a super comfy space. Others may provide the bare minimum. Regardless, it is your right and you can make it happen!


What Should You Do if Your Employer Does Not Provide Pumping Breaks for You?


Check out your federal rights at the Workplace Support in Federal Law web site. All of your rights are there in front of you. You can make it happen!


Next time: Your First Week Back to Work