Hi Kelly! I am a working mom, and during my breaks I try to pump milk at work (my son is 5-months old). Try, being the operative word here, because there really is no space for me to pump and store my milk. I usually do it my cubicle or in the restroom, but the latter isn’t sanitary, so I avoid it. I was wondering if you had any advice, and have you ever had this experience while breastfeeding Tristan? -Tricia
Hello Tricia! I’ve been breastfeeding Tristan for 18 months now so I know how much of an effort it is to nurse your baby/pump and store milk. It takes dedication and hard work to keep this up, especially when you go to work or the office, or when you’re taking care of more than just one child. Let me just say, you’re doing a terrific job of providing your baby with the best kind of food possible. Breastmilk has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat–everything your baby needs to grow. Plus, it contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria (it has also been known to lower your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies). And breastfed babies have been known to have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhea, and overall, fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor. It really is the best for your baby!
The hard part about breastfeeding is (apart from the initial pains that come with it): going back to work! It really is so difficult for us moms because while we would rather stay home and take care of our babies, we also have to work and earn a living. Working moms usually have two options: (1) bring your baby with you to work, which usually isn’t allowed, or (2) pump during your breaks at work, which is what you are doing. Can I just say, you are a super mom! Because I’ve chosen to bring Tristan with me everywhere I go, which can be challenging (especially when my nanny can’t make it to work), but I can only imagine how much more difficult it is to leave your baby and pump on a schedule at work. First, you have to think of a million things, like cleaning/sterilizing all the attachments of your breast pump, finding a quiet place for you to pump in peace, bringing a cooler to store your pumped milk, and many more! I guess we both have our own set of challenges as working moms, and we just try our best to make do with the situation.
One thing we mommies forget is that it is actually our right to breastfeed. I mean, did you know it is actually in the law that we have rights to breastfeed our baby at work and in public? I wasn’t aware of this at first until I finally became a mom and it has been essential to breastfeed Tristan in public.
The expanded breastfeeding promotion act of 2009 is a national policy encouraging, protecting and supporting the practice of breastfeeding. It shall create an environment where basic physical, emotional, and psychological needs of mothers and infants are fulfilled through the practice of rooming in and breastfeeding.
This means that all establishments need to have a clean and safe breastfeeding station, including the office. This is a good issue to raise in your workplace if they don’t comply with this yet because this is our actual right to have it. That’s why we’ve been seeing more breastfeeding stations and family rooms in shopping malls, because of this law. And if your office hasn’t implemented this yet, it might be time to talk to your HR about it. The law says your office has to provide you with a safe place to breastfeed and store your milk, and you’re allowed breaks, too. These break intervals should include the time it takes for you to walk to and from your workstation to the company’s lactation station. The law mandates that these are considered compensated hours. And although the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) can approve adjustments, the law requires not less than 40 minutes of lactation break for every 8-hour working period. With this, breastfeeding moms can have 2-3 breast milk expressions lasting 15-30 min each within a workday.
As for me, I basically breastfeed anywhere (I prefer a nice, quiet space though), and that includes restaurants, stores (I sometimes ask to use their dressing rooms) and waiting areas. I just bring my nursing cover with me for modesty sake, and most of the time people don’t realize I am actually breastfeeding until Tristan’s head pops out of the cover. I think this is something we moms have to fight for and normalize. And as much as possible, we should try to inform other people about it so they are made aware of our right to breastfeed. If you think about it, breastfeeding should be the most normal thing in the world! We are feeding our child our own milk, which is the best food for our babies. There should be no shame or malice in it, and definitely we shouldn’t be forced to breastfeed in the toilet! I hope I’ve shed some light on your rights as a breastfeeding mom–remember, we should feel free to feed!
This question was raised by a fellow mom from Natalac’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NatalacForBestFeeding. Click LIKE to join our growing breastfeeding community! ❤