A couple of days ago one our our HR staff asked me if she could ask me a question that was sorta personal but also work related.
"Sure" - what else am I going to say?
So she asks me how many times a day I pumped when I was nursing my son, in the beginning. Three times. I actually held up my fingers while saying this for extra emphasis.
"That's what I thought" she said - sounding a little disheartened.
So apparently one of the managers she oversees has a newly back-to-work mom who is nursing and (s)he is complaining that this employee is spending too much time pumping. It was a little sad to hear. Sad because, while my company actually does better than other companies in that they provide a room for us lactating mom's to pump, obviously some managers don't quite get it. My manager certainly got it. I never had anyone make any fuss about me going up to a room, hooking myself up to a pump and sit for 10+ minutes three times a day so I could provide breast milk to my son the first year of his life. I did manage to get some work done as I have a BlackBerry so I could at least answer emails. I guess I get that for some jobs it's hard to be away from your desk...but I see lots of people get up and go outside to smoke a cigarette three or four times a day...I'm going to guess most managers aren't raising a fuss about that. What would be great if companies (or - gasp - the government) would give women more than 12 weeks maternity leave so maybe we could stay home with our babies and not have to come back to work right away and figure out how we're going to continue to do our jobs while still pumping...but I don't want to get all crazy here.
I stopped pumping at work at around 11 months. I don't miss it one bit - OK, there are days I do miss the quiet time to myself, but I certainly don't miss having milk sucked out of my boobs. However I did it because I truly believe that giving your child breast milk (either direct from the source or in a bottle) helps ensure a great start to his/her life. I don't really expect my manager or any manager to actually care whether or not I want to provide this for my child. But I do expect managers to understand and follow federal law.
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