Success Stories for Finding Time for Milk Expression
I was a Speech Language Professional working in a public elementary school. I had my own private office to pump in. I was able to work on paperwork at my computer while pumping, which was so convenient. I was able to make my own daily schedule, so I just scheduled my speech therapy session and IEP meetings around my pumping schedule. When I returned to work, I informed my school administration of my pumping plan – they just asked that I delineate those times in the weekly schedule I posted outside my office door. We also had a classroom teacher who was pumping and they had a para go in her classroom twice a day all year long so the teacher could go pump.
I was working for our city Recreation Department and was fortunate to have my own office with a lock. My team (mostly women, but several men were aware and equally supportive) was super supportive of me taking the time I needed to pump…a few of the veteran moms would remind me that they hadn’t heard my pump recently and shouldn’t I get on that before our next meeting. I typically set my own schedule and was able to arrange pumping session as needed, and supported if I chose to leave for a “nursing lunch” with baby, and generally found that any challenges were of my own making. I typically did computer work while pumping – quickly found that the pump was too loud for phone calls with anyone not “in the know” about the source of the background noise.
I was a server when my daughter was born. Whenever the rush was over, I’d give my manager some heads up so that I could pump. He’d finish some things in the office and clear out so that I could have some privacy. I was able to lock the door, and put up a sign so that nobody would just walk right in. I must say that even though most of my coworkers were men, everyone was extremely supportive. I initiated the conversation the day I went back to work (I think she was 3 months old at the time). I was so nervous to ask him where I could it privately, but he immediately suggested the office and asked how often and how long I’d need. Once in a while I had to miss a pumping session, but overall it worked out.
I work in an office/lab at the NOAA campus and it’s been great. There is a room with a fridge and a couch, and sometimes a couple of people are in there at the same time, but it’s never been a problem. I found out about it from another woman who had babies and I did have to apply for access (we use badges to get in the outside doors and they had to add lactation room access to mine) but that part was easy. The only downside was there is no sink in the room so I had to wash my pump parts in the common kitchen area shared with a bunch of (mostly male) coworkers. That led to some awkward interactions but no one actually said anything and I just refused to be embarrassed about it. In terms of finding times to pump there were a few busy days, but for the most part I had no problem fitting it in.
Hospital (12 hour shifts)
I am a nurse working at a hospital with 12 hour shifts, so I needed to be efficient with my pumping time and I needed my time covered by someone with the right skills and credentials. I was able to bring my pump and set it up before my shift, so when I had a quick break I could go into the lactation room and pump, without spending the time to put it all together. Then when I was done I put everything in my cooler – I didn’t spend time breaking it down or washing the parts each time. At the end of my shift I stored the milk, washed the parts, and took my cooler of milk and everything home. It was a bit more work to always have a designated coworker to cover me during my breaks, but my supervisor helped with that and I have offered to cover more break time for others in return.