How To Ask Your Employer About Pumping At Work?

How to Ask Your Employer About Pumping at Work

As a new mom, it can be challenging to balance work and motherhood. One of the most important things to consider is how you'll manage to pump breast milk while at work. Fortunately, most employers are required to support breastfeeding mothers. Here are some tips on how to ask your employer about pumping at work.

Know Your Rights

First and foremost, it's important to know your rights as a breastfeeding mother. Under federal law, most employers are required to provide reasonable break time and a private space (that is not a bathroom) for you to pump breast milk for up to one year after your child's birth. Some states also have additional laws that provide even more protections for breastfeeding mothers. Research the laws in your state and be prepared to discuss them with your employer. When discussing with your employer, be mindful that they may not have had a breastfeeding mom work with them before so be prepared to help them have an educated conversation and make sure you are both on the same page.

Do Some Research

Are there other moms you work with? What was their experience around pumping at work? It is great to chat to your colleagues and find out as much information before speaking to your boss.

Does your workplace have a HR department? It would also be worth finding out if there are already policies in place for moms returning to work and where your company stands on that.

Know What You Are Asking For

This will fall largely on what laws your state has in place for pumping moms. If your employer is legally required to provide you with a lactation room with a fridge, sink, comfortable chair and privacy, then great! If not, then you will want to find out if you are able to gather these things in a space that feels safe for you. A little hint when suggesting a room, ask for a ‘safe’ space instead of a ‘private’ space. All employers will want to keep their staff safe so should respond well to this request. If you want to pump at your desk, then make sure your office has a fridge which is suitable to store your milk in. If you do not feel comfortable putting it in the staff room fridge, then maybe suggest grabbing a small fridge near your desk or in the kitchen where you can store it all.

Choose The Right Time 

When it comes to asking your employer about pumping at work, timing is everything. Choose a time when your boss is not busy or stressed, so they can give you their full attention and listen to your request. You might consider scheduling a meeting with your boss to discuss the topic and send them any relevant information if you feel like they might not have all the right resources in place yet.

Alongside the right timing to have a meeting with your boss, you may also want to consider how far in advance you have this meeting. The earlier the better if you want to give everyone plenty of time to meet your requests.

Be Direct

When you do talk to your employer, be direct and clear about your needs. Explain that you plan to breastfeed your baby and will need to pump milk while at work. Let them know that you are aware of your legal rights and would like to discuss how to make the process as easy as possible for everyone involved.

Offer Solutions

Come to the meeting with some solutions in mind. For example, you might suggest that you will take your breaks at a certain time each day, or that you will use a private room for pumping. If you prefer to pump at your desk then reassure your boss this will be done with minimal disruption to your colleagues.

Be Flexible

Remember, your employer may not have experience dealing with breastfeeding mothers and may need some time to figure out the best solution. Be flexible and open to suggestions. If your employer suggests a different time or location for pumping, consider it carefully and see if it will work for you. If you find that their suggestions do not work for you, then try to find a middle ground but remember, you don’t have to compromise on everything.

Follow Up

After your meeting, make sure to follow up with your employer to ensure that everything is going smoothly. If you encounter any problems or challenges, speak up right away so that they can be addressed. Remember, you have the right to pump breast milk at work, and most employers are legally required to provide a private space for you to do so.

Asking your employer about pumping at work can be daunting, but it's an important conversation to have. By being direct, flexible, and offering solutions, you can work with your employer to make the process as easy as possible. Having the conversations as early as possible allows your company to make all the necessary arrangements for when you return to work.

Remember, you have the right to pump breast milk at work, and there are laws in place to protect you. Good luck, and happy pumping!

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