'Help a Mama Out' Topic of the Week:
Tips for Talking with Your Boss about Pumping
What's your best tip for discussing your pumping rights/schedule with your boss?
Shelly Hovies Rogers: Be assertive with your rights, but be flexible and willing to work with your boss and coworkers. I found my workplace to be quite accommodating to me when I nicely, but matter of fact, told them what I needed. Also, although I didn’t have to quote the state law, I familiarized myself with it, just in case I needed to use it.
Kelly Reyes: Before I left for maternity leave, I discussed my need to pump with my boss and then HR, just to make sure we were all on the same page. When I had issues with the way the ‘wellness room’ schedule was being managed, my boss went to bat for me and fixed the problem that day!
Marie Bishop: My best advice is to know the law and stand up for yourself and your baby. In states, such as California, it is required by law that your employer provides a non-restroom space that is private for you to pump.
Meggin Dueckman: We just talked about it! We’re all pretty close at work, so it was no problem. I was the first of our staff to want/need to pump at work. Mind you, here in Canada we get a year of maternity leave, so it’s not as common for people to want to pump as frequently when they return to work. I only pumped 1 times a day at work, more for my own comfort!
Jamie Howell Swope: As a teacher at a school, it wasn’t an easy process, but I went in knowing the law and advised my principal ahead of time why I wanted to meet with her. That way she had time to think about how to make it work, too.
Kat Picson Berling: I was really lucky in that 2 of my coworkers were pumping moms, so they had paved the way. I told my boss that I was going to take 2 pumping breaks at x and y time and I will be in this office and it will take 15 minutes. He was fine with it. I’m not going to lie…. Because I had a cubicle at work, it was sometimes difficult to find a place to pump. Even our HR coordinator wasn’t sympathetic for me. Just make sure to know the law.
Chantel McComber: My advice would be to put your fears aside. Sometimes it’s hard as a working mom to ask for things because not everyone has them. Remember that you are doing this for your health and your baby’s health and those are two things that should always come first.
Jennifer Haak: When I discussed my date of return, I told my boss that I needed a lock installed on my office door and I explained why.
Andrea Blanco: First, know your right. Be sure that your company falls under those rights. Then file that information away and try *not* to use it as it can be perceived as a threat (and no one likes to be threatened.) Second, have a plan in place. I find that if you’re willing to have the conversation in advance, go into it as sweet as possible, and have it all planned out as to how it will work for you (with consideration given to work environment/demands/pumping law.) Then, it is much harder for your employer to say no.
For the United States Lactation Accommodation laws, check out Break Time for Nursing Mothers