In case you weren’t aware (which if you are an avid “mommy blog” reader you definitely do) August is National Breastfeeding Month. I was too nervous to post this story before because I didn’t want any backlash from my employer at the time, but now that can’t happen and it should be shared.
A co-worker and myself are both breastfeeding mothers, so obviously we both have to pump. She had been pumping since she returned to work in January and I had only been back to work a couple of weeks. We had worked out a schedule with each other, as well as our manager, to try to avoid being off the phones at the same time (we worked in a call center). One day our manager calls my co-worker into the office for a meeting, I am to go separately a half hour later. After my co-worker finishes her meeting, I am instantly worried. She looks furious. So I go in and am told our call volume is off the charts, and they’ll need me to pump either within my 15 min break (not allowed to go over) or only on lunch….
Just let this sink in for just a minute.
The stunned look that is probably on your face right now, was definitely on mine. I was already struggling to pump enough milk throughout the day as it was, and with this added pressure it was only getting worse. My manager advised me that upper management was looking into it further, but that was the ultimate goal. If you have ever pumped before you’ll know that trying to set up, pump, clean everything off, and store said milk cannot be done in less than 15 min. It takes 15 min alone to pump.
I walked out of her office flabbergasted. All of those unanswered calls are my fault because I spend an extra 30 min TOTAL off the phone a day to provide food for my child. I sat down stunned, my co-worker (who has had a few minutes to digest this information) is on a path of destruction. The reason I was told “upper management is looking further into it” was because of her. She was much more versed in the legalities of breastfeeding than I was. I knew that there were laws protecting breastfeeding mothers in public, but at work?
Luckily she had pointed out to them that what they were asking wasn’t legal at all! By the time I sat down she had already found the websites showing the laws in our state. She was printing them and highlighting what applied to our situation. A couple of days later and a complaint to HR , we suddenly had another meeting. This time it was both of us, our manager, her manager, and an HR representative apologizing for the confusion. Then she proceeded to tell us that “we didn’t mean you couldn’t pump, you just have to be mindful of how long it’s taking you”. This did little to ease the stress they had created.
Do not, for any reason, let your employer bully you. Stand up for yourself, as well as your baby, and make it clear that it’s not okay for them to ask you to do this! Here’s a little information that could help if you are facing a similar situation. Breastfeeding isn’t as easy as the movies make it look… don’t let your employer make it any harder!
**FYI – The World Health Organizaiton (WHO) suggests we breastfeed until your little on is 2 years.**