Skip to main content

Breast-feeding moms overcome workplace challenges

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was determined to nurse.

Despite working full-time, I imagined it would be simple to adhere to the American Academy of Pediatric’s recommendation to exclusively breast-feed for a year.

I was devastated when dwindling supply led to weaning my 6-month-old infant.

Meetings and calls disrupted my pumping schedule. I was clueless that supply problems are so common that homeopathic Mother’s Milk tea is sold at my neighborhood grocer. I missed out on La Leche League support because I expected to hear repetition of the lactation consultant’s advice.

Simpsonville pharmacist Jen Edwards also experienced supply trouble.

“I struggled to get enough time to pump to keep up with demand,” Edwards said.

Edwards divided her lunch into two shorter breaks and ate while pumping, supplementing breast milk with formula.

“I ended up pumping in my car a lot,” Edwards said. “Overall, not a fun experience.”

Erica Stasiek of Pendleton also felt crunched for time.

“As a hairdresser, my biggest challenge was finding enough time to complete a full pumping session,” Stasiek said. “I had super-supportive bosses, but it was difficult to just set aside time to actually slow down and pump.”

Amanda Manly was once told to use a work restroom to pump.

“But I asked my very kind HR manager if she would eat her lunch in there,” she said. “Then, I was given an office. I chose a day care close to work, so I pumped twice during the day, and then went to nurse (son) Roman at lunch every day. Things at work got really crazy for a while. During a particularly busy week, a co-worker and I had a big deadline and no time to pause. So we threw on our nursing covers and pumped together in the conference room while we worked. Whatever it takes to feed your baby, right?”

Know your rights

The Affordable Care Act requires insurance to provide a pump or pump rental and gives nursing moms federal protections in the workplace. Companies with 50 or more employees must provide adequate time and space — not a restroom — for pumping.