The thought of pumping at work can be slightly daunting for new moms. Beyond just the logistics of assembling all of those pump parts and finding time in between conference calls and meetings to pump, there's the stress of simply doing it. Where will I pump? Will my boss give me a hard time? Will my co-workers cause a scene? Before you get too stressed, it's important to know your pumping rights at work. Being armed with a little legal knowledge and feeling confident will really help you be successful at pumping at work.
Before delving into the rights, the benefits of breastfeeding cannot (and should not) be ignored. No one is saying breast milk is the only way to feed a baby, as there are plenty of valid reasons why someone would choose a different mode of nourishment. But breastmilk remains the gold standard if physically and emotionally available to the mother. According to Web MD, breast milk is the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat made into an easily digestible form for your baby. Babies who breastfeed are reportedly less prone to asthma, allergies, ear infections, and diarrhea. And the big bonus: breast milk is free. Considering the huge benefits of breast milk and the fact that more than half of the workforce is now women, according to the Department of Labor, it's no wonder lawmakers secured some rights for working mothers.
Admittedly, the guidelines aren't perfect, but they're a good start. As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted by President Obama, many breastfeeding employees are provided rights and protected by law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). In a nutshell, the law was created so that breastfeeding women would be supported in the workplace. In a perfect world employers would follow the law and be accommodating, but sometimes they aren't. Here are five pumping rights all breastfeeding moms who work outside of the home should know about.