I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I’ve always been curious as to what happens with my work-away-from-home mom counterparts. I asked a friend of mine, Tiffany, if she would be willing to grant me an interview. Tiffany is a librarian in western New York. She has two children ages 6 years and 10 months.
The interview took place a few months ago. Since the interview was long, I’ve broken it down into topics. My questions are in bold italics and Tiffany’s responses are in regular font.
How long have you been pumping at work (including this child and your previous child)?
For my first child, my son, I pumped at work for 9.5 months. With my daughter, I’m on my seventh month of pumping, and I plan to continue to pump until she is a year old.
How did you go about notifying your boss that you intended to pump at work?
I work in a wonderful environment and did not have to officially ask for time to pump or anything like that. I have my own private office with a door that locks, so I could just pump whenever I needed to. I think that I mentioned it to my boss in my email to her about my return date.
Have you heard of the provision known as Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers? Has it affected you at work? Has this effect been positive or negative?(On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also known as Health Care Reform. In it one provision known as Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers went into immediate effect. It forced employers who had 50 or more employees to make better accommodations for mothers to pump at work. This included adequate break time and locations for pumping other than a bathroom where the mother would not be disturbed.)
I had not heard about this law specifically, although I knew that there were legal protections for nursing mothers at work. This is my second baby that I have pumped for at work, the first being back in 2006, and in both instances, I had had the same excellent experience with my employer on this issue.
Was it difficult to return to work and continue the breastfeeding relationship?
I found pumping at work to be seamless once I got a schedule for it down and started remembering to leave time for it in my availability for work commitments. It makes me feel good to know that although I’m at work, I’m providing this milk for my baby. It makes me feel closer to them in a special way.Of course, the first day that you return to work and leave your baby is an emotional one. I like my job and I did struggle with postpartum depression after the birth of my son. In some ways, returning to work was healthy for me mentally. But still, I wept each time that “first day” arrived. It’s very difficult.
What ways have you had to change your normal work routine to accommodate pumping?
The biggest issue is carving out the time to do it. I need to plan my daily schedule so that I have two intervals to pump around the same times each day. Thus, I have to factor those times into the meeting availability that I provide to others, and my ability to staff the reference desk, as I am a librarian.
Article by Laura Weirich
Laura Weirich has been married for four years and has two sons. She's been breastfeeding for nearly two years and currently tandem nurses her toddler and infant. A big proponent of breastfeeding, she's been educating her friends and family about the benefits of breastfeeding and helping other women along the way. When she's not nursing, she chases a toddler all day, washes cloth diapers, tries to catch a few zs and reads up on the latest research about children.
Laura has written 33 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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