5 Things Employers Should Provide for a Nursing Mom

Now, It has been a minute since I breastfeed or pumped. I stopped pumping around 10 months and stopped nursing Emmanuel at about 14 months. Our freezer reserves lasted about another month before we fully transition to whole milk.

S, you wonder why I am writing a post on nursing / pumping for working moms? Well, between both of my babies, I had to opportunity to experience being a nursing mom at two different companies. Although I am currently not nursing or planning on nursing a kid at my current company, I couldn’t help but notice some of the perks they offer to nursing / pumping mothers.
Based on my time with these three companies, and on my experiences both good and bad, for where they were lacking and could do better and where they hit the mark, I am sharing the 5 essential things I believe all employers should provide for working nursing / pumping mothers.

Proper Lactation or Mother’s Room

This is very important especially if you work in a common space or share an office. Might not be so much of an issue if you have a private office with doors and lock. 
But, in a case where you don't, we need a proper functioning and comfortable room. Not an old dingy janitor's closet that was cleaned out when they found out you would be needing somewhere private, but a proper room with basic features like a comfortable chair, a table and ideally a sink in the room. A small kitchenette close to the room will work as well as long as it is not the common area for everyone else in the building for lunch and break. 
Let’s just say I have experienced the not so glamorous end of the spectrum on this one and then somewhere in-between.

A Dedicated Refrigerator

Next on the list is a no brainer. If you have an ideal room for pumping, it only makes sense to put a small refrigerator in the room to store mother’s milk and not have to share or compete for space in the refrigerator dedicated to lunch boxes and access to the universe.
Granted there is another option and you can come prepared with you ice packs and storage bag but how effective that is depends on your work hours and pumping time. It will be nice not going home with lukewarm milk at the end of the day and having the dedicated fridge just let you know your employer fully considered your needs.

Time To Pump

Another very important element is time to actually use all these wonderful amenities they are providing. Now this one is tricky. If you have good supply and can pump multiple full bottles in no time and you get an hour break, that Is more than enough to knock out both pumping and lunch time at the same time, granted you bring lunch.
If you however must go out to get lunch, then one hour barely covers it. So, in my experience, eating out was not an option for me to effectively utilize my time. Also, some people might need more frequent pumping in shorter duration and that should be considered as well. This is very helpful when working long hours and at the early stage of returning to work where the supply is still trying to regulate and now has to adjust to being away from the baby, which means no nursing time if you previously did that while home with the baby. It is also  nice to have the option to pump multiple times as opposed to a big drain during lunch and then leaving work engorged. I could have certainly used a quick pump an hour or so before leaving work so I don’t go home engorged to only make a hungry baby angry while trying to eat or in most cases express before feeding.

Good Travel Accommodation

This applies if you travel for work. Good lodging with the necessary amenities is very important. Sometimes, that means an upgrade from the standard room with any side eye from anyone. I was lucky I didn't have to say too much to my boss when I had to go through this. All I asked was if there was a refrigerator in the room and he immediately knew what I was talking about and made the necessary arrangements. now, if you book your travels yourself, then you can handle this yourself. It is imperative to get a suite style room with a kitchen. The last thing you want is to be subjected to washing all your pump parts and bottle in an hotel toilet for days.

Milk Shipment Service

And last but not least, a courier service that ships your milk home while you are away for work. Although I may not get to use this service, I definitely know the impact it can have given my past experiences traveling with milk through the airports. The company provides the shipping supplies and covers the shipping cost as well.
This comes in handy in a number of way. First your baby doesn’t have to supplement if you don’t have a stash. Second, you don’t have to over pump prior to leaving to create said stash and lastly but most important you don’t get harassed and penalized at the airport for carrying / traveling with too much breast milk (I might publish the post which I drafted when this happened a while ago, if I can ever finish it).
Having a service that either ships daily or all at once based on mom/baby's needs is very important. The other aspect to consider from my experience is that if you are hyper-lactating, at some point you start to think you have too much milk to travel with depending on how long you’re gone for. Then, you start throwing it out. But, with this service, you can keep every single ounce of your milk and just send it home.

So, there you have it,  the 5 things I believe are essential.
I understand list paints the perfect picture. None of three companies I have experienced was able to check all boxes, so it might seem farfetched to even dare to dream of such a workplace. But, when you think about how much emphasis is placed on some other stuff or how much money is spent in some other departments, I think we can all agree these companies can do better and even above this.

So, my working nursing mother’s both past and present shed some light on your experiences and what else you think employers should at least consider to make our lives as working nursing mothers easier.

I was talking to a friend who is also a mom and we started talking about this topic and  she said something that didn't even occur to me because it was never an option for me and that is, the most important thing every employer should provide for moms in general, not just nursing mom is an on-site childcare.
When she said it, a light bulb went off in my head. With that option, one might not even need to pump at work, given you can walk over to go feed your baby. Granted they still have to be flex on your schedule so you don't feel rushed to feed both yourself and the baby all in an hour.
This potentially eliminates the need to pump depending on your milk flow and frequency of feeding / pumping. 
Of course there are other benefits. Who wouldn't love to go see their baby and get some cuddle time during lunch break!

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