Breastfeeding at work ■
_If you've ever tried to pump at work, you know it's not easy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended that babies be fed breastmilk for at least one year. Breastmilk has been shown to have these benefits:
In reality, though, not many mothers breastfeed their babies as long as recommended. By the time their babies are twelve months old, only 23.8 percent of U.S. mothers are still breastfeeding, partly because women who return to work soon after giving birth are less likely to breastfeed long-term.
A new U.S. law signed on March 30, 2010, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, may help. This law states that employers must provide both time and a space for new mothers to pump breast milk for their babies until those babies are one year old. It also says that your employer must provide a clean, private room that is not a bathroom so you can express milk (no more sitting on the toilet with your pump, and no more co-workers barging in on you!).
In addition, many states have laws to protect the rights of breastfeeding mothers. Most states allow women to breastfeed in public--that's right, you don't have to cover up. Some states also have laws about breastfeeding in the workplace. If you're wondering what your workplace can do to help, here are a few ideas:
How to Support Breastfeeding at Work:
These policies pay off: After implementing a corporate lactation program at one company in California, 75 percent of new mothers were still breastfeeding when their babies were six months of age (compare this to 10 percent of mothers employed full-time nationally). Many companies reap the rewards for promoting breastfeeding in other ways:
Breastfeeding helps families, too. For mothers, breastfeeding:
The increased health of both mother and baby means that both parents take less time off work, and deal with less stress and medical expenses. And, of course, breastfeeding is the cheapest way to feed a baby, and can save a family thousands compared to formula.
_ There was one supervisor (not my direct supervisor) who noticed I took two breaks a day in a locked room. She said that I spend a lot of time pumping and I still take a lunch. I felt pretty violated by the comment, especially since she talked to male employees, and she didn't know my work ethic, nor did it affect her at all... I think if a working mother has to pump, shouldn't it be her and her supervisor's business to know when she is not working, for how long, and how much she gets done when she is?