2/6/09

Pumping at work

I went back to work when Jude was just 7 weeks old while exclusively breastfeeding him, I was very worried about pumping while at work. Would I be able to pump? Would I have the time? Would I pump enough? Would my co-workers think It was strange?

The answer is simple, with dedication and support from your employer it is possible and even enjoyable to pump at work.

I am blessed enough to say that 10 months later I am still pumping at work. 2-3 times a day even. I am lucky to have my own office that I can lock myself into. Not all working moms have it so good, and when it comes to supporting pumping moms not all jobs are created equal.

I had a friend that was unable to exclusively breastfeed because her work didn't have anywhere she could pump, she tried pumping in her car in the parking lot but for obvious reasons felt it was not private enough.

Oklahoma state law requires only that employers give mothers the option of nursing during their lunch breaks or during unpaid breaks. Perhaps realizing that this law offered very little beyond "you can do it and won't get fired for it", Oklahoma introduced new programs to encourage both mothers and employers to make every effort to make a good situation for everyone.

Companies in Oklahoma are now recognized for their efforts in promoting breast-feeding and its awareness. To be recognized, a company has to offer flexible break times for mothers to handle their business as well as a clean, private area with a sink nearby. A written policy on breast-feeding must be on display for employees to consult.

In case you are feeling that you should do more, your company can earn a "gold star", which means that you go beyond what's required for recognition and even offer a refrigerator to store breast milk and a hospital-grade breast pump.

I am sure there is some reluctance about implementing such policies, but I'm not sure I understand why.

A company that would go beyond the law is likely one to recognize the importance of home and work life balance and appreciate it not to mention the fact that employers should know that a breastfeed baby is generally a healthy baby which means less days off for mom taking baby to the doctor.

Oklahoma businesses, I challenge your companies to be recognized for your support efforts for pumping moms!

Referenced from: http://www.management-issues.com/2008/2/12/blog/gold-star-for-oklahoma.asp

Helpful links:
http://www.bluesuitmom.com/career/balance/breastfeedingatwork.html
http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJanFeb05p18.html
http://www.babycenter.com/0_breastfeeding-and-the-working-mom_641.bc
http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/t025400.asp
http://www.breastpumps.com/pumping_at_work_a/130.htm

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