Pumping at Work | spelhouseLove

Pumping at Work

Oh, just the thought of this hellish experience makes me want to avoid any activity that could possibly result in the creation of another human being. Pumping at work was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I took a five month maternity leave with Gadget, from August 2 to January 2. When I returned to work, there was no place for me to pump because I did not have an office. I definitely regret not moving into an empty office when the opportunity existed. A dear friend and former co-worker told me to move in and ask for forgiveness later, but I naively ignored his advice.

As a result, I found myself asking to borrow his office to pump in because there was no clean place to pump. The super ignorant and ridiculous HR manager asked me to pump in the bathroom. Oh the ignorance! She even had the gall the say, “but I thought pumps were self-contained”!!! As a result of not pumping for an entire day, I came home to find that I did not have enough milk for a full nursing and Gadget was still starving, so I gave him formula for the first time.

He broke out in hives along his body and had projectile vomiting. I was through. The next day I marched into work and demanded that a private, clean pumping space was created. Within 48 hours there was an annex in the woman’s bathroom, partitioned off by sheet rock. It had a door that locked from the inside, a freshly steamed couch, a table, magazines and an outlet. This was much, much better.

Unfortunately, this was not the case for the poor ex-Isotoner employee who was recently fired for taking too many pumping breaks. I will never buy Isotoner again. My experience consisted of me trying to locate a place to pump every day, but I never felt like my job was on the line for disappearing for 15 minutes during lunch. I probably should have been pumping three times, minimum two times a day while at work, but fitting in one session was hard enough.

I hated that my life revolved around a 3-4 hour lactation clock, and I did not even get to enjoy the intimacy of breastfeeding my baby. Yes, I got to breastfeed Gadget in the morning and again when I returned home from work, but dragging around my mechanical baby, aka my Avent double electric pump, was making me spite the blessing that breastfeeding was meant to be.

I was glad that after me, the 100 or so other female employees that worked in the plant now had a place to pump if and when they needed one. Unfortunately, it required me to make a bit of a scene in order to get my totally clueless HR manager to take some action.

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3 Responses to “Pumping at Work”

  1. Liz says:

    Oooh, this hit a nerve. I HATE that by asking for this you feel like you were making a scene (or maybe more accurately, that you had to actually make a scene to get attention). Whereas I think if men were asking for something necessary at work, they would merely be “putting in a request”

    Pumping at work seems like a nightmare. My dear friend would put in “pumping blocks” in her calendar, only to have her admin move them around to accommodate meeting requests. Oh, the education that needs to happen…

  2. It’s terrible the way we treat new mothers in this country. We should really be giving moms meaningful maternity leaves and then far fewer women would even have to pump. However, since we’re not there yet, a room with a door that locks and an outlet is the MINIMUM your employer can do for you. Glad you stuck up for yourself, and by proxy all of the other women at your job who will be able continue to breastfeed after returning to work.

  3. […] no private place to pump. I revealed the first glimpse of the activist in me as the outcome of a horror story when I requested (demanded) that I have a place to pump at work. A mother’s room was created, and […]

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Hi. I live in North Texas with God, my man, my boys, and a sweet baby girl.
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