Breastfeeding At Work Can Be A Touchy Topic
Transitioning back to the office after the arrival of baby comes with the touchy topic of breastfeeding at work.
All working moms know the feeling – the uncertainty and chaos that comes with getting back to work with a baby.
In addition to the landslide of new responsibilities at home, working mothers have the added pressure of proving themselves again.
And for many women, the stress of maintaining an air of professionalism while being sleep deprived is compounded. If you are not breastfeeding at work you need to pump three to four bottles of breastmilk every day.
There’s a reason that moms are real life superheroes. Do you think Batman could have handled this kind of pressure? Not a chance.
We know breastfeeding at work has lasting positive impacts on your child, but what should those policies look like?
And how to you start the conversation with your leadership about the best plan when coming back to the office?
Why It’s Time to Have “The Talk” with Your Boss
Most of us avoid uncomfortable conversations with company leadership.
The odds that you’re eager to sit down and discuss your pumping schedule with your boss is probably slim. But there are ways we can help you have this essential conversation with your boss.
Knowing your rights, having a plan, and having support are all keys to a successful transition back to work.
Remember there are many women who have paved the way for successful breastfeeding at work.
Thankfully, there is data to back up how beneficial a supportive environment is to both you and your employer.
Your company should be eager to work with you to form a successful transition.
Before The Talk About Breastfeeding At Work
• Know your rights. You can find more specific information about your rights here.
• Don’t jump to conclusions. Hear out your employer and commit to developing a plan together.
• Have an idea of what your pumping schedule will look like. This will help you and your employer manage expectations and set a clear path to success.
• Discuss options. Is it possible to have a more flexible schedule for the first few weeks if you are breastfeeding at work.
• What does the company landscape look like for breastfeeding? Does your company provide the necessary space and supplies?
• Chat with other women at work who have or are breastfeeding at work. Is there anything that could have worked better for them? Now is the time to ask for it.
There are also companies like MommaWork who strategically support mothers in their transition back to work. Their aim is to educate executives around the country on the expectations and benefits of cultures who support breastfeeding at work.
Their team encourages parents to reach out to them if they are uncomfortable having a conversation with leadership. If required, they are happy to have the conversation for you.
Have The Conversation About Breastfeeding At Work Early
As a sleep deprived new mom know that companies are “waking up” to the benefits of supporting you. This means in your return to the workplace and your breastfeeding journey.
Recent updates in many state lactation accommodation laws require companies to have lactation policies for employees.
Written lactation policies remove the anxiety new moms face when coming back and breastfeeding at work.
With your rights and protections laid out, everyone is on the same page and the company message becomes crystal clear.
This allows you to return from family leave confident that your employer has already thought through your logistical needs.
One less thing you need to worry about so you can get back to what you are there to do – work.
Companies That Support Breastfeeding At Work Are Thriving
So are you determined to sit down with your HR rep and figure out the best plan for you? That’s great news.
Thankfully many companies are seeing the remarkable benefits of offering corporate lactation support services. They understand why they should go above and beyond the legal requirements for breastfeeding and pumping at work.
If you want to really impress HR when you discuss your breastfeeding at work plan then give these figures.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that for every dollar a company spends on its corporate lactation programs, it will receive a 300% return on investment.
Corporate lactation programs that are thoughtfully implemented and contribute greatly to a company’s bottom line.
They help companies:
Attract, motivate and retain top talent
Lower health care costs
Support positive public relations
Ensure employee satisfaction
Most companies support mothers who are breastfeeding at work.
The best time to talk to your boss about your company’s lactation policy is probably as soon as possible.
You need to understand the benefits you are entitled to as a working mother.
Do some research before having this conversation. If you get the facts around breastfeeding at work it will benefit you, your newborn, and your employer.
We have lots more great parenting advice in this article.
You can do it, mom. You’re a superhero after all, and it’s time your company celebrates your breast, pump and cape.
Debi Yadegari is the Founder and CEO of MommaWork. Once a Wall Street lawyer, she is now a Certified Lactation Counselor, breastfeeding expert and mother of five. Prior to MommaWork, Debi was a successful attorney at a top Wall Street law firm and served as in-house counsel at a leading international investment bank. In 2005, however, she traded her brief case for a diaper bag and has been supporting breastfeeding mothers and working parents ever since.