Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

    Support Breastfeeding Mothers! Share Your Story!

    Posted August 30th, 2007 by

    SHARE YOUR STORY HERE (and read others): Have you juggled breastfeeding and work? How did it go? Share your stories from the frontline of motherhood here! (And, while you’re at it you can sign the Statement of Support for Breastfeeding Mothers now by clicking here.) *How to share your experiences: If you’re on the homepage, then just click the blog title above, or click on the “Read full post” link below to get to the blog page for sharing. To add your story, scroll down to the end of this blog–through all of the comments/blog text–to the “Post a Comment” section. Fill in the blanks with your text. Then when you are finished don’t forget to click the “Post Comment” button at the very bottom of the page.

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    186 Comments

    August 30, 2007 at 3:11 pm by Anonymous

    I pumped for about 17 months with my daughter and my employer was very supportive. I did pump in a bathroom stall b/c I worked in a cubicle and there wasn’t a lot of private space, but coworkers who overheard my pump going were sympathetic and very supportive. I now have an 8 month old son and am even luckier that my employer is now equipped to allow me to work from home. They have been very supportive of allowing me the time I need during the day to nurse him, so that he’s never even had a bottle with me “back to work” for 6 months! I am careful to keep my workload up so that there have been no complaints about my job suffering. I work for a very progressive group of people and only wish that others had such a luxury!

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:46 pm by Anonymous

    I live in Tucson, Arizona where just last year the city council voted to recind the ‘public indecency law’ in the case of public breastfeeding. I nursed my five year old for two years starting in 2002, before all the recent outcries about giving nursing moms and babies protection. My advice to nursing moms: do it in public whenever and wherever you feel comfortable. My sister in law drapes a huge sheet over her baby when she does it, as if it is something to be ashamed about. If others are uncomfortable, too damn bad. That’s their problem, not yours. And, speak up about it to your local media and get your local officals to put your protection in writing. Don’t count on blogs or the internet to do that for you. Show up at meetings and speak up, and bring a ton of your friends and family with you.

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:45 pm by Anonymous

    I actually have a very positive story about juggling breastfeeding and work. My company, as well as my government client have been very accomodating. Firstly, I’m allowed a flexible schedule where I work from home twice a week. I work a full day and then some those days, but breastfeeding is so much simpler since I have my son right there and can feed him whenever he needs. Secondly, I am allowed regular pumping breaks and my boss lets me use her office so I can have a comfortable, private place to take care of it.
    As far as public breastfeeding, the problems we’ve had are mostly the result of my son. He doesn’t like being covered or restricted in any way so any cloth I place over to be discreet is pulled off, and my shirt pulled way way up (or sometimes down).

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    August 30, 2007 at 3:20 pm by Anonymous

    Don’t make babies if you must work or if you have not completed your education. A child is entitled to TWO parents a Mother and a Father that are married. If the Father is not able to provide for a family then the babymaking must be postponed until the man is capable of providing for his family. A mother is needed by her children and a wife’s income should never be counted as a necessary part of survival. Mothers should stay at home and raise their children. If you must have a career then don’t bring a child into the world that you don’t plan to raise yourself. As for breast feeding breaks, stay home and do it naturally. Then when all children are in school work only part time.

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm by Anonymous

    http://www.kentucky.com/454/story/161993.html

    Here is another story about a mom being asked to “cover-up” even though a state law protects her right to breast feed in public.

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    September 9, 2007 at 5:31 am by savetheworld504

    YES!

    After the first time you choose to NIP, it gets easier and you just don’t care what other people think! I would just tune everything else out. I used a blanket to cover me but not my poor baby’s head. I felt more comfortable nursing in public around strangers then I did nursing in front of friends and family. I always figured that these people around me would probably be bothered more by my son crying endlessly then if I dared to take my boob out!!

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    August 30, 2007 at 3:52 pm by Anonymous

    I know that there are still many place that need to support mothers better but I do want to take the time to share my experiences. When I had my first son, I was working for Johns Hopkins University in the office of undergraduate admissions. My supervisors were both very supportive when I told them that I wasted to pump, we made sure I wasn’t making public appearances or having meetings that would conflictwith my pumping and allowed me to use private rooms in the office. I moved offices and also had a colleague who was very supportive who said I should go ahead and pump in the office we had (she was great and is now a mom and I hope that her officemate is as kind as she was). It was very important to me to pump b/c I was not actually able to get my son to latch on so I wanted to much to provide him with what I could (pumped for 9 months). I had another son in 2005 but did not go back to work right away so I was ok (wasn’t able to nurse him either but I did pump again). We moved and I am working for my Alma Mater, Bucknell Univeristy. I just had another son in May and was able to bring the baby in to the office with me and actually nurse over the summer! (It took me 3 tries to get it to work :) ) I am currently pumping at work & nursing at home but am also blessed that my husband can even bring the baby in to feed during lunch hours sometimes.

    Kudos to these two great institutions…I guess they know that these kids will have some good “smarts” to offer someday!

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    August 30, 2007 at 3:27 pm by Anonymous

    Maybe, outside of when WE are breastfeeding, just bringing up the subject, in a casual way – like weather – the whole issue will become a non-issue! I mean, there’s no “pro” or “con” discussions about having children, maybe just when and how and where! ha ha ha

    When I was 21 (23 yrs ago), I waited tables in a restaurant outside of Austin, TX (sadly, long gone). To my 21 yr old mind, it was quite interesting that our barkeeper had bottles of milk that “no one should accidently drink” in the bar fridge. And they increased in number as the evening wore on — without us EVER noticing her gone or her service slow. Now THAT’s one heck of a mamma, if you ask me.

    13 yrs later, when I had kids, I was lucky enough to have a door I could close. There was much joking and red cheeks as our mostly male office had my pumping thrown in their faces (I’m NOT the shy type). I warned everyone (repeatedly) that a closed door with a hum and, most obviously, “MOM AT WORK” sign on the door, meant stay out. And boy, did they ALL get to know my biological schedule.

    And they TRIED to look polite when I proudly waved my bottles at them on the way to the fridge.

    By the second kid (2 yrs later), some of the old guys even made the occasional shy comment about how much cream rose to the top of those bottles! ha ha ha

    If ever I traveled for work during that time, I made a point of asking others how I would be accommodated. Perhaps they would be surprised, but over the phone, and recognizing I was not to be cow-towed, they ALWAYS arranged for me whatever necessary hygienic facilities I needed.

    Reminds me of a mom who was in a restaurant breastfeeding her baby. An uncomfortable man from another table asked her if she could go to the bathroom, and, before she could respond, a man from another table spoke up: “why don’t you take your plate to the bathroom and eat on a toilet?”

    The breastmilk bank in Austin opened between my first and second, and I was one of the first moms to donate — boy, did I LEARN how to produce!

    Now, it’s not my “urgent” and all-consuming cause (elementary schools! sheesh!), but, like the weather, I talk about it. Openly, unashamedly. Justly.

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    September 27, 2007 at 5:15 pm by Anonymous

    Is there a reason you refused to accept their offer of a private room? Sixth graders cannot be expected to respond the same as an adult working environment. I agree that it is a little disruptive to an elementary classroom environment.

    To me, this would be analogous to me refusing to accept the private room my employer offers me, and instead demanding that they allow me to breastfeed in the conference room while they held meetings.

    Just my opinion.

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    September 27, 2007 at 5:09 pm by Anonymous

    How sad that you can’t tell the difference.

    By the way, if you would do a little research on the rest of the planet, you would discover that it is quite beneficial for the entire society for the working force to support family rearing.

    Ignorance begets bigotry, I see.

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    November 1, 2007 at 2:34 pm by Anonymous

    You may not think that breastfeeding is under attack in the US but why does the US have such a low breastfeeding rate?, why do most hospitals hand our formula samples?, why do so many moms feel that they need to hide their breastfeeding?

    People look at moms breastfeeding rarely with disgust, but rather in awe. Look at the clothes many women are wearing today, you see almost all the breast. The nipple is what is private and a nursing baby covers that up.

    Why should an adult be able to eat in public but a breastfed child not? Next time you want to eat your supper in a restroom stall is the next time I will nurse a baby in a restroom stall.

    The issue is happy, healthy babies and happy, healthy moms.

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    September 27, 2007 at 4:24 pm by Anonymous

    This issue is not about women being able to “flaunt” their breastfeeding or bare breasts. Its about allowing working mom’s the time and PRIVACY to pump/breastfeed during the work day. Let’s try to support all moms, whether they work in the home or elsewhere.

    I really think those who wish to be negative and cruel should take it elsewhere.

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    September 27, 2007 at 4:34 pm by Anonymous

    I have 4 children and I live in Arizona. Beleive me I would love to keep my nursing private. In 112 degree weather you just can’t do it sometimes. Breastfeeding can be a very sweaty and uncomfortable activity. Also, older babies often dont nurse well when covered and and will reject the blanket. I have never met a woman in the world who used breastfeeding to flaunt their breasts. That is a ludicrous concept. Quite frankly I think you have a personal problem. No law or ordinance should require nursing moms to cover up. Maybe it should be illegal to look.

    I appreciate your other concerns for women though.

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    November 2, 2007 at 12:27 am by Anonymous

    I agree completely with you, all of the issues that pertain to Mothers as women are so vital, breastfeeding being one of them. After the shock and outrage of being asked to go into his private office to nurse my infant by the manager of a Southeastern Target store because an anonymous guest complained, I am behind any legislation which will allow women everywhere to feel comfortable to nourish and love their child in any place they may choose.
    Dorothy

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    September 28, 2007 at 2:24 pm by Anonymous

    You seem very ignorant and so does your husband’s uncle! I am a breastfeeding mom and I am a very modest woman. I would never want to exhibit myself in public for anyone to see. I would only want to provide the best food for my baby no matter where I am, even in public. I can’t believe that you are a mom and have breastfed because you should be more sympathetic to women who work and want to continue to breastfeed their babies.

    Most workplaces don’t provide a private place for a woman to pump her breast milk to take home to her baby. I know, I have been through it. I even told my boss that I would need a place and SHE didn’t even care. So yes, there are other callous women like you!

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    September 27, 2007 at 5:58 pm by Anonymous

    It is certainly your opinion that this is not an important issue. Unfortunately, for many women this is a VERY important issue. I don’t know who in the world you are referring to when you say “women like to flaunt their status AS mothers” by bearing their breasts. Potentially it is YOU who are quite uncomfortable with the status as a LACTATING mother. YOU feel that breastfeeding is a “private” moment between you and two very important people in your life. But it does not HAVE to be private. That should NOT be the expectation in this free society.

    My goodness, your perspective is a bit warped. I don’t know a single man who would get his jollies off WATCHING a woman nurse her child. It is a lovely and wonderful experience, but certainly not a sexy one.

    This country MUST come a long way from where it is now with breastfeeding. From insurance companies to covering pumps, lactation consulting, and compounded nipple cream (all three were denied to me just this morning) TO work places providing lactation rooms and time to pump and TO nurses NOT pushing formula so quickly when a woman has trouble nursing for the first time. The country literally would save BILLIONS if more women decided to breastfeed AND had the unconditional support of several entities (government, work, friends, colleagues, medical profession) but this takes a larger campaign to begin to sway perspective.

    Lastly, for those who actually made it all the way through this wordy email – yes, there are LOTS of woman issues that need a major rehaul – but the support of breastfeeding is JUST as important as those you named.

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    September 27, 2007 at 9:02 pm by Anonymous

    While I was an instructor at a state university, I pumped for my baby in my own private office, with the door shut and locked, during my lunch hour every day. I put a sign on the door that said, “Please don’t knock. I am pumping milk for my baby. Please come back after 1:00 p.m.”

    A male colleague told the department secretary to tell me that he was “uncomfortable” after reading my sign. She did, and I replied, “That’s his problem.” She laughed and agreed with me. Nothing more ever came of it.

    I don’t know how much more “covered up” one can get than behind a closed, locked door in a private office.

    Some people just have unreasonable expectations of what other people should do to make them “comfortable.” The only way we’re going to get them past those expectations is to make breastfeeding commonplace.

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    February 25, 2008 at 1:10 am by Christine

    I have 2 children and have breastfed both of my children. I breastfed my son for 2 years and am currently breastfeeding my 6 month old daughter. I plan on continuing to breastfeed my daughter well past her 1st birthday.

    Not only am I a mother, I am also a 2nd grade teacher at a year-round school. I took 7 weeks for maternity leave. When I returned to work I worked out a pumping schedule with my coworkers and principals. While my students were out at recess I pumped. I also pumped during my lunch and while my students were at specials. Another 2nd grade teacher also recently gave birth and we decided to cover each other’s classes so that we could take turns pumping. This seemed to be working well for both of us, our students, our 2nd grade team members, and our principals. A few weeks ago, while my teammate was off-track, our Assistant Principal decided to provide coverage for me so I could pump before recess and assist with recess duty. An Educational Assistant stayed with my students during their 15 minute snack time before recess.

    I am now off-track and thought that when I returned to work I would have the ability to pump in the morning, as I did before I went off-track. However, I was wrong, very wrong. It turns out that my Assistant Principal went to HR to find out what he had to legally provide for us nursing moms. He was told that he didn’t have to provide us anything. So, he took it upon himself to tell my coworker and I that we’ll “have to work it out with our bodies and babies” to do without pumping in the morning. We can pump during our “off time” at lunch and specials, but he can no longer provide coverage for us in the morning. That means we will not be able to pump for 5 plus hours! Considering that both of our daughters still nurse every 3 hours, we’re in for a lot of pain and possibly decreased milk supply. This is not something either of us want our bodies or babies to “work out”. Feeding formula to my baby is not an option for me. My son was only given breastmilk for the first year of his life, and continued to nurse until he was almost 2. He is now a healthy 3 year old who has never had an ear infection and only a handful of colds. I want to same for my daughter.

    How can it be that I work in a place that nurtures and cares for children on a daily basis yet denies me the right to nurture my own child? I wonder, “Does my Assistant Principal truly care for kids?” Perhaps he only cares for his own 3 kids since his wife has the luxury of being able to stay at home with their children? Is it right for me to deny my child the nutrition of my breastmilk because it’s inconvenient for my Assistant Principal? What kind of message is this sending? “Take care of these 26 students in your class by giving them a high quality education. However, your child doesn’t need your nurturing and nutritious breastmilk.” Don’t we live in an educated society?

    It is important that women are given the legal right to breastfeed and nurse their children at their place of employment. Please support babies and mothers by asking your representative to sponsor HR 2236. My daughter and I thank you for your support in our mission to continue providing the best nutrition possible for babies everywhere!

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    February 18, 2008 at 11:43 am by Anonymous

    When I returned to work, I got mastitus my first day back. I am fortunate enough to have the privacy and freedom to pump in my own office. Nonetheless, the transition was hard on me and my son. I left 30 minutes early my first day to get to the doctor and missed the next day per my doctor’s instructions. My boss (the board chair) became angry and implied that I was disloyal. He said that he, “had a hard time with the fact that I worked out a 3 month maternity leave for you [me], and your first week back you miss work for a so called female illness”.

    Additionally, I had a history of working one day a week from home (for the past couple years). When I presumed that I would continue to do this, the board chair again questioned me. Saying, “You had 3 months to work out child care and get your son adjusted. How was it that you now need to work from home sometimes?”

    My son (who was 3 months old) had been born about 3.5 weeks early. He had a 6 day NICU stay, and we got off to a rough start with breastfeeding. When we started him in day care, he did badly; he cried a lot and wouldn’t take a bottle for the care provider. I’d hoped to ease back into work by working 32 or 36 hours a week to start (with 8 at home), and adjusting to full time over 6 months or so. I was told that I could do that if my family was now a bigger priority to me than my work, but that I couldn’t stay in my current position. Since I’m the executive director of a small non-profit, this could only mean a demotion.

    Since our organization’s mission is to stabilize and care for families with children, I was naturally upset to learn that the board chair was not willing to allow me to care for my own family the way I needed to. I’m willing to work with my staff to allow them to care for their families (including allowing one mom to go to a 30 hour schedule for about 6 months after her maternity leave), yet he was claiming that to allow me to care for my family would be to set a precedence that we couldn’t follow with other staff. In my line of work, I see a lot of parents who are in crisis because they lose their jobs, are skipped for promotions or are forced to take unpaid time off work to take care of their families.

    Clearly, we need better policies to support and protect parents, and allow them to care for their families. From what I can tell, the US is way behind other developed nations in supporting and promoting breastfeeding, in parental leave, and other pro-family policies. We can do better, and we must- on an individual level and nationally.

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    September 28, 2007 at 9:40 am by Anonymous

    Please please can we get off breastfeeding and on to the real issues: getting paid and decent maternity leave onto the political agenda.

    I’m a new mom and pro breastfeeding. I work Full time, with benefits but am lucky enough to do it from home.

    But is makes me so sad that breastfeeding lobby gets all the attention, and so makes it the issue for moms. It is not. It is an issue for educated well-off ladies like myself.

    And also? Breatfeeding is not as miraculous as it’s cracked up to be. The doctors whisper about their own children on formula to me while the lactation loonies talk nonsense.

    FIGHT THE BOOB POWAH, FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY — unfriendly woking policies.

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    September 28, 2007 at 9:40 am by Anonymous

    Please please can we get off breastfeeding and on to the real issues: getting paid and decent maternity leave onto the political agenda.

    I’m a new mom and pro breastfeeding. I work Full time, with benefits but am lucky enough to do it from home.

    But is makes me so sad that breastfeeding lobby gets all the attention, and so makes it the issue for moms. It is not. It is an issue for educated well-off ladies like myself.

    And also? Breatfeeding is not as miraculous as it’s cracked up to be. The doctors whisper about their own children on formula to me while the lactation loonies talk nonsense.

    FIGHT THE BOOB POWAH, FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY — unfriendly woking policies.

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    September 21, 2007 at 3:15 pm by Anonymous

    wow-that is ridiculous! It amazes me that this country is supposedly so “pro” family and yet everything is set up to be anti-family. I dont get it.

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    September 27, 2007 at 2:53 pm by Anonymous

    I breastfed my daughter for 9 months. Unfortunately, we had problems from the beginning. Despite my best efforts and the help of lactation consultants, La Leche League, etc., my supply was just too low and my baby was slowly starving. We had to supplement or let her starve.

    I later found out that thyroid problems can cause low milk supply. Not only do we need to crusade for more breastfeeding support – we also need to crusade for doctors to screen mothers for thyroid problems after childbirth. And they need to do more than just order the basic TSH test and call it good – they really need to do a full workup of T4, T3, and TSH antibodies. I am still suffering and trying to get a doctor to listen, not just dismiss this as “new mother exhaustion”.

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    September 27, 2007 at 3:18 pm by Anonymous

    If you stay at home where you belong it won’t be a problem. Any woman that must have a carreer does not have the right to produce a child.

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    September 27, 2007 at 3:25 pm by Anonymous

    Since it is well known that, in theory, a position can be very reasonable, and we also know that a congressional bill, even with the good theory’s name on it, can be ineffective and sometimes counter-productive, I ask you to please put the bill on the website when you ask us to voice our support for it. (and all others we should address.)
    “Trust your Audience” is the hallmark of a good theatre production and fits well in this context.

    Thanks for listening.
    Bob Armstrong

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    September 27, 2007 at 3:11 pm by Anonymous

    I was not so lucky concerning pumping. It was impossible for me to pump, I could not express one drop. I ended up rushing home every evening, engorged, hoping to come home to a hungry baby. I wish I had planned things better, so I could have stayed home with my baby. Lorraine

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    September 27, 2007 at 3:31 pm by Anonymous

    It was between 14 and 25 years ago that I was fortunate to have the opportunity to breastfeed all 4 of my children, while still working as a nurse for the State of NJ. Most moms who chose to breastfeed in the 70′s and 80′s were looked upon as a bit odd – at least that was my experience. It was a wonderful opportunity however, to do a lot of teaching by example. Some of my friends, one of whom thought it was “disgusting”, ended up breasfeeding their next child.

    With regard to my work situation at the time, I remain grateful for the supervisors that recognized not only the value of keeping me on as a dedicated employee but also the value of this important task on a future generation. I was always afforded a quiet place to pump, and when the schedule allowed, I was able to run home for a quick feed since I lived only a few miles from my work. My children, the oldest of whom is now a doctoral candidate at Princeton, are healthy, happy and contributing citizens. Breastfeeding gave them many advantages. All moms and their babes should have that advantage.

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    September 27, 2007 at 4:14 pm by Anonymous

    My first child breastfed for eleven months, which meant eight months of pumping at work two to three times daily (with a quick trip to her daycare at lunchtime as well, hoping that she would be hungry). My second child is now six months old, and I have the same arrangement, although I work for a different company.

    I feel very fortunate to work for organizations/people who are extremely supportive of nursing, pumping, privacy, and respect, and feel sad to see new mothers who are probably not able to nurse/pump, given their work schedules or environments.

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    September 30, 2007 at 12:21 am by Anonymous

    I’m a working mother of a 4 month old, and I agree with your statement. I think it shouldn’t be an employer’s responsibility to pay for maternity leave (assuming we had maternity leave)– I think it should come from the government. Think of it as an insurance that all people pay into over their lifetime with the idea that someday they might have a baby and want to take off a year to bond and take care of them. I lived in Germany for a while and there, everybody gets a small amount of money to help make ends meet– for 18 months after a baby is born. If the woman wants to go back to work right away then it’s the man who gets the money. What I find enlightening about the German system is that (as far as I know) you get the same amount of money whether you’ve been employed or not, whether you worked for a big company or small, or whether you made a lot of money or a little. The system simply acknowledges that babies under 1 1/2 are best taken care of at home by a parent. I also know, by the way, scores of women who used this time to become entrepreneurs and ultimately contributed much more to society in the end than if they’d stayed in a job for survival.

    I currently work full time. If I could get even 25% of my salary ($600/month), we could squeak by, but I can’t afford to quit my job and it’s what’s providing my family healthcare benefits. I could have “planned better”, as you said, but I worked for years to get as financially established as I am, and I’m already 34 so I didn’t want to wait any longer. We rent a modest apartment and even with 2 decent salaries (around 40,000 each) we just make ends meet. I would consider it heaven to stay home and take care of my baby but somebody explain to me how we can live on one salary in Los Angeles!

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    September 24, 2007 at 1:55 pm by Anonymous

    I work for a company that is supposed to be very progressive in it’s health care…yet I was allowed onl 6 weeks of maternity leave. I went back to work the day my daughter turned 6 weeks old. Since I work in a coffee shop (any ideas?:) space is limited and I was given the choice of pumping in the bathroom or in the car….not a tough choice. We worked our schedules so that my husband could bring our daughter to me to nurse during my 6 hour shifts. This meant that I had to go to work at 4am (get up at 2:30 to nurse her, get dressed and rush out the door) I sat in the car and nursed her every day (not always comfortable in Phoenix where a/c can only do so much against 110 derees!) BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!!!! Our daughter is now 18 months old and still nursing like a champ (much to my mother-in-laws horror) We don’t get all of the options that we should when it comes to doing what’s best for our children, but we need to do what we can with the options we have RIGHT NOW and fight to make things better for future generations! My advice to all mother’s is DON’T GIVE UP!!!!! It is so worth it and it WILL get easier…whatever your circumstance! GO MOMMIES!

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    September 11, 2007 at 9:24 am by Anonymous

    I worked for an OB/GYN of all things, and they were not terribly supportive of my decision to breast feed and pump at work. I was able to pump only once during my lunch break-so I had to eat lunch in one of the empty offices, or if none, the empty exam rooms, and pump as I was eating. I usually breast fed my daughter on demand, so I would feed her before work, pump both breasts at noon (by which time I was uncomfortably engorged) and then leave work at 5 and rush home to feed her asap at daycare. I would pump while I fed her at dinner time in order to stock up on my milk supply, and I would freeze bags and then bring an ample supply to her daycare. What made it even worse was as I was doing this I was also going through a very difficult divorce!

    My advice to any mom wanting to breastfeed is to not feel guilty and to do whatever works for you. Luckily, even though my situation was less than ideal, my daughter dudnt suffer for it, I breastfed her for three years and now she is a healthy, loved, intellegent 5 year old!

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    September 4, 2007 at 4:27 pm by Anonymous

    Maybe more Mom’s need rethink this issue. Personally, I have never felt that mothers of young children belong in the workplace, especially when they are pregnant and/or lactating. I think they are inviting unnecessary risks to their already fragile infants and children by being exposed to the general public. Although I am a huge fan of breast milk, (just ask Gracie Kay, my third breast feed child, 21 months old and still healthy and nursing strong,) I’m not a huge fan of the whole forcing employers to deal with yet another responsibility that should rest with the parents. Maybe the parents of young children should have planned better so that the mother could stay home from work…at least for the first year when breast milk makes the biggest difference. Some may think I seem old fashioned and want to keep women down and “in the home.” But I see it as liberating to women by lifting them up and taking a stand that they should NOT be expected to “do it all.” By that I mean carrying, birthing, AND lactating all while still bringing in an income. That doesn’t sound very liberating to me!

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    September 10, 2007 at 4:37 pm by Anonymous

    I pumped at work for 7 months – and it was difficult at first. Our HR person (A woman with 3 kids) offered me 2 locations other than a bathroom. A locking office that afforded no privacy because of a window. And an enclosed office that had a sliding door that didn’t lock, or maintain visual privacy.

    I finally settled for a small locker room in the back of the women’s bathroom with a door that didn’t lock, and a shower bench that was frequently wet. At least I could store my supplies in a locker with a lock there.

    After 3 months of random women walking in on me, and putting up with a wet shower bench, I demanded a lock be installed on the door and a chair put in the room after I heard that the men’s locker room had a lock all this time. My request was fulfilled that very day on both counts. I then became the ambassador for the next 3 pump-at-work moms showing them the ropes.

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    September 7, 2007 at 12:56 am by Anonymous

    It’s such a basic equation. I hadn’t planned to go back to work until my son was 2 but when I saw my dream job posted I ended up accepting full time employment when he was under a year. The week before I started, I stopped by the office to drop off some stuff including an opaque shower curtain to block off the window from my office to the office hallway. My first day of work I came in to find that my female boss had gone shopping for fabric to sew me a proper curtain, and my male boss (and her husband) had engineered and installed a custom-fit curtain rod. (I’m a New Yorker-my bosses are from the Midwest, and they obviously didn’t think my housekeeping skills were up to par.) They also asked someone with a small refrigerator to borrow a few inches of private fridge space so I wouldn’t have to tromp into the employee lunchroom with bottles of milk every day, not that I care but which saved me some awkward moments as the new young lady in the office with new colleagues.

    I can’t overstate my appreciation-what a welcome gift! This is up there with the importance of domestic partner benefits for our gay household-the kind of thing without which we’d just keep looking for better employers. I have serious gratitude for these folks, always step up when asked to do extra assignments, even on a so-sick-I-can-barely-get-out-of-bed like today day I check e-mail and return crucial calls, because they made me a die-hard loyalist from day 1.

    I wish for such workplace support to all parents, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, new parents or experienced, moms or dads.

    [Reply]

    September 17, 2007 at 1:57 am by Anonymous

    Here’s my story, which has no ending since I’m still embroiled in it.

    I work at UCLA which contrary to popular belief offers abysmal support to mothers. Even though California is the only state that offers paid baby bonding time to families, UCLA staff is exempt from this law because we are state employees. (somebody explain THAT one to me). Anyway, they do offer 6 weeks of reduced pay disability leave after the birth which I took but this required me to use one month’s worth of sick/vacation time before it kicked in. This means that I now have no sick or vacation time left to take additional time off. This would not be such a big deal were it not for the fact that since my baby was one month old (she’s now 4 months) she has refused to take a bottle– breast milk or otherwise. We even tried me staying at work for 7 hours into the night while my husband and MIL tried to give her the bottle, to which she screamed all 7 hours till I got home. I lost over 10 ounces of pumped milk trying to get her to drink it! She won’t even suck on a pacifier. My solution was to have people (such as MIL) come to campus with me to watch her so I could go feed her during my breaks. But there are days where I have little to do outside my office (which is private) so on these days I would often just keep the baby with me there. Anyway, somebody anonymously turned me into the UCLA authorities and I’ve been threatened with firing if I continue to bring my baby to work! This even though my boss and co-workers have no issue with it. I investigated the on-campus childcare only to find that there is a 1-3 year waiting list and it costs $1400.00/ month (i.e. 3/5 my take-home salary). There is financial aid available for students (thank god) but not staff. The “whistle-blower” apparantly mentioned another woman they know who was “forced to quit” because of her baby so he thought it wasn’t fair that I was allowed to bring mine. I also have a co-worker who’s wife worked in another department and even though she made more money than he, she quit last month because the cost of chidcare was so great that she couldn’t afford to keep working!! I explained that my baby won’t take a bottle, and their response was that I had to work it out, they couldn’t do anything to help me. What gets my goat is the fact that they lead people to believe that they have great family benefits when in fact they’re forcing women to quit their jobs left and right. I was already mad because i found out that even on my 3rd year on the job, I’m still making less than my predecessor (a man) made when he started 6 years ago!! Plus my fiance took a similar position but with way fewer responsibilities in a different department on campus, and he’s making $6000/ year more than I am!! I have been hesitant to accuse them of sex descrimination but now that it’s becoming clear how little support is given to women who have kids, I want to pull out all the cards I’ve got.

    [Reply]

    September 7, 2007 at 10:37 pm by Anonymous

    I work for a utility company and have a company car because I am one of about the 1% of the females who work in the construction side of the business. I drive from jobsite to jobsite and pump while going up and down the freeway. Since I work mostly with men, it is the only time I can be alone and somewhere somewhat private. I sure am not going to pump in the portable bathroom on the jobsite. A few coworkers know I do this and can’t believe it, but what else does one do when they have no office? I have been back to work for 7 months, since my baby was 6 months old and don’t know how much longer I will continue but she doesn’t want to quit nursing. It has almost become routine, although somedays it is really hard to make the time. I have to use the excuse that I need to run down to the store for a drink. I also wonder how many people see my breasts as they drive by. ;0)

    SF

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    September 5, 2007 at 3:22 am by Anonymous

    The small company I was working for (about 100 people on staff) told me that I could leave my desk for a mid-morning break and a mid-afternoon break, in addition to my lunch hour, to go and nurse my newborn son (or pump).

    The job was sales, and the environment was high pressure (and mostly male). They had (by their own admission) never had a pregnant woman/new mom on their staff at all, let alone on their sales staff. But they hired me at 3 months along, and knew what they were getting into.

    They were very supportive of me at first, and I repaid this by being very conscientious — taking my cell phone with me so that I could be contacted if someone needed to speak to me, etc. — even when I was down the street nursing my baby at his daycare, I kept my cell phone with me just in case I was needed. I’d even take my cell phone down the hall to the bathroom to have on hand in case I was needed while pumping! (And yes, the mixed gender bathroom was the only place offered to pump.)

    I was never contacted while I was out, but a few times I was told after I got back that such-and-such client had called looking for me and been told I was out. In one case the client was so miffed that they had to be passed along to another rep to try to sooth their ruffled feathers. I never found out about these calls until I’d returned.

    After a few months (and an admittedly lackluster sales record), I was let go. This was about six weeks after receiving a “warning letter” email from the HR manager telling me that I was spending too much time away from my desk. I had responded to that email with an explanation of my time away and my willingness to be contacted by cell phone during these “breaks”, but this had not been acknowledged in any way.

    When they finally let me go, they cited my absences from the office. That still bothers me, because I had thought I had everything worked out with them.

    Thanks for listening!

    Jennifer

    [Reply]

    September 27, 2007 at 5:39 pm by Anonymous

    I had already planned on breastfeeding when I had my first child nearly 21 years ago, Yikes!! He was born with congenital pneumonia and that solidified my resolve. There were some of the nurses that wanted me to use formula as it was too difficult to chart everything quickly. Hello, what’s the point here? I stuck to it and was in the hospital every four hours, 24/7 for the 10 days he was in intensive care. I did pump in the hospital. They had a room with a mega-pump that many women could hook up to. As it happens, many nurses would come in to pump on breaks as well as Mom doctors!
    I also breast fed my daughter. My first, the sick one is now 6’1″ and a wonderful young man. Education is important. My mom was discouraged and finally her doctor said “Ok go ahead but you have to do it every hour”. Poor Mom went for 3 or 4 days then, exhausted opted for the formula. No wonder that generation rarely breast fed!

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    September 4, 2007 at 4:55 pm by Anonymous

    When my son was born, I was lucky enough to be the minister of a very supportive church community. For the first six months I actually had my son with me for nearly everything I did, including meetings and even on Sunday mornings during the sermon. (Once he started crawling, of course, I couldn’t keep him with me all the time.)

    Because he was with me, I was able to nurse him on demand (a total luxury, I know, but it shouldn’t be!), and only rarely had to pump.

    I am grateful for a supportive congregation. When I was transferred to another church in our area, my son decided to continue attending the church he was born into. Its a group dedicated to supporting parents and children; and as a result, my son knows he is an important and vital part of their community. Healthy moms, healthy kids, healthy communities: isn’t that the way it should be?

    We have a long way to go in our society before we are willing to let women come to work with their babies– but I wanted to post this story as encouragement for us all to keep walking forward.

    Sandie Richards
    Los Angeles, CA

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    September 6, 2007 at 5:38 pm by Anonymous

    So much of your commentary offends me I don’t even know where to start with my reply…I would defy anyone to tell me that I “don’t belong in the workplace” since having become a mother. Secondly, I don’t see where employers are so put out simply by providing for a function which, quite frankly, is as natural as using the bathroom…particularly when said employers are usually anxious to see mothers return back to work as quickly as possible…in that sense, doesn’t it behoove employers to make returning to work as pleasant as possible? Next, “planning better” sometimes has nothing to do with staying home…many women (myself included) derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from their careers and don’t intend to stay home for any great length of time (and please don’t even suggest that such women should not then become mothers in the first place).
    I agree on one point, that women should not be EXPECTED to do it all…but what a relief it would be if those of us who choose to “do it all” had the necessary support and encouragement to make it possible.

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    September 27, 2007 at 4:01 pm by Anonymous

    While I applaud the support of breast feeding I do not think the Sophie Currier story is one that should be looked at as a women not getting breaks to breast feed. They HAVE breaks during the exam. They have 45 minute breaks and they get more then one. They also made a special arrangement for her to take the test over a 2 day period instead of one. She has also complained of having issues with the test because of her ADD. I am sorry, but, she seems like someone who thinks that she should get special priviledges for everything. They do offer ample time to pump.

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    September 17, 2007 at 4:07 am by Anonymous

    I went back to work when my baby was six months old. He had just started eating solids, but was breastfeeding exclusively 6-8 times per day. I juggled my week so that I only had to pump two times during the workday. My job did not have a space for me to pump, so I taped paper over door windows, closed curtains, put my back to windows, and prayed no one would walk in. One day, the manager of the company pullled me aside and asked me if I knew what the televisions equipment was doing in the conference room I used to pump. Turns out, while I was on maternity leave, the five county agency had installed cameras that were on all the time, and my pumping had been broadcast to five different offices. It took four months for someone to point this out. PS I am still breastfeeding today, but no longer am putting on a daily show!

    [Reply]

    September 27, 2007 at 9:55 pm by Anonymous

    You must be very lonely to feel so bitter that you would come on this board and attack working mothers. I feel sad for you. I’ll say a prayer for you tonight.

    Before the Industrial Revolution, every mother combined baby care and work, and there was no formula. The worldview you idealize was just a brief moment in history, and it’s fading now. If you enjoyed it, good for you, and be grateful that you were born when you were. You were lucky, and you don’t need to attack people who don’t see the world the same way you do.

    I hope you find some peace.

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    September 27, 2007 at 4:40 pm by Anonymous

    SAIC had a great pumping room…in another building. My building didn’t even have electrical outlets near the toilets! But I used various offices, conference rooms, and store rooms and got it done.

    When I had trouble finding an office to pump in, I told my manager I didn’t mind pumping in my cubicle. Seriously, they’re just breasts! He started scheduling a manager’s meeting during my pumping time so I could use his office.

    Supportive means not just refraining from making rude comments, but also allowing the flexibility of time and the availability of quiet space to pump. If they can allow smokers their breaks, they’d BETTER let moms pump!

    [Reply]

    September 4, 2007 at 12:19 pm by Anonymous

    For 3 of my 4 children, I’ve had no problem pumping, but for number 3, my bosses were totally unsupportive. When one boss left and another started, I was told I would have to reimburse the company (a hospital/medical school) for time lost whiel pumping. Fortunately, I pointed out that smokers were entitled to smoking breaks and often took 10-20 minutes. After that he let me pump. How generous…

    [Reply]

    September 7, 2007 at 3:52 pm by Anonymous

    Our company is great as far as pumping goes, with management support and nice facilities. I pumped for six months when I went back to work after a three-month leave. The lactation rooms that our company provides, one in each of our three buildings, are in quiet areas and are equipped with a basic pump (you need to supply your own parts, of course), a recliner, a CD player and a storage area. Much nicer than a bathroom stall.

    Most other family support, though, isn’t as forthcoming. No paid maternity or paternity leave, no paid time off for sick children or elder care, no job sharing or telecommuting, and an expectation that, to get ahead, you’ll work 80 hours a week. Needless to say, many women (and men, too) need to look for work elsewhere.

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    September 27, 2007 at 4:15 pm by Anonymous

    Are these business bosses out of the Middle Ages when women had no rights? Breastfeeding isn’t a great terror, but actually, a great convenience, because it keeps the baby healthier and happier. That’s a sin?

    [Reply]

    September 9, 2007 at 2:27 am by Anonymous

    When my daughter was about 6 months old, I accepted a new assignment with my current employer. I explained to my new client (an Environmental Program Manager at a military organization) that I was a breastfeeding mother and I would need a private place to pump during on-site work hours. When I arrived at my first day on the job, I was directed to a unisex bathroom to pump food for my child! I refused to use such a facility so I sought out the only female bathroom in the building that had an electrical outlet. The outlet was in the locker room portion of the bathroom facility and there was no chair to sit on so I had to pump standing up and hope that noone walked in on me. During one of my pumping sessions, someone knocked loudly on the door and a male voice boomed, “what is that noise.” I then asked a female co-worker if I could use her office to pump since it could provide more privacy as it had doors that could close. Unfortunately after one pumping session, I accidentally left a drop of milk on her desk and she was completely agitated by my mistake and I told her that I would not pump at her desk again. I finally told my client that I planned to purchase a screen and pump at my desk since I had nowhere else to go and an appropriate (private and clean) space was not made available to me. This was actually the best solution since I could continue working while I pumped. My experience at this military facility made me realize how difficult it must be for female soldiers to receive breastfeeding support.

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    September 4, 2007 at 10:08 pm by Anonymous

    When my daughter was born I was working for a small devision of a very large pharmaceutical company. I returned to work after 6 weeks of maternity leave but my daughter would not take a bottle. I was lucky to have an office with a door that provided some privacy and my husband brought my daughter to work twice a day so that I could nurse her. My manager, an older father, was very supportive of me but the HR manager as well as the director of manufacturing did not approve. I was told that I could not bring my daughter to my office to feed her (understandable). That was not that bad – I could just go to the car and nurse. But that too became an issue. I was told that other employees would expect the same treatment and that I could not breastfeed anywhere on the premises. I requested a leave of absence so that I could continue to breastfeed until my daughter was 6 months old and could take solids. I was denied the personal leave based on the fact that they needed me to be at work. I ended up resigning my position which was a very hard decision after spending 15 years in the industry and working my way to a management role. I was willing to work extra hours to compensate for my time spent feeding my baby. Other mothers that worked at the facility that were not fortunate enough to have an office would have to pump in a small, closet like, bathroom. I think that something should be done to protect breastfeeding mothers. We don’t want special treatment – just the opportunity to feed our children without retribution, criticism, or humiliation.

    [Reply]

    September 10, 2007 at 4:56 pm by Anonymous

    I became a first time mom this April and vowed I would breastfeed my baby since it is said it is the best way to go for your baby. It was difficult at first, but once the milk started flowing nothing could stop my little one from feeding. However, I needed to return to work after 2 1/2 months for financial reasons. Pumping at work started out okay, but now I barely get to pump at work. I’m not saying that my co-workers nor my boss are supportive of it, they are, it’s just that I don’t get the time nor the privacy to do it. So feeding my baby has become difficult because I don’t produce enough for her and am forced to supplement her feedings with formula and cereal. I will continue to breastfeed until she is 6 months old, although I would prefer to continue until she is closer to a year. It has been a great experience breastfeeding my baby and I hope that I can continue to produce enough milk for her growing body. I also hope that I may continue breastfeeding longer than 6 months. I don’t know how feasible that will be with my job. I pray that breastfeeding with the next will last at least a year.

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    January 11, 2008 at 1:59 pm by Anonymous

    I can’t believe that you are so bitter that you would attack working mother’s… I have a one month old and i have to return to work in a month otherwise my husband and I can not afford to live in our Long Island Home. It is not a choice to go back to work it is a necessity…

    [Reply]

    September 27, 2007 at 4:09 pm by Anonymous

    This is a stupid campaign. Breastfeeding is not under attack in the US for heaven’s sake.

    There is nothing wrong with expecting nursing moms to COVER UP. Breastfeeding should not be an excuse for exhibitionism. You know very well that some mothers, a very small number, like to flaunt their status AS mothers, or their bare breasts, in public.

    When I was nursing, I wanted to share that private moment ONLY with my husband and baby. (Maybe with another child if I had one.) I was called selfish because I wouldn’t let my husband’s uncle WATCH.

    Find an issue women actually NEED help with. Here are some ideas:

    In NY, workman’s comp for a female employee costs 2x what it does for a male employee. It’s MORE expensive to HIRE a woman!

    Women STILL make less for the same job as men.

    Women are STILL expected to cook, clean and do the wash, even if they work.

    ETC.

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    August 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm by Anonymous

    I was fortunate enough to have employers who were very supportive of my breastfeeding and need to pump during the workday (for all three of my children) too. However, I know many moms who have not had such luxury. I made sure to have the conversation about a place to pump while I was still pregnant. I think that was very helpful, especially if a company/organization needs to seek out an ideal spot for a working mom.

    Colleen

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    October 25, 2007 at 10:33 am by Anonymous

    I’m in the Navy and luckily have a very supportive supervisor. (His wife breastfed each of 3 kids for 2 years each!) We do have a room for pumping called the Butterfly Lactation Room, and the only real problem was convincing the security people who shared an air system with us that 65 degrees was NOT an acceptable temperature! I once went in one morning and found it 54 degrees. That and when lots of things are going on I have to wait until someone can relieve me to go and pump, but it doesn’t happen too often luckily.
    MayMomma

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:16 pm by Anonymous

    I worked part time after my daughter was born (about 6 hours a day). I pumped at work for 1 1/2 years. My work provided me with the use of a private restroom (I did have to walk a distance — to the other side of a manufacturing facility, probably about two or three residential blocks). Most of my co-workers were supportive. I could tell that a few definitely were not. But no one ever said anything rude to me. And I was never denied the right to pump. I wanted to do what was best for my daughter and am thankful my employer was cooperative about this. I do remember that I keep a few pictures of my baby in my bag so I could look at them when I was pumping. It really helped me relax and get the pumping done faster. I hope this information will be helpful to someone!

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    September 27, 2007 at 4:09 pm by Anonymous

    I think one thing that might make things better is if pregnant/postpartum moms were simply introduced to a successfully breastfeeding mom. Someone who has made it past the “difficult” first 6 weeks or so, when your breasts get bloated, you leak all over, and the baby hasn’t yet settled into life. After things settle down, breastfeeding is MUCH easier than bottle feeding.
    1) Baby is healthier and happier. All the time.
    2) Breastmilk diapers don’t stink-at least not like the formula ones do.
    3) If baby is upset, cries, teething, or having trouble sleeping, popping a tit in her mouth will calm her right down.
    4) If you share a “family bed” with baby, nobody has to get up for the middle of the night feedings-in fact, you can get so that you don’t really have to even wake up all the way. VERY cuddly!
    5) No waiting, anytime, for bottles to warm up while baby cries unconsolably. Food is ready NOW, perfect temperature.
    6) Fewer dishes to do.
    7) Nothing to buy! Formula is expensive.
    8) No indigestion problems.
    9) Mom gets these wonderful hormones too, very relaxing.
    10) There is NOTHING in the world like the look your baby will give you as you are breastfeeding. You will never be so close to another human being in your life.

    If we could just convey that to all new moms, the breastfeeding rate would skyrocket.

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    September 29, 2007 at 11:58 pm by Anonymous

    “I was on the WIC program when by daughter was born, which supplies low-income families with food supplements, formula, and nutritional counseling. The counselors seemed like they were totally uneducated about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was hardly ever mentioned when I was pregnant, and the counselors were constantly pushing formula “Are you sure you don’t want any?” “If you ever change your mind just let us know.” I honestly felt like I was doing something wrong. I think agencies like this one are important, but they should be required to promote breastfeeding, and provide resources like breast pumps, lactation consultants, and references to breastfeeding groups.”

    I’m sorry you had such an “un-WIC” experience when attending your WIC education sessions. Breastfeeding promotion and support is a MAJOR aspect of WIC. WIC is not even allowed to have pictures of formula or write with pens that have formula company names on them (the one exception is during a formula contract change- signs can be put up for a few months alerting participants about the change). Some WIC clinics are piloting a breastfeeding peer counselor programs to help support moms postpartum and encourage breastfeeding during their prenatal period (the counselors even nurse in the waiting room so moms can see how normal and natural breastfeeding is). Many clinics also have breastpump loan programs (with manual, foot-pedal, and/or electric pumps) and have a certified lactation counselor on staff. My hope is that the staff you came in contact with DOES have more training… on WIC guidelines AND on the importance of breastfeeding (advantages of breastfeeding are global: reaching beyond baby, mom, family members, schools, healthcare & insurance industry, and even the work place.)

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    September 19, 2007 at 2:41 pm by Anonymous

    So true!! I am a 23 year old college student and the single mother of a 4-month old. I was pushed by the hospital, WIC, and Medicaid workers to use formula. I feel it is only right to give my daughter every advantage in life- breastfeeding will make her stronger, healthier and happier, so I am making personal sacrifices (such as working) to do that. Although it means living with my parents again, I know any job I could get as a college student would not support my pumping. If my wonderful family did not support me, I would have no choice but to feed my daughter formula!
    My professor at school supports me by allowing me to have a longer break from class to pump, but the only place available is the bathroom stall.
    I have several friends who recently had children- out of 7 women, only two of us are or are planning to breastfeed. Most of these girls have heard breastfeeding is very painful or too hard or think that it takes too much work. Someone needs to find a way to reach out to young mothers and teach them about breastfeeding! They don’t understand the joy and wonderful sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing your baby has the best nourishment available and that they are growing big and healthy because of something YOU have provided!
    I am appalled by the situation Sophie Currier is facing- does the judge really want her to hold off on starting her career and supporting her family until she is done breastfeeding?? That could be almost 2 years! Many women, when faced with that situation, would have to rely on the government for support. Is this judge advocating that women depend on welfare instead of making a living for themselves?

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    September 9, 2007 at 5:23 am by savetheworld504

    I agree 100%. More moms would breastfeed longer if they were supported. Even the nurses at the hospital were formula-pushers! Formula is just easier for the nursery nurses and it’s what they teach new moms. “Just give the baby the bottle and you’re done…”

    Yes, breastfeeding is a choice but women who are not educated in the process and first-timers need more support during the crucial first 6 weeks. If I did not have La Leche League and my internet support group, I would have quit six times over!

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    September 27, 2007 at 6:00 pm by Anonymous

    i have a bebe au lait cover from babycenter that is great. i drape that over myself where ever i need to pump and it helps alot. the other thing you can do is drape baby blankets over the windows – a bit tedious, but will give you full privacy. just know you are not alone! :)

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    September 27, 2007 at 5:16 pm by Anonymous

    get yourself a nursing apron, one that you loop around your neck, and place a towel in your lap. It works for me!

    I bought a Hooter Hider (Google it – they’re great), but if you sew, you could easily make your own nursing apron. I use it to pump discretely in public, and also to cover up when I am breastfeeding. Best baby buy EVER!!!

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    September 10, 2007 at 1:55 pm by Anonymous

    Hi – I’m going back to work as a sales rep 2 full days/week when my ds is 6 mos old – 1 1/2 mos from now. Any tips for pumping in the car discreetly and not getting your clothes wet? I wish my territory were closer to home so I could come home, but I can’t… Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

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    September 27, 2007 at 3:51 pm by Anonymous

    I am so glad to see so many comments from women who are continuing to provide this wonderful nourishment for their babies after they return to work. I would suggest that you work with a lactation consultant before you go back, to help you set up the best way to make this transition work for you, because everyone is different. You’ll get lots of tips and also very specific help if anything becomes problematic. Just don’t give up!

    Even as your baby begins to transition to solid foods, “losing” you all day for two days a week will be a big deal. Breastfeeding is such a wonderful way to reconnect and nurture both of you at the end of a long day. I highly recommend continuing to do it well into the next couple of years. (my own daughters still nursed at night when they were 3-4 years old, and they still remember that now that they are older–which will make it that much easier when they become moms!)

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    September 27, 2007 at 5:50 pm by Anonymous

    I returned to work after 5 months with both of my children. I work for a great company (Pitney Bowes). I approached our in-house medical staff about letting me borrow one of their examining rooms. They were completely supportive, and eventually several girls used the room. That was 6 years ago and just last week the head nurse joked sympathetically with me about how I had to pump in the steril environment of a medical room. Apparently now they have a comforable private lounge for nursing moms. I was then, and I am now, grateful for their enthusiasm and warm hospitality at the time, regardless of the color of the walls! :) If you are lucky enough to have a medical office at work, and no nursing room, that might be a good place to start.

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    September 30, 2007 at 1:07 am by Anonymous

    I wrote this as a response to a posting earlier in this string but wanted to post it again because I think this is important.

    I’m a working mother of a 4 month old and I think it shouldn’t be an employer’s responsibility to pay for maternity leave (assuming we had maternity leave)– I think it should come from the government. I like to think of such a tax as an insurance that all people pay into over their lifetime with the idea that someday they might have a baby and want to take off a year to bond and take care of them.

    I don’t think companies should be responsible because:

    1. The more companies are forced to pay for support for mothers, the more there will be discrimination and pay discrepancy, and I’m sure it will happen whether laws are in place or not!

    and 2. Women who work for small companies, are part-time, unemployed, or self-employed have just as hard a time as women who work full time for a big wealthy company, so why shouldn’t they get the same support!

    I lived in Germany for a while and there, everybody gets a small amount of money to help make ends meet– for 18 months after a baby is born. If the woman wants to go back to work right away then it’s the man who gets the money. What I find enlightening about the German system is that you get the same amount of money whether you’ve been employed or not, whether you worked for a big company or small, or whether you made a lot of money or a little. The system simply acknowledges that babies under 1 1/2 are best taken care of at home by a parent. I also know, by the way, scores of women who used this time to become entrepreneurs and ultimately contributed much more to society than if they’d stayed in a job for survival.

    I currently work full time. If I could get even 25% of my salary ($600/month), we could squeak by, but I can’t afford to quit my job and it’s what’s providing my baby’s healthcare benefits. I worked for years to get as financially established as I am, and I’m already 34 so I didn’t want to wait any longer to have kids. We rent a modest apartment and take public transit and even with 2 decent salaries (around 40,000 each) we just make ends meet. I would consider it heaven to stay home and take care of my baby but somebody explain to me how we can live on one salary in Los Angeles! Childbirth shouldn’t be a privilege reserved for the wealthy.

    (see my earlier post titled “Theater Techie Mom” if you want my breastfeeding story)

    p.s. Anybody in LA want to get together and discuss these issues? I’m making a documentary about how moms make ends meet (or not) and would love your story! Contact me– kindredg@gmail.com

    -Kindred

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    October 5, 2007 at 11:02 pm by Anonymous

    After reading so many of these posts, I am all the more grateful to my employer for being so supportive of breastfeeding moms. The mom’s room in my building is not the nicest on campus (the newer buildings provide running water), but there’s a lock, a comfy chair & ottomon, baby books & magazines, and a mini-fridge. I make it a point to be open about where I’m going when I’m asked, to keep the subject out there for other women who may be concerned about breastfeeding in the future.

    A big high five to all of you here have continued to pump and breastfeed without such a supportive employer! Hopefully more and more women will have experiences like mine with new legislation in place.

    [Reply]

    September 29, 2007 at 5:15 pm by Anonymous

    I am a stay-at-home mom, so never–technically–had the problem of pumping at work to deal with. I did, however, encounter some resistance to “public” breastfeeding that ultimately damaged my ability to breastfeed my twin babies.

    My boys were born at 31 weeks gestation, and were hospitalized in the NICU for 7 weeks after they were born. Initially they were fed my expressed breastmilk through gavage tubes (in their noses) until around what would have been 35 weeks gestation for them. At that time they were very gradually transitioned to bottle feedings. I was allowed to try to breastfeed them only once in every 24 hour period at first. I was thrilled! I had successfully breastfed my first child and SO looked forward to this experience with my new babies! It was a little daunting at first. The boys were so tiny and fragile and hooked to so many monitors . . . .

    After several days of these joyful but tentative first attempts, I was informed by one of the nurses in the NICU that I needed to be more discreet, as I was making some of the other parents uncomfortable! I couldn’t believe it! I felt such shame. It was very difficult for me to get over these feelings–on top of the emotional rollercoaster we were already on–to continue trying. Ultimately, I abandoned trying to breastfeed them a couple of weeks after they came home from the hospital because it was just too difficult to juggle all of the pumping with the efforts to breastfeed. Instead I used a hospital-grade pump for the next 11 months, and fed them with bottles. In retrospect, I honestly feel I would have had more success had I been encouraged to breastfeed more openly and with more pride than shame in the NICU.

    Honestly. What is the problem here? What do people think our mammary gland are for, if not to beautifully nourish our babies? The fact that they are attractive sexually is quite secondary, from an evolutionary standpoint.

    I, personally, find it far more offensive that women feel the need to put silicone in their breasts. Breastfeeding is natural, beautiful, and the best choice for almost everyone. If you don’t want to look, then don’t! Avert your eyes!

    [Reply]

    October 9, 2007 at 9:21 am by Anonymous

    The embedded version worked well–thank you. What should your tagline read at the end? We usually run it along the lines of, “John Smith ’68 is an internist at the XXX Hospital in San Diego, California” or “John Smith ’68, an HMS assistant professor of medicine, directs the radiology division of Massachusetts General Hospital.”

    All the best,

    Paula

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Ann Barnet, M.D [mailto:arbarnet@gwu.edu]
    Sent: Wed 5/3/2006 10:16 AM
    To: Byron, Paula Brewer, Editor HMS Alum Bulletin. Paula_byron@hms.harvard.edu
    Cc:
    Subject: Re: My email – article included

    Hi
    I’m sending a short version of my article on lactation. 2 ways, as an attachment and also, if I fail to attach,
    in the body of this email.
    Thanks
    Ann

    BREAST IS STILL BEST BUT FEW INFANTS RECEIVE FULL BENEFIT

    Pediatric and public health experts recommend breast milk as the sole
    source of nutrition
    for at least the first six months of an infant’s life. About 65% of
    mothers now nurse their
    newborns, but only about 30% persist until their baby’s six month
    birthday.

    In the 1950′s I was a student at Harvard Medical School, one of nine
    women in my class,
    and the first ever to have a baby while a student. At that time, only
    about 30% of American
    women even tried lactation and about 80% had given up by three or four
    months. Just
    before my daughter was born, I took a pediatrics class that extolled
    the benefits of breast
    milk. I decided to give it a try. My obstetrician said, “Lactation? You
    won’t have time.” As
    part of my hospital discharge routine, I received, along with the other
    new mothers, two
    six-packs of baby formula, one Enfamil, the other Similac. Both packs
    were decorated with
    pictures of beautiful smiley mothers and happy babies sucking on their
    bottles.

    I went back to school and hospital assignments when Julie was about a
    month old. My
    very long hours at work included many evenings during which she had
    bouts of colicky
    crying. She refused both pacifier and bottle. Only nursing would
    suffice. These irritable
    hours were miserable both for Julie and me. The front of my blouse got
    wet as I ruminated
    about her tummy ache. Instead of learning the ins and outs of blood
    chemistry I worried
    about my husband’s parents who were baby sitting and had to listen to
    her wail. My
    husband, Dick, had been drafted into the army and was far away.

    Dick’s mother hit on the idea of driving the baby from our home in
    Brookline over to the
    medical school on Longwood Avenue or to the hospital where I was
    assigned. We looked
    for empty hallways or classrooms. Ladies’ Rooms were a refuge but,
    usually the only seat
    was the toilet. The best place turned out to be the car. Dick’s mother
    drove me round and
    round the block while I nursed. These interludes became for me a
    respite from the
    intensely masculine aura of the medical school. Of course Harvard
    Medical School and its
    hospitals were chock-ful of women – nurses, technicians, secretaries,
    cleaning staff – but
    they too were not cut much slack for family matters.

    I didn’t do very well at nursing. Within a month I got painful cracks
    in my nipples and a
    rash from my zealous efforts to attain perfect cleanliness. Over the
    phone my obstetrician
    recommended a penicillin ointment, to which I was allergic. I tried
    shields and a breast
    pump. They didn’t work very well. The rash spread and turned miserably
    itchy and angry.
    And it hurt. Beckoning me from the changing table shelf were those
    tempting bottles from
    the Boston Lying-In Hospital. I added supplemental formula feedings. I
    took my third
    year final exam – in pediatrics and obstetrics, so it happened – with a
    temperature of 104
    degrees. After I had scribbled my answers down as fast as I could
    manage, I clunked down
    the steep wooden steps of the amphitheater to turn in my blue book. My
    classmates
    cheered and applauded. They assumed that I had aced the exam due to my
    recent practical
    experience. When the swinging door to the auditorium closed behind me,
    I fainted. My
    milk supply and my will to continue the thankless project soon dried
    up. My obstetrician
    said, “I told you so,” or words to that effect. I was enraged but in
    those days a well
    brought-up girl, especially someone like me who had usurped a man’s
    place in medical
    school, was too polite to say so.

    Lactation went more smoothly with my second daughter, Beth, and with
    Michael, born in
    1958. I began to enjoy the profound pleasure that came with cradling my
    satisfied child as
    we relaxed into a deep dream-like trance. Very little else in life is
    sweeter and simpler than
    satisfying a baby’s hunger and then settling together into sleep, but I
    was far too busy to let
    myself sink into the quiet very often. I was back at work when they
    were three months old.
    Like Julie, the two younger babies had periods of colicky evening
    crying. Again I
    immediately assumed that my inadequate milk supply was starving them.
    My visiting
    mother would pick up her darling grandchild and coo, “You poor little
    thing. You’re just
    so hungry.” I wish, I wish a pediatrician had said to me, as they said
    thirtyfive years later
    to my daughters, “If they pee, if they poop, they are getting enough to
    eat.” I began, far
    too soon, to supplement my breast milk with the bottled breast milk
    substitutes that had
    been supplied me as I left the hospital. I believed the
    slogan, “Breast is Best;” I hoped
    formula was good-enough.

    When our children were teenagers, I worked in Mexico and Central
    America studying
    brain development in malnutrition, and in UN projects on prevention of
    malnutrition. I
    learned that chronic malnutrition in children is the leading cause of
    wasted human ability.
    It stunts the growth of brain and body, saps creative energies, and
    sets lifetime limits on
    potential. I watched infants dwindle and die because the breast milk
    substitutes they drank
    were dirty and nutritionally inadequate. Every year, according to the
    World Health
    Organization, over a million infants die because they are not breast
    fed. A staggering
    number of children under five years old, over ten million, die every
    year. Malnutrition
    which could be prevented through breast feeding, contributes to over
    half of these deaths.

    I had experienced first hand some of barriers to successful lactation.
    Although most new
    mothers now try it – 65-70% on average world wide in 2005, most have
    given up before
    many months have gone by. 30 – 40% are still nursing at six months and
    about 16%
    continue to a year. (Figures are approximate and there is major
    variability from country to
    country and among groups within countries.) Obstacles in my path,
    often noted by
    women the world over, include inadequate antepartum education and
    cursory postpartum
    support from maternity professionals. Nursing mothers must figure out
    how to deal with
    their fears of being unequal to the task, time pressures, lack of
    privacy, other conflicting
    duties, illness, and public distaste. Even potential legal condemnation
    was on my list – in
    the United States some states did not exempt nursing in public from
    indecent exposure
    laws until the late 1990′s. The medical people who attended me and my
    newborn did not
    offer advice and encouragement. Instead I was offered what I was told
    was a perfectly
    satisfactory and exceedingly convenient substitute for breast milk.
    Around the world, as
    well as in Boston, formula manufacturers provided free baby formula in
    unlimited
    quantities to maternity hospitals and clinics where it was passed
    on “free” to new mothers.

    In 1977, I joined INFACT, the Infant Formula Action Coalition, a new
    organization
    formed to combat corporate practices that discouraged mothers from
    initiating breast
    feeding. A common practice was for saleswomen from formula companies
    dressed up in
    white nurses uniforms to visit new mothers in hospitals and birthing
    clinics in Washington,
    D.C., Haiti, Nairobi, Mexico City, and points between. They would laud
    the health
    benefits and convenience of formula feeding. Then, when the mother’s
    own milk had dried
    up, she was stuck with buying a substitute. Many poor women could not
    afford adequate
    ongoing supplies of infant formula. They might not have reliable
    supplies of clean water to
    prepare it, or refrigeration to keep it sterile. Some mothers diluted
    their baby’s formula to
    stretch the supply. Some substituted rice water or corn starch mixes.

    INFACT joined with other consumer and health organizations in
    challenging the Swiss
    company, Nestle, the world’s largest food corporation and the largest
    manufacturer and
    distributor of infant formula, for its aggressive marketing practices
    in poor countries.
    Deceptive practices engaged in by other infant formula manufacturers
    also were
    spotlighted. I testified before a US Senate hearing chaired by Senator
    Edward Kennedy on
    inappropriate marketing in Mexico and the Carribean, testimony that was
    contested by
    representatives from infant formula distributors who claimed that they
    were performing
    philanthropic public service by giving away formula.

    At a meeting in 1979, UNICEF and the World Health Organization began a
    draft of an
    International Code of Marketing for Breast Milk Substitutes. The Code
    called for
    prohibiting advertising baby formula for newborns to the public,
    ceasing maternity
    hospital visits to promote formula feeding, and discontinuing free
    formula distribution in
    maternity clinics and hospitals. 118 nations at the 1981 UN World
    Health Assembly voted
    in favor of the Code. Activist groups from many countries banded
    together to push for
    implementation and to monitor progress. Consumer boycotts and
    stockholder legal actions
    were used in campaigns to promote compliance with the Code.

    In 1984, Nestlé finally agreed to honor the International Code. Other
    baby formula
    companies followed suit; however, during subsequent decades frequent
    violations of both
    the letter and the spirit of the Code were documented in many
    countries. The World Health
    Organization, for example, cited a 1991 study in Mexico that found, of
    59 maternity clinics
    and hospitals surveyed, 80% received infant formula free from
    companies. When they
    came into the hospital 95% of mothers said they planned to breast feed
    at home. At
    discharge, 36% of the new mothers had changed their intentions in
    various ways, most of
    them deciding to add formula feeding. Throughout the 1990′s dozens of
    Marketing Code
    violations from many countries – India, the Philippines, Poland,
    Bangladesh, South Africa,
    and others – were reported.

    Real progress has been made, however. National legislation embodying
    provisions of the
    International Marketing Code has been passed in about 75 countries. In
    1991 the “Baby-
    Friendly Hospital Initiative” was launched by UNICEF and the World
    Health Organization
    to underscore the critical importance of supporting lactation in the
    maternity wards where
    babies are delivered. Key steps of the Initiative include educating
    expectant parents,
    training maternity staff, helping new mothers begin nursing right after
    giving birth,
    refraining from giving newborns food other than breast milk, and
    enforcing the
    International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes within
    maternity facilities.
    These measures have been shown in hospitals from China to Peru to
    Zambia to be
    effective in increasing the incidence of breast feeding

    The straightforward, simple, and unambiguous recommendation “Breast
    feed for your
    baby’s health” has in recent decades become a more complex balancing
    act of risks and
    benefits because of the discovery that HIV (and certain other viruses)
    can be transmitted
    from mothers to infants through breast milk. But even in an HIV-
    infected mother, nursing
    may still be best for the baby. Many women in the population groups
    most affected by
    AIDS are desperately poor and their infants who are not nursed may well
    be at even higher
    risk for illness and death from malnutrition and other infectious
    diseases than they are for
    AIDS. Many women do not know their HIV status. In endemic areas of
    extreme poverty,
    some public health authorities recommend breast milk as sole source of
    nutrition in the
    infant’s early months because the benefits outweigh the risk of HIV. In
    situations where
    the infant can be assured a steady, reliable, and sufficient supply of
    formula, i.e., in
    developed nations and among high-income populations, HIV- positive
    mothers should not
    nurse.

    A review in 2005 conducted by UNICEF and the World Health Organization
    in
    conjunction with advocacy and educational groups applauds progress in
    breast feeding
    promotion and protection. Benchmarks include increased public
    recognition of commercial
    exploitation, better adherence to the International Marketing Code,
    increased consumer
    awareness, and the wider recognition of the special status of mothers
    and children as
    embodied in such proclamations as the 1989 Rights of the Child
    Declaration and the 2000
    UN Millennium Development Goals. Yet public health experts believe that
    the modest
    target for the year 2010 – 50% of infants breast fed for their first
    six months – will not be
    achieved.

    Many women around the world have little control over the conditions
    that determine their
    family and reproductive lives. When women’s education, empowerment and
    equality are
    secured, they will be better able to give their children’s nutrition
    the priority it should have.
    In 1954, I told my Harvard obstetrician of my plan to breast feed. He
    was correct when he
    stated flatly, “You won’t have time.” Now, after fifty years, I think
    we see obstacles to
    lactation as problems to be solved rather than as immutable conditions
    of modern life.

    2097 words

    —– Original Message —–
    From: “Byron, Paula Brewer” Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2006 11:41 am
    Subject: My email
    To: arbarnet@gwu.edu

    > Dear Dr. Barnet,
    >
    > Thank you so much for your call! My email is listed below.
    >
    > All the best,
    >
    >The embedded version worked well–thank you. What should your tagline read at the end? We usually run it along the lines of, “John Smith ’68 is an internist at the XXX Hospital in San Diego, California” or “John Smith ’68, an HMS assistant professor of medicine, directs the radiology division of Massachusetts General Hospital.”

    All the best,

    Paula

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Ann Barnet, M.D [mailto:arbarnet@gwu.edu]
    Sent: Wed 5/3/2006 10:16 AM
    To: Byron, Paula Brewer, Editor HMS Alum Bulletin. Paula_byron@hms.harvard.edu
    Cc:
    Subject: Re: My email – article included

    Hi
    I’m sending a short version of my article on lactation. 2 ways, as an attachment and also, if I fail to attach,
    in the body of this email.
    Thanks
    Ann

    BREAST IS STILL BEST BUT FEW INFANTS RECEIVE FULL BENEFIT

    Pediatric and public health experts recommend breast milk as the sole
    source of nutrition
    for at least the first six months of an infant’s life. About 65% of
    mothers now nurse their
    newborns, but only about 30% persist until their baby’s six month
    birthday.

    In the 1950′s I was a student at Harvard Medical School, one of nine
    women in my class,
    and the first ever to have a baby while a student. At that time, only
    about 30% of American
    women even tried lactation and about 80% had given up by three or four
    months. Just
    before my daughter was born, I took a pediatrics class that extolled
    the benefits of breast
    milk. I decided to give it a try. My obstetrician said, “Lactation? You
    won’t have time.” As
    part of my hospital discharge routine, I received, along with the other
    new mothers, two
    six-packs of baby formula, one Enfamil, the other Similac. Both packs
    were decorated with
    pictures of beautiful smiley mothers and happy babies sucking on their
    bottles.

    I went back to school and hospital assignments when Julie was about a
    month old. My
    very long hours at work included many evenings during which she had
    bouts of colicky
    crying. She refused both pacifier and bottle. Only nursing would
    suffice. These irritable
    hours were miserable both for Julie and me. The front of my blouse got
    wet as I ruminated
    about her tummy ache. Instead of learning the ins and outs of blood
    chemistry I worried
    about my husband’s parents who were baby sitting and had to listen to
    her wail. My
    husband, Dick, had been drafted into the army and was far away.

    Dick’s mother hit on the idea of driving the baby from our home in
    Brookline over to the
    medical school on Longwood Avenue or to the hospital where I was
    assigned. We looked
    for empty hallways or classrooms. Ladies’ Rooms were a refuge but,
    usually the only seat
    was the toilet. The best place turned out to be the car. Dick’s mother
    drove me round and
    round the block while I nursed. These interludes became for me a
    respite from the
    intensely masculine aura of the medical school. Of course Harvard
    Medical School and its
    hospitals were chock-ful of women – nurses, technicians, secretaries,
    cleaning staff – but
    they too were not cut much slack for family matters.

    I didn’t do very well at nursing. Within a month I got painful cracks
    in my nipples and a
    rash from my zealous efforts to attain perfect cleanliness. Over the
    phone my obstetrician
    recommended a penicillin ointment, to which I was allergic. I tried
    shields and a breast
    pump. They didn’t work very well. The rash spread and turned miserably
    itchy and angry.
    And it hurt. Beckoning me from the changing table shelf were those
    tempting bottles from
    the Boston Lying-In Hospital. I added supplemental formula feedings. I
    took my third
    year final exam – in pediatrics and obstetrics, so it happened – with a
    temperature of 104
    degrees. After I had scribbled my answers down as fast as I could
    manage, I clunked down
    the steep wooden steps of the amphitheater to turn in my blue book. My
    classmates
    cheered and applauded. They assumed that I had aced the exam due to my
    recent practical
    experience. When the swinging door to the auditorium closed behind me,
    I fainted. My
    milk supply and my will to continue the thankless project soon dried
    up. My obstetrician
    said, “I told you so,” or words to that effect. I was enraged but in
    those days a well
    brought-up girl, especially someone like me who had usurped a man’s
    place in medical
    school, was too polite to say so.

    Lactation went more smoothly with my second daughter, Beth, and with
    Michael, born in
    1958. I began to enjoy the profound pleasure that came with cradling my
    satisfied child as
    we relaxed into a deep dream-like trance. Very little else in life is
    sweeter and simpler than
    satisfying a baby’s hunger and then settling together into sleep, but I
    was far too busy to let
    myself sink into the quiet very often. I was back at work when they
    were three months old.
    Like Julie, the two younger babies had periods of colicky evening
    crying. Again I
    immediately assumed that my inadequate milk supply was starving them.
    My visiting
    mother would pick up her darling grandchild and coo, “You poor little
    thing. You’re just
    so hungry.” I wish, I wish a pediatrician had said to me, as they said
    thirtyfive years later
    to my daughters, “If they pee, if they poop, they are getting enough to
    eat.” I began, far
    too soon, to supplement my breast milk with the bottled breast milk
    substitutes that had
    been supplied me as I left the hospital. I believed the
    slogan, “Breast is Best;” I hoped
    formula was good-enough.

    When our children were teenagers, I worked in Mexico and Central
    America studying
    brain development in malnutrition, and in UN projects on prevention of
    malnutrition. I
    learned that chronic malnutrition in children is the leading cause of
    wasted human ability.
    It stunts the growth of brain and body, saps creative energies, and
    sets lifetime limits on
    potential. I watched infants dwindle and die because the breast milk
    substitutes they drank
    were dirty and nutritionally inadequate. Every year, according to the
    World Health
    Organization, over a million infants die because they are not breast
    fed. A staggering
    number of children under five years old, over ten million, die every
    year. Malnutrition
    which could be prevented through breast feeding, contributes to over
    half of these deaths.

    I had experienced first hand some of barriers to successful lactation.
    Although most new
    mothers now try it – 65-70% on average world wide in 2005, most have
    given up before
    many months have gone by. 30 – 40% are still nursing at six months and
    about 16%
    continue to a year. (Figures are approximate and there is major
    variability from country to
    country and among groups within countries.) Obstacles in my path,
    often noted by
    women the world over, include inadequate antepartum education and
    cursory postpartum
    support from maternity professionals. Nursing mothers must figure out
    how to deal with
    their fears of being unequal to the task, time pressures, lack of
    privacy, other conflicting
    duties, illness, and public distaste. Even potential legal condemnation
    was on my list – in
    the United States some states did not exempt nursing in public from
    indecent exposure
    laws until the late 1990′s. The medical people who attended me and my
    newborn did not
    offer advice and encouragement. Instead I was offered what I was told
    was a perfectly
    satisfactory and exceedingly convenient substitute for breast milk.
    Around the world, as
    well as in Boston, formula manufacturers provided free baby formula in
    unlimited
    quantities to maternity hospitals and clinics where it was passed
    on “free” to new mothers.

    In 1977, I joined INFACT, the Infant Formula Action Coalition, a new
    organization
    formed to combat corporate practices that discouraged mothers from
    initiating breast
    feeding. A common practice was for saleswomen from formula companies
    dressed up in
    white nurses uniforms to visit new mothers in hospitals and birthing
    clinics in Washington,
    D.C., Haiti, Nairobi, Mexico City, and points between. They would laud
    the health
    benefits and convenience of formula feeding. Then, when the mother’s
    own milk had dried
    up, she was stuck with buying a substitute. Many poor women could not
    afford adequate
    ongoing supplies of infant formula. They might not have reliable
    supplies of clean water to
    prepare it, or refrigeration to keep it sterile. Some mothers diluted
    their baby’s formula to
    stretch the supply. Some substituted rice water or corn starch mixes.

    INFACT joined with other consumer and health organizations in
    challenging the Swiss
    company, Nestle, the world’s largest food corporation and the largest
    manufacturer and
    distributor of infant formula, for its aggressive marketing practices
    in poor countries.
    Deceptive practices engaged in by other infant formula manufacturers
    also were
    spotlighted. I testified before a US Senate hearing chaired by Senator
    Edward Kennedy on
    inappropriate marketing in Mexico and the Carribean, testimony that was
    contested by
    representatives from infant formula distributors who claimed that they
    were performing
    philanthropic public service by giving away formula.

    At a meeting in 1979, UNICEF and the World Health Organization began a
    draft of an
    International Code of Marketing for Breast Milk Substitutes. The Code
    called for
    prohibiting advertising baby formula for newborns to the public,
    ceasing maternity
    hospital visits to promote formula feeding, and discontinuing free
    formula distribution in
    maternity clinics and hospitals. 118 nations at the 1981 UN World
    Health Assembly voted
    in favor of the Code. Activist groups from many countries banded
    together to push for
    implementation and to monitor progress. Consumer boycotts and
    stockholder legal actions
    were used in campaigns to promote compliance with the Code.

    In 1984, Nestlé finally agreed to honor the International Code. Other
    baby formula
    companies followed suit; however, during subsequent decades frequent
    violations of both
    the letter and the spirit of the Code were documented in many
    countries. The World Health
    Organization, for example, cited a 1991 study in Mexico that found, of
    59 maternity clinics
    and hospitals surveyed, 80% received infant formula free from
    companies. When they
    came into the hospital 95% of mothers said they planned to breast feed
    at home. At
    discharge, 36% of the new mothers had changed their intentions in
    various ways, most of
    them deciding to add formula feeding. Throughout the 1990′s dozens of
    Marketing Code
    violations from many countries – India, the Philippines, Poland,
    Bangladesh, South Africa,
    and others – were reported.

    Real progress has been made, however. National legislation embodying
    provisions of the
    International Marketing Code has been passed in about 75 countries. In
    1991 the “Baby-
    Friendly Hospital Initiative” was launched by UNICEF and the World
    Health Organization
    to underscore the critical importance of supporting lactation in the
    maternity wards where
    babies are delivered. Key steps of the Initiative include educating
    expectant parents,
    training maternity staff, helping new mothers begin nursing right after
    giving birth,
    refraining from giving newborns food other than breast milk, and
    enforcing the
    International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes within
    maternity facilities.
    These measures have been shown in hospitals from China to Peru to
    Zambia to be
    effective in increasing the incidence of breast feeding

    The straightforward, simple, and unambiguous recommendation “Breast
    feed for your
    baby’s health” has in recent decades become a more complex balancing
    act of risks and
    benefits because of the discovery that HIV (and certain other viruses)
    can be transmitted
    from mothers to infants through breast milk. But even in an HIV-
    infected mother, nursing
    may still be best for the baby. Many women in the population groups
    most affected by
    AIDS are desperately poor and their infants who are not nursed may well
    be at even higher
    risk for illness and death from malnutrition and other infectious
    diseases than they are for
    AIDS. Many women do not know their HIV status. In endemic areas of
    extreme poverty,
    some public health authorities recommend breast milk as sole source of
    nutrition in the
    infant’s early months because the benefits outweigh the risk of HIV. In
    situations where
    the infant can be assured a steady, reliable, and sufficient supply of
    formula, i.e., in
    developed nations and among high-income populations, HIV- positive
    mothers should not
    nurse.

    A review in 2005 conducted by UNICEF and the World Health Organization
    in
    conjunction with advocacy and educational groups applauds progress in
    breast feeding
    promotion and protection. Benchmarks include increased public
    recognition of commercial
    exploitation, better adherence to the International Marketing Code,
    increased consumer
    awareness, and the wider recognition of the special status of mothers
    and children as
    embodied in such proclamations as the 1989 Rights of the Child
    Declaration and the 2000
    UN Millennium Development Goals. Yet public health experts believe that
    the modest
    target for the year 2010 – 50% of infants breast fed for their first
    six months – will not be
    achieved.

    Many women around the world have little control over the conditions
    that determine their
    family and reproductive lives. When women’s education, empowerment and
    equality are
    secured, they will be better able to give their children’s nutrition
    the priority it should have.
    In 1954, I told my Harvard obstetrician of my plan to breast feed. He
    was correct when he
    stated flatly, “You won’t have time.” Now, after fifty years, I think
    we see obstacles to
    lactation as problems to be solved rather than as immutable conditions
    of modern life.

    2097 words

    —– Original Message —–
    From: “Byron, Paula Brewer” Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2006 11:41 am
    Subject: My email
    To: arbarnet@gwu.edu

    > Dear Dr. Barnet,
    >
    > Thank you so much for your call! My email is listed below.
    >
    > All the best,
    >
    > Paula
    >
    > –
    >
    > Paula Byron
    > Editor
    > Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin
    > 25 Shattuck Street
    > Boston, MA 02115
    > phone: 617-384-8903
    > fax: 617-384-8901
    > email: pbyron@hms.harvard.edu
    >
    >
    Paula
    >
    > –
    >
    > Paula Byron
    > Editor
    > Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin
    > 25 Shattuck Street
    > Boston, MA 02115
    > phone: 617-384-8903
    > fax: 617-384-8901
    > email: pbyron@hms.harvard.edu
    >
    >

    [Reply]

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    October 9, 2007 at 9:50 am by Anonymous

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    [Reply]

    October 2, 2007 at 9:34 pm by Anonymous

    Let’s not forget that breastfeeding is about a child EATING. Eating one’s meal should not have to be done under a blanket or behind a closed door or on someone else’s schedule just because some people in society have become so out of touch with the most basic facet of the human condition- the need for nourishment. I have breastfed two incredibly healthy children (who benefitted from the immunity safeguards of breastfeeding and were almost never sick), discreetly but proudly, and done my best to normalize something that is sadly no longer the norm thanks to a long history of puritanical rejection of bodily functions. Even the puritans must have recognized the need to eat.

    [Reply]

    October 10, 2007 at 8:40 am by Anonymous

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    [Reply]

    October 7, 2007 at 9:06 pm by Anonymous

    My daughter was born in 1991, and I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old. I pumped at work for 9 months. At that time, it was unheard of to pump, so I would take my breast pump with the extension cord into the ladies’ room, and go into the handicapped stall where I had a bit more room, and set up photos of my daughter to help me let down. The breast pump was really noisy, and people didn’t know what it was, so I routinely had people stare through the crack in the door to try and figure out why there was a stange buzzing sound coming from the bathroom stall, and a cord coming under the door. One day, a co-worker got freaked out by the buzzing sound, and called security. The 300 lb. security guy came into the ladies’s room, and looked over the bathroom stall at me, and nearly died of shame and embarrassment. He was HUGELY apologetic and even wrote me an apology note. He helped me go to HR and ask that we create a mother’s room for nursing mom’s, so I would have a safe clean, and private place to go. The space evolved into a place where everyone can reserve 30 minutes of quiet time, for nursing, or meditation, or a phone call, or whatever one needs on personal time. Nursing mom’s get priority. There are no more cords stretching under the bathroom door at my workplace, and for that I am proud!

    [Reply]

    September 28, 2007 at 8:50 am by Anonymous

    I exclusively pumped breastmilk until my son was a year old. He was born 6 weeks premature and never caught on to breastfeeding, so I had to pump the whole time.

    I work for a large university that provides no special breaks or rooms for breastfeeding moms. I’m lucky to work in a lab with a separate clean room with outlets, so I would go in there during my 15 minute breaks and lunch break, put a sign on the door, and pray no one came in as there was no lock on the door.

    [Reply]

    September 28, 2007 at 8:40 am by Anonymous

    AT THE DOOR
    ———–
    On a cushioned bench,
    beneath a nude sculpture,
    I nurse my infant daughter.
    My two older girls wander nearby,
    among the many captivating styles of art,
    enjoying in particular the featured works of Picasso.

    I, too, gaze around at the framed and chiseled creations.
    Then my eyes rest, in turn, on each of my three children
    and I marvel at the wonder
    of my own masterpieces.

    But this magic is interrupted
    by a uniformed woman
    who whispers to me,
    betraying no emotion,
    “There is a chair provided in the back hall,
    by the service elevator,
    where you might be more comfortable
    doing that.”

    She refers to breastfeeding.

    I assure her I am fine and think to myself
    how ironic that she worries for my modesty
    in an atmosphere so full of visibly fleshy portrayals.

    Minutes later she is back,
    unmasked and upset that I am not moving.
    I tell her that my daughters are intent
    upon gobbling up this visual feast
    and that from this position
    I can keep a watchful eye.

    She proclaims, in obvious annoyance,
    that if I will not cooperate,
    I will be forcibly removed.
    I am choked with comic disbelief.

    After a few more moments
    it becomes apparent she will not be swayed.
    She is on a security mission,
    ever faithful to her duty,
    as she envisions it,
    of protecting her fortress from unwanted exhibitionist.

    I happen to be with a friend
    who runs a breastfeeding support group.
    Together, we insist on speaking to a higher authority.

    The guard is resolute and disapproving
    as a young man hurriedly arrives
    in response to her call.

    We explain the situation
    and he, not quite sure how to proceed,
    begins to lean toward the guards suggestion of expulsion.

    We ask if he feels the need
    for us to bring in our own artistic renderings,
    portrayed in the flesh and blood
    of hundreds of women and their babies
    sitting happily,
    for hours,
    in nuturing poses,
    filling the rooms and corridors,
    along with all the other exposed works,
    this liberal institution has chosen to present.

    “No, no,” he assures us, “No need for that.”

    “What is the policy on nursing,” we ask?

    “Well, there is no statement, exactly,” he explains.
    “It is just that there is no food or drink allowed
    on the museum floors.”

    “Aha!,” my friend and I exclaim,
    exchanging looks of hilarity.
    “Next time we shall both
    check our breasts
    at the door!”

    Elizabeth Newman
    newm5539@bellsouth.net

    [Reply]

    September 27, 2007 at 4:58 pm by Anonymous

    I’m so sorry that you experienced this kind of treatment! I am appalled that a company would treat you like this, after telling you at the time of hiring that it was acceptable.

    This story is a prime example of the need for legislation to protect a woman’s right to pump at work.

    Extra breaks?! I would have been floored at the accusation, and probably would have sought legal counsel at that point.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 2:29 pm by Anonymous

    Due to financial reasons, I had to return to work full time when my son was just 11 weeks old – to a new job, no less! I made it clear when i interviewed, when I recieved an offer, and on my first day that i would have to spend some time – about 30 minutes – twice a day to pump. Everyone reassured me that this would not be a problem.
    My first day, I realized that I did not have a private office that I could use, and the restroom did not have electrical plugs (the batteries didn’t provide enough power in my pump). I went to my car, and sat there and pumped with the lighter attachment. For the 1st month or so i did this 2x a day, but my manager – herself a mother of 3 – told me in a roundabout way that the staff was complaining about me getting “extra breaks” and could I cut down to just once a day?
    I did, and after another month I was told I was “taking advantage of the system” and I needed to be behind my desk more often. So I stopped pumping at work, and would pump and drive on the way home because I was in so much pain. (Lunch was never an option – we are expected to work and eat at our desks).
    I ultimately stopped nursing when my son was 9 months old because I couldn’t keep my production up, and I know that not pumping during the day – often 10 hour work days – contributed to this. I am currently looking actively for a new position, and will make sure i ask about these policies when I interview!

    [Reply]

    September 29, 2007 at 4:32 pm by Anonymous

    I am a veterinary nurse and it was quite difficult for me to pump at work. Unlike RN’s, we (RVT’s) don’t get scheduled breaks; we have to “steal away” for a few minutes during a lull. So, some days I had the chance to pump when I needed to, but most days I didn’t. Many days my only break the whole day was for lunch, and pumping only once in 9 hours is NOT conducive to continued milk supply. Additionally, the only private areas for pumping were the bathroom (not entirely sanitary, and other employees needed to use the bathroom, too) and a room upstairs (the use of which would cut down on my pumping time due to gathering my supplies and the afformentioned break-time dirth). I ended up pumping in the employee “locker area” which has no door. I would stand there, “hooked up” to the pump, with my back to the doorway, as other employees would walk in and out getting things from their shelves or putting things away. It broke my heart to not be able to provide milk for my daughter. I had looked forward so much to breastfeeding and providing the best nutrition for my child. Here I was, a die-hard breastfeeding advocate, and I had to feed my daughter formula! Her daycare provider was kind enough to let me breastfeed her in the morning when I dropped her off, and let me go there and breastfeed on my lunch break. And I breastfed at night and weekends, but it wasn’t enough to keep up my supply. My daughter self-weaned at 19 months; better than nothing, but not as long as I had hoped. She just got frustrated by nothing coming out.

    [Reply]

    September 9, 2007 at 5:17 am by savetheworld504

    I pumped at work for 7 months. I had a private office with a locking door so I used my office. Pumping forced me to take a break! My coworkers were understanding. I did not publicize what I was doing but I was never judged. I panicked when i had to attend trainings and conferences outside my facility, but I was met with such a warm welcome by female staff at other facilities who loaned me their private offices and quiet areas to pump discretely.

    I did get mastitis once from not pumping at work but it was due to my own fault in not making time to pump and not making pumping my own priority during the workday. At that stage in our breastfeeding relationship, I wanted to work more and not be as dependent on pumping. It was a personal choice. Shortly thereafter, my supply continued to decrease to the point that my son lost interest in nursing. Again, it was a personal decision which I put a lot of thought into and we weaned. We nursed until he was 11 months and 3 weeks old.

    I already know what I will do differently for the next baby so that I can breastfeed longer next time around and continue to work full time on the management track.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 6:27 pm by Anonymous

    I think legislation is one answer. As you said, GOOD companies realize the benefits of allowing time for breastfeeding. Other not-so-good companies, with higher turn over rates (and usually lower pay) feel little obligation to the health of their employees and employees’ children. The sad thing is that babies from these low income families are the most in need of the health benefits provided by breastfeeding. Also, many of these infants are on Medicaid, so it would benefit all tax payers if their mothers were provided with resources to help them breastfeed. I do think that education is also an issue. I was on the WIC program when by daughter was born, which supplies low-income families with food supplements, formula, and nutritional counseling. The counselors seemed like they were totally uneducated about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was hardly ever mentioned when I was pregnant, and the counselors were constantly pushing formula “Are you sure you don’t want any?” “If you ever change your mind just let us know.” I honestly felt like I was doing something wrong. I think agencies like this one are important, but they should be required to promote breastfeeding, and provide resources like breast pumps, lactation consultants, and references to breastfeeding groups. Unfortunately, a lot of moms want to breastfeed but feel like it would be impossible.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 2:43 pm by Anonymous

    I often pumped in my car on the way to/from work, and my male co-workers joked in a nice way to never come to my car and say “Hi”. Just keep walking and look away!!

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 2:22 pm by Anonymous

    I was delighted when I showed up for my first day of work at a large engineering company and found a mother’s station in a separate room joining the bathroom. There were screens setup for privacy, magazines and a comfortable chair. They even moved me to the top of the list for wireless network access so that I could work while I pumped!! No embarassment, no comments, no big deal.

    I never expected such a comfort at a mostly male company. I pumped for 5 months after that, and a year after my next child was born.

    I think that good companies realize a healthier baby results in a mother that misses less work.

    I’m not sure if legislation is the answer, it could just be an educational issue.

    [Reply]

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    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 11:10 pm by Anonymous

    My story was initially published in the Boston Globe on June 23 2007.(see ://www.Boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/06/23/board_wont_relent_for_breast_feeding_mother/).

    I, Sophie Currier, (MD PhD candidate at Harvard) am suppose to be taking my United States Medical Licensing exam, Step 2 CK, on Sept 15th 2007. However I have a 4 month old baby whom I am exclusively nursing and thus will need to pump during the exam. The exam is 9 hours long and only provides 45 minutes of break time total. These 45 minutes can be broken up and taken after any of the 8 one hour sections of the exam. During this break time students in general are allowed to go where they want and do as they choose.

    I will have to use these 45 minutes of time to pump 2 times and eat drink and go to the bathroom. Pumping (with set up and clean up time) will take me at best a minimum of 22 minutes each time (to get to the location, set up, pump and clean up after, and eat while pumping). That leaves me exactly 1 minute to go to the bathroom in 9 hours. Even if I only had to go one time in 9 hours, it would be physically impossible to check in/ check out, get to the bathroom, and back in one minute.

    In June I made a request to the NBME for a small amount of extra break time to accommodate my (and all nursing mom’s) need to pump. They refused. In order to accommodate my need they suggested that I bring multiple pumps to avoid set up and clean up time and pump in a room that “for security purposes” is video monitored (recall that students can leave the building and do what they choose during their break time). “[...] the NBME has offered to permit Ms. Currier to bring multiple, assembled pumps into the facility, thereby saving the time you claim is required to assemble, disassemble and clean a pump during the break [...].

    And even then I would be very short on time so in a schedule they drew up they suggested that I complete sections of the exam early in order to get more break time. Why should a nursing mom have less time for the actual exam than others?

    They also suggested bringing my baby to the test center. “She may leave the test center to nurse the baby, which would also save time to assemble, disassemble and clean the pump.” Another creative option is gee, why not have the baby replace the pump since the milk needs to come out and that darn pump is so time-consuming? Practically speaking, I would have to check out of the testing room (where cell phones are understandably not allowed) regularly to see whether my daughter is hungry yet (at last!), and then coordinate a meeting on the spot with some outside help, hoping that she won’t fall apart during the time to rendez-vous. How I could fit these phone checks, at least two outside meetings with baby as well as eating, going to the bathroom let alone taking a mental break within 45 minutes is still a mystery to me. Of course it would help if my 3 month old daughter could stay all day in a near by cafe (as she is not allowed to “stay” or even enter the actual testing center). And all of these options seem so obviously more sensible and humane than giving me a small amount of additional break time to express milk. I see here at the very least a profound ignorance of the practical realities of breast-feeding, and at worst disdain for the well-being of a child.

    They also claim that this situation is of my “own doing” since nursing is a “temporary condition” “[...] As your client knows, the test is given 5-6 days per week and year round. Therefore, individuals with temporary physical conditions can schedule their testing at a time most convenient to their professional and personal commitments and schedules.” The notion underlying this quote is that rather than unduly burden a test-taking center with a formidable additional break time of less than 1 hour in a 9h exam/work day relative to male peers, a breastfeeding woman should pick one of the 5-6 days a week when by miracle her breasts would not engorge and she would not risk mastitis if she refrained from breastfeeding or pumping. The other (equally unreasonable) alternative suggested is that she should just stop breastfeeding her child or wait until that’s all done with to accommodate the requirements of taking this test, which is so obviously more sensible than the test center accommodating her. Given the length of breastfeeding now recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics (and ACOG, and Mass Medical Society, etc.) is about a year, this seems like a hefty price to pay by a professional woman for a refusal to give her a small amount of additional break time.

    The set up they have currently presented makes it impossible for me as a nursing mom to “healthfully” take the exam. This exam is critical to my becoming a physician and has to be taken by around Sept 15 in order to graduate and enter my residency program at Mass General Hospital in the fall. For most students it is a pass/fail exam, the score is actually irrelevant. So why not let nursing moms have a few extra minutes of break time?

    Since the initial article
    (see://www.Boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/06/23/board_wont_relent_for_breast_feeding_mother/) many different players of the medical community have contacted the NBME in order to persuade them to change their policy: including the Mass Medical Society, and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The deans of Harvard and Stanford Medical schools and Prof. Barres, Neuroscientist from Stanford University, have also written. To no avail. Lawyers Christine Collins and Lauren Rikleen Bowditch and Dewey have offered to represent me pro bono. We have sent demand letters. However they continue to dig in their heels.

    I only have a few weeks left before I have to take my exam. I have discussed options with several lactation specialist, however none of them have been able to come up with a reasonable way to get by with the current break time offered. It may come down to my having to wear diapers and “skimp” on my pumping time in order to get through the exam. I hope painful engorgement and sitting in wet “Depends” will not be too distracting and pray that I don’t get mastitis (infection of the breast) or a urinary tract infection. I only have to pass.

    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 5:56 pm by Anonymous

    I am a stay-at-home mother, so my work is at home and I didn’t have the constraints of pumping, etc., for which I am grateful. I have a related story, however, regarding my children’s pediatrician and her non-supportiveness regarding breastfeeding. I breastfed my first child until she was 3 and I was 4 months pregnant with my son. Since my son was my last child I had planned to breastfeed until he indicated he was finished, whenever that was. When I took him for his 18 month check-up the pediatrician asked about my breastfeeding. He wasn’t a good eater, but loved to breastfeed. She commented that maybe he would be a better eater if I stopped breastfeeding him, or maybe not. He had always been very healthy, I didn’t think that was a risk worth gambling on and what is the rush. She said I should start weaning him in the next 6 months because, “in this culture people don’t usually breastfeed past 2 and there’s no value in it at this point anyway.” Mind you, I’m American, I don’t look “foreign”, though my husband is Indian, why she needed to advise me on my own culture is beyond me. Furthermore, as an MD she is telling me there is no value in breastfeeding past 18 months of age. Luckily, I come from a family of breastfeeders and I was quickly reassured by my supports (sisters, etc.) that this doctor was cracked. She also came out of her office when I was paying my bill to give me a “and furthermore…”, telling me that my daughter having a cavity at 5 years old might have something to do with my having breastfed her until she was 3. Go figure. My sister said maybe this woman left her kids to go back to medical school and was jealous. I just thought it was mean and very unprofessional. I hope you find it relevant.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 10:09 pm by Anonymous

    When my youngest was born 26 years ago, I was in the military. I used my lunch hour to drive to the sitters and feed my son. He refused a rubber nipple so pumping wasn’t an option. But only one feeding in 8 hours made him miserable and caused me to have mastitis, with 104 fever, but my boss would’nt let me off work even for that. I still have scar tissue in my breast. How heart-breaking that things have barely changed in all this time…(sigh) I was lucky to be able to nurse for 13 months, but it took absolute determination and shouldn’t have been so darn hard.

    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 10:02 am by Anonymous

    Below is a copy of an e-mail that I sent to Massport regarding an incident yesterday. I have not heard back.

    On June 26, 2207, I flew with my three children from Logan to Charlotte, NC. In the food court near Gate B6 at approximately 11:30 a.m., my two young sons were eating a lunch we had just bought and I was breastfeeding my youngest son (an infant, 4.5 months old). I was completely covered by a blanket– literally, all you could see was my baby’s feet. An airport employee first walked past me and stated I was making her lose her appetite, and then came back and asked if I had been raised in a barn (that is a direct quote). I was completely humiliated and embarassed in front of my children for discreetly nursing my infant son. The employee quickly darted into an “authorized personnel only” door after insulting me. I cannot overstate how awful her comments made me feel about the simple act of discreetly feeding my son. The employee was not in any type of uniform, but instead in office attire. Her cowardice in this hit and run personal attack was even more troublesome– immediately running for cover through a restricted door. Please respond to this message.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 11:26 pm by Anonymous

    Unfortunately because of financial reasons, I had to return to work 3 weeks after delivering my little girl. Fortunately I work as a nurse in an OB-GYN office, so they were very accomodating and supportive. I do struggle to find time during the day to pump, but I am blessed that I work in a supportive office. Perhaps the government needs to look at the health benefits of breastfeeding and then look at the rising costs of healhcare in our country. I will do all that I can to keep my children healthy to avoid $20 copays and long waits in the pediatricans office.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 11:27 pm by Anonymous

    I pumped at my full-time job as a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco in 1997 after the birth of my first child. It was a degrading, demoralizing situation, where I had to literally go thru 3 buildings to find a restroom that had a counter where I could stand up and place my pump on it, and plug it in. Total strangers walked in and out. There was once a woman asleep on the couch while I was pumping. I had a very high-pressure job and had trouble fitting it in, and after just a few weeks of this, I ended up with mastitis. It occured 3 times, and the 3rd time I was hospitalized (not at my own hospital) for IV antibiotics. It was so bad, but I didn’t ever think “I deserve something better”, because as a resident you are so used to being degraded and treated badly. Now I know that it was wrong, particularly for a hospital that serves mothers and children.

    [Reply]

    October 9, 2007 at 9:50 am by Anonymous

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    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 5:49 pm by Anonymous

    Sure, it wasn’t ideal, but I got tired of traipsing to the private area and just started pumping at my desk. I was discreet, my office is low-key, and I pumped until my child was a year old.

    And when I was done, I made a speech at a staff meeting and thanked everyone for being accomodating, and said that I hope they would be as cooperative the next time they were faced with a pumping mom.

    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 3:17 pm by Anonymous

    I was a new mom in the 70′s and 80′s and never had anyone question me about breastfeeding in public (which I did all the time). It is truly appalling that anyone should be questioned and/or not supported in her decision to breastfeed, pump, or whatever she needs to do to take care of her baby. It is in EVERYONE’S best interest to have all babies nourished and cared for in the best(for baby and mother) way.

    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 3:18 pm by Anonymous

    My daughter was born September 6, 2005. September is a very inconvient time to have a baby when you are a new teacher in a district. I told my principal I would be pumping and asked her to please consider this when planning my schedule. She did not and I had my prep time the last hour of the day with a 20 minute lunch at 12:30. I taught from 8-12:30, by that time if I had not leaked through my pads and soaked my shirt, it was a good day. Nevermind the pain I was in. Try explaining to a bunch of 13 year olds why your shirt is all wet! I pumped during my lunch and did not get to eat until the end of the school day. I was starving!!! So, unfortunatly I had to stop earlier than I would have if I had some support at work.

    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 2:27 pm by Anonymous

    As a new mom I was thrilled to breastfeed and feel the closeness and bonding that goes along with it. My mom was a long time breastfeeder of her last 4 children and even breastfed her first 2 for longer than the norm back in the 60′s. She was a member of the La Leche League group, which supports and helps breastfeeding mom’s be successful. If it was not for my mom I would’ve followed the advice of my pediatrician and possibly lost the ability to breastfeed my infant.
    As the story goes I was successfully breastfeeding my newborn and went back for routine infant tests on my child. There they told me that she needed to be put on the bottle because her bilirubin was rising and this was called “breast milk jaundice” and going on the bottle would give her more fluids and we would know exactly how much fluid my infant was getting, thus helping her bilirubin go down. They then proceeded to tell me all that could possibly happen to my sweet new baby if I did not follow orders. I was so upset and worked up about this! I immediately called my mom and told her the circumstance and she advised me otherwise and said that it would not be breastmilk jaundice as this starts 2 weeks after birth. My mind wanted to do the right thing but who do I follow, the professionals or my trusted, experienced,educated mom. I did not follow doctors orders and decided to wake my infant every 2 hrs. to make sure she was getting plenty of fluid and sure enouph at her next test she was fine and her bilirubin was down and there was no worries. Breastmilk or formula it did not matter, she just needed more fluid. New moms that do not have family support would follow their knowledgable professionals who do not always have it right. I am thankful I have a mom who has been involved in this fight to support all breastfeeding rights. As we all know this is the best formula for our infants but some don’t want to fight the fight. Breastfeeding is a natural event but a learned experience and we need to help and support our family and friends to breastfeed!
    Sincerely,
    Garianne Stephens

    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 3:38 pm by Anonymous

    My oldest son is now 3 years old and was weaned at about 7-8 monmths old. I was working for the same company I am now ( a very large publishing company), but in a call center/technical support. I was only allowed 6 weeks maternity leave even though I had a c-section and ended up taking an extra 2 weeks of vactaion. So I was back to work after 8 weeks pumping 3x a day (including during my lunch). My immediate supervisor, a woman, wasn’t very supportive, neither were the women in my dept. They felt I was taking advantage of having extra breaks. Yet, I was away from my desk less time total then the smokers were. (Amazingly my boss (a man) and the 2 men in my dept were the most supportive) After about 3-4 months or so, I was told that they shouldn’t be letting me be away from my desk so much. I went to HR and complained and found out that I wasn’t protected in any way. I said I would pump at my desk (we had 4 desks all togetehr and everyojen would have seen– but I was so pissed I would have done it just to spite them) or have my son brought up every 3-4 hours to be nursed. “Oh no” they said– you can’t do that. I started finding ways to work while I pumped– answering customer emails, etc. I started keeping track of every single minute I worked… and that last 2 months I pumped– they paid me a lot of overtime. If I staretd working 1 minute over or 1 minute later– I counted it… But because of the stress level of trying to continue pumping, my supply was gone by the time my son was 8 months old. Oh, and like everyone else, I was walked in on multiple times… (I was pumping in an extra office)

    I now have a 4 month old son and went back to work after 9 weeks. My current boss is very young (I am 32 and he is probably 25-26) and very supportive. I think he is afraid of being thought of as discrimative. Also a girl he worked with in his last job (who I am friends with, same company, just differnt dept) has a 5 month old and is now working part-time and nursing. So she and I talked to facilities about using an extra empty office. The facilities manager has a 8 month old and his wife is nursing, so that helps. He got us a power strip, bookcase, and tabel. We have hung up pictures of our boys and we worked out a pumping schedule. I am there full-time and she is just part-time right now. I currnetly pump once in the morning, drive 6 minutes from work to my parenst house and nurse my son at lunchtime and then pump again in the afternoon. I am very blessed to have my father watch my baby (He watched my older son for 3 years) and he only lives 5-6 minutes form my work. My brotehr and SIL have a baby 4 days older than my youngest and my SIL comes over at lunchtime and nurses her daughter as well.

    I am lucky enough to have quite a stash of frozen milk right now that if I was forced to wean, my son will still have breastmilk for a couple months.

    There is another mom here at work, due in Oct, who is planning on breastfeedinga nd we plan on asking her to join our pumping group. We are hoping that if we get that room used A LOT, we will get to make it a permanant lacation/nursing mom’s room. We are currently talking about what we’d need in there (like a mini fridge), etc and planning to go to HR to ask for a permanant room be made. Wish us luck!! And here’s to all employers realizing that helping a mother continue to breastfeed helps them… good PR, less time out sick, etc!

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    August 31, 2007 at 10:04 am by Anonymous

    I pumped when I went back to work – even brought my pump with me on business trips, pumping in airport bathrooms or in between client meetings!

    Ususally never had a problem, but one experience was so upsetting I almost quit my job. When traveling from NYC to DC for business, I was going through securirty with my pump, as I had numerous times before. They stopped me and I explained that it was a breast pump. The male security agent told me I would have to throw out my ice packs because liquids were not allowed. I explained to him that they were (1) frozen solid (2) that I had traveled with them before without any issues (3) necessary for me to be able to pump for my baby. He did not budge. I went back to try to check them in a bag and was told it was too late. Asked to speak with a supervisor who told me to throw them away or I was not going to board my plane. Despite my tears, pleading, and support of numerous other passengers (mostly men) to just let me through, I had no choice but to throw them in the trash. Upon my arrival in DC I purchased a cup of ice at the airport and hoped that it would keep my milk cold the entire day.

    I worked for a Member of Congress for many years and know that the horrible + shameful experience I had was certainly not acceptable, permissible or served to further national security. My ice was a threatening as a too big tube of toothpaste! I felt targeted, singled out, humilated, and left without options or recourse. I certainly hope that other working moms who travel won’t have to face a similar situation, but I am sure that many do each and every day.

    By the way, I still traveled with my pump – using frozen vegetables as my ice pack and daring TSA to take away my bag of broccoli!!!

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    August 30, 2007 at 8:03 pm by Anonymous

    I have been pumping at work for 5 months now- my daughter is 8 months and I feel like I accomplished a lot by making it this far. My work has been very supportive but due to limited office space it is hard to find a place to pump and I feel bad that I am always kicking my supervisor out of her office but she has been great about it. Plus any of the offices I use are more like cubicals without doors and everyone can hear everything and the doors do not lock so I always feel on edge when pumping that someone might walk in on me (even though put a sign on the door). I wish they had a specific room that was private and available just for this purpose. There are many other mothers at my work whom I am sure would have breasfed their children had this been available. My work plans to relocate due to lack of space within the next year- hopefully the next office has this. Overall I am glad I made it this far and hope to make it to a year but I find pumping at work very draining and stressful. I am lucky though that all my coworkers are very supportive of it.

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    August 31, 2007 at 7:29 am by Anonymous

    I loved nursing my daughter, but when it was time to go back to work I started pumping during the day. I’m an ob-gyn, so schedules are erratic at best! It’s worked really well, and I have very supportive co-workers. The easiest way to accomplish my goals is to pump in the car to and from work, and once or twice more during the day as time permits. My baby is 5 months old and doing great, and has not ever had a drop of formula . . . here’s hoping she won’t ever need to!

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    August 30, 2007 at 9:51 pm by Anonymous

    It’s been almost 10 years since I had to pump at work, but I remember it very clearly. For 9 months, I had to sneak away from my desk frequently and use a pump while sitting on a toilet. Not exactly that serene picture of mother and child bonding, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

    Fortunately, Avent makes a great and quiet manual pump (no outlet in the stall)!

    It would be nice to think that some progress has been made in the last 10 years, and judging from some of the other posts, it has–but we have a long way to go. Mothers should never have to choose between nourishing our nation’s next generation and keeping our jobs!

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    August 30, 2007 at 7:13 pm by Anonymous

    I worked for our county fire department as a 911 dispatcher, obviously a demanding job. I was allowed to pump anytime I needed without any negative comments or feelings. Unfortunately I had to pump in our restroom without a chair, but it is an old building and not much in the way of extra rooms. It did have an electrical outlet and a lock on the door so it was private. However, during this time I was called for jury duty. I asked to be excused from duty since I was breastfeeding. She (yes, female judge) asked what I did during work and I told her I was able to pump whenever I needed without restriction. She said they would provide me with a room and I could pump three times in the 8 hour day. That sounded fine so I tried it. The very first time someone walked in on me while I was pumping. I used a double pump so I was completely exposed. Apparently I was in a break room for the bailiffs! Not very private. When I complained they said there wasn’t any other options and basically I needed to live with it. Long story short, during the course of the trial (two weeks) I wasn’t able to pump all day and my supply was completely gone by the end. My baby was only six months old. I wish now that I had been more informed of the laws that are present and been more assertive in my desire to pump or be removed.

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    August 30, 2007 at 7:29 pm by Anonymous

    I joined The GAP as a contract finance manager when my daughter was 8 months old. Not only did they provide a special “quiet room” for nursing moms, fit with comfortable chairs, magazines and a great view, they actually provided a hospital grade pump! All I needed to bring was my own attachments.

    I think the best answer is to support and work for companies that support working moms.

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    August 31, 2007 at 9:21 am by Anonymous

    I used to pump in the car, taking a shorter lunch to accomodate the breaks I’d need to pump during work. While this was not ideal, it was private and I could listen to the radio and put up the sunguards around some of the windows. Despite working for a company that produced healthy vegetarian meals and espoused some family friendly ideas, I did recognize that the company was not yet ready to accept setting up a nursing station or anything of that ilk. Naturally, I would have preferred a private place INDOORS to pump, especially in winter or on hot summer days, but it all worked out. Also, I was probably more comfortable doing this than others were walking by my car and seeing the activity.

    Truthfully, the entire childcare situation is ludicrous. I now stay at home, the mom of two kids and feel so much more relaxed but I do miss working and sometimes resent that it is so difficult for a family to have both parents participating somehow in the workplace. I nursed both my kids for a long time and am glad I did but I do feel our nation has a very long way to go before women are respected as mothers in the workplace. Also, I wish this country would just get over boob anxiety. Good grief! They’re just part of the anatomy!

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    August 31, 2007 at 9:59 am by Anonymous

    After my first child was born, I reduced my hours at work to part-time (4 half days and one weekend a month). I went back to work on her 8 week birthday and would use my 15 minute break to pump (when I worked evenings, my sweet husband would bring the baby to me). I worked for a public library, and luckily for me, two other employees had pumped and paved the way for me. The only space that was always available to me and private was the staff bathroom, accessible through our breakroom. I was just glad to have a door with a lock on it and an electric plug close by! When our baby was 9 months old, we took a short vacation and after that she would never again take a bottle (nor a sippy). I would work my short shift and race home to nurse her. She nursed for 20 months. I became a SAHM after the birth of our second child and happily let the pump collect dust.

    I really think it’s a shame that so many women have lost their milk supply or been unable to pump at work. So many employers allow regular smoking breaks and yet pumping mothers are accused of taking extra long breaks. :(

    -busybusymomma

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    August 31, 2007 at 3:01 am by Anonymous

    I worked as a loan officer in a bank. My boss, the only male in the office, was a family man. He would joke about my bags of milk in the office freezer, but never had a problem with me pumping in a toilet stall. When I asked to go to a part-time work schedule, though, senior management told me “There’s no such thing as a part-time loan officer.” I quit work when my daughter was two, still breast-feeding. It was much easier to breast-feed my second since I didn’t work. I was only asked once to stop breast-feeding in public and this was 22-25 years ago. I did try to always be as discreet as possible.

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    August 30, 2007 at 11:32 pm by Anonymous

    Well, actually, do (get me started). This is a subject near and dear to my heart — so much so that I co-authored a book on the subject, The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies – and How You Can, Too, by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette. (Tarcher/Penguin 2007) (www.milkmemos.com) The book is an humorous and practical guide to balancing motherhood and work, with the central focus on breastfeeding (after returning to paid work). The Milk Memos is based upon actual journals kept by a group of IBM women during our visits to the IBM employee lactation room (read: converted janitor’s closet).
    It was covered recently in salon.com –
    http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2007/08/22/pumping/index.html
    See also newsweek.com –
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19002095/site/newsweek/

    My co-author, Andrea Serrette, and I sent a copy of the book to MomsRising in March (when it was published). We also sent a copy to U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, sponsor of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act (and to many other influential people). We would LOVE LOVE LOVE to get involved in this issue and serve as advocates and experts concerning breastfeeding in the workplace.

    As MomsRising members well know, legislation in support of breastfeeding at work is but one small piece of the puzzle. One of my soapboxes is that MOMS NEED TO DEMAND MORE from our employers (directly). Ask for what we need and deserve. Finally, we need to educate employers on how lactation programs benefit them – why wait for legislation? I know I’m oversimplifying, but my comment is already long enough! :-)
    Together we can create the change our country needs. One day breastfeeding will be the norm again. Maybe in time for my grandchildren (my daughters are ages 3 and 5).
    Best, Cate Colburn-Smith
    Boulder, Colorado
    Co-author of The Milk Memos

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    August 30, 2007 at 10:15 pm by Anonymous

    Earlier this year in Montana, MomsRising members and many others worked to help pass SB 89, which requires state and local government to provide reasonable time and space other than a toilet stall to breastfeed or pump. I only wish the new law extended to *all* mothers rather than just public employees.

    Similar to Sophie Currier’s story, a few years ago a mother here asked for time to pump during the bar exam. She was denied by the State Bar Ass’n and appealed it to the Montana Supreme Court. The court denied her time to pump. Perhaps the fact that no woman on the court had ever nursed a child had something to do with it??

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    August 30, 2007 at 10:45 pm by Anonymous

    I was a dispatcher and then a police officer and while I was breastfeeding the only place they offered me to pump was the women’s bathroom. Yuck! I pumped in a small semi-private room outside the bathroom. It was not without great concern from my superior officers who said I could only pump on my breaks. Needless to say the milk supply diminished and I only ended up breastfeeding my second child for five months.

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    August 30, 2007 at 8:02 pm by Anonymous

    My friend recently had her child naturally at a hospital in Chicago. There are no birthing centers in this city. I was her birthing partner and stayed with her for the days that followed in the hospital. The birthing was wonderful and the sweet new one was and is very healthy.

    What went wrong was that this hospital has an unreasonable blood sugar protocol 55 while most every authority in the pediatric community would say 40 is the lower limit. Well of course the hospital insisted that she start to feed formula or they would take away the baby to a special needs nursery. We were fit to be tied. It is totally natural for the baby to not be too interested in feeding for the first 24 hours, to even check the blood sugar level of a thriving and health baby before the 24 hour mark is ridiculous in my opinion.

    They pushed formula and we denied it. When we got to our resting room the place was full of formula, one bag they gave us had no less than five ads for formula.

    The ticker is that it was over 24 hours before we saw a hospital lactation consultant. This hospital has about 50 births a day and only one on staff lactation consultant.

    What really bothers me is that many parents are not well read about natural birthing and are subject to the medical industry’s proclivity to turn a very natural and blessed event into a medical procedure.

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    August 31, 2007 at 9:31 am by Anonymous

    With my first child 4 years ago I was working for a department store and I had to figure out where I was going to pump. I ended up pumping in a stockroom where people would just walk in on me because everyone had a key but it was better than the bathroom. I pumped for about 8 months when I decided to stop because it was just too hard. My boss was not really supportive and she would make comments so it just became to stressful. I now have a son who is almost 4 months old and I am working at an office. I have full supportive because my bosses mom is a lactation consultant. I am the only woman in the office so I all the guys are learning more than they wanted to know about pumping and breast feeding. I speak very openly about it because I think it is important.

    When my son was about 2 months old my mom and I were shopping at Khols and I went into a fitting room to feed my son. A salesperson barged in on me and told me I had to go to the bathroom. I told her there was no place in the bathroom to comfortably breast feed so I stayed and waited until he was full then I complained to the store manager who was appalled that one of the associates did that to me.

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    November 13, 2008 at 1:56 am by Soki

    How is the person who wrote this POSSIBLY an M.D. or Ph.D.? I counted something like 22 spelling and grammatical errors in this…. You would think a degree from an institution that impressive would come with, I don’t know, the ability to spell-check, fact-check and/or (in general) present yourself in the written form in an educated manner.

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    August 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm by Anonymous

    When my daughter was born, I was a contractor for the federal government. I took 6 weeks off, then returned part time for 4 weeks and full time after that. I was allowed to pump three times a day in a small, private, comfortable space with a computer and a locking door. I had some challenges during all day training sessions in off-site locations and often missed portions of training to pump in my car, but management never commented on my absences. During this time, I was hired on full time by the government, my pumping has never been an issue and while my daughter eats solids, she still nurses at night when I am home. I was allowed to nurse and pump as I saw fit and I am very grateful that, at least, the government location that employees me has been amazingly supportive and flexible in this regard. I hope that as time goes on, this attitude will be the norm and not the exception.

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    September 1, 2007 at 3:25 am by Anonymous

    As a new Mom when I returned to my job after 3 months of maternity leave, I was embarrassed that I had to take these long breaks in the bathroom to pump. Since I worked at a non-profit at the time (EarthDay Network in Seattle – now in D.C.), there were no luxury facilities. I just had the public bathroom stalls to pump in. There was a couch in the ladies’ room, but I was too embarrassed to show my breasts to pump on it. I used a handpump, so it would take longer than a powered pump to express. Mostly, I was so committed to my job (a campaign position), that I waited many times until I was engorged and feeling like I was leaking to force myself to get up from the computer and pump. My direct manager was very sympathetic and constantly reminded me to take it easy. (I was only supposed to work for 30 hours a week.) I ended up working more from home, which relieved the pressure on me to pump at work.

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    September 3, 2007 at 5:42 pm by Anonymous

    I am a physician, and I had a baby during my residency. In fact, most of my fellow residents did as well. We had a hospital-grade pump in one of the call rooms and were all supported in our pumping, even though we were busy OB-GYN residents. I think everyone realized it would be hypocritical not to support breastfeeding in our field.

    The National Board of Medical Examiners is a different story. I specifically scheduled my boards when I wasn’t pregnant or breastfeeding so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it. I’m a little confused about this woman’s case, because the exams are on computer, and you are allowed breaks to eat, pee, etc. So I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have let her pump. I know you can’t take anything in the exam room (i.e. can’t use kleenex for a cold–I had to wipe my nose on my sleeve). But everyone had a locker. What most likely happened is that she wasn’t provided with a private area with electricity where she could pump. That is usually an issue with the testing center. I would be curious to know more details.

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:36 pm by Anonymous

    This is a company where the Women on the Executive board number the men 6 to 4.

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:33 pm by Anonymous

    I, too, work at a place that values the breastfeeding mom and ai realize how lucky I am. While it is a mechanical/utility room, it is decked out with a lounge chair, table, lamp, clock, and mini-fridge, all for breastfeeding moms. Plus little frames for baby pictures. It really is decadent considering I have a friend who had to pump her milk in the porta-john at a construction site…but at least she was given the time to do so.

    When people ask me how much time it takes, I tell them I can pump in the time it takes for most folks to take a smoking break!

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    August 30, 2007 at 5:06 pm by Anonymous

    I breastfed my daughter for nearly two years, at the beginning i styaed at home and i worked as a nanny so i had the privacy and flexibilty to nurse, even while i was helping with homework or other activities. I have nursed on airtran and delta but either they didn’t notice or did not care, if anyone had questioned me abour it they would have had a fight on their hands! nursing helps ease the pain of pressure from the plane!! i never really nursed in public because i felt weird, sometimes at my husbands job i would sit in a booth with my back to the front and crunch over and nurse, i didn’t really want his co-workers to even see any side-boob!! although i didn’t really care what other people thought. then when i started working again, i worked short shifts and a few times i had my mother or spouse bring my baby to come nurse while i was a work. but working at a small store with all women made it easier plus my female boss was understanding, she doesn’t have children so i spared her the gritty details. the worse was being in college for part of the time, i made my classes so i could go in 2 hour blocks but a couple times when school ran late i leaked all over my shirt and that was embarrassing. i am sure there were places i could pump at school but i already had tons of paperwork and books to carry let alone a pump and cooler!!!

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    August 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm by Anonymous

    I work part time as an optmetrist in Princeton, NJ. My employer, a male, would not only give me pumping privledges– I actully leave work in the middle of the day to nurse my baby at home. He told me I could take as long a maternity leave as I would like and my position would be available when I was ready to return. I returned after 5 mos, for half days and I still leave early to nurse before my daugher goes to bed– I work 1-2 days a week. My side business, for those who are interested, is building a company with my sister called Belmama and Cherub. We make a product called “The Shower Hug”, a very practical nursing product to help mom during the uncomfortable postpardum nursing period. I would love your support. Please check out the shower hug at http://www.showerhug.com and you can read a new independent review at mommieswithstyle.com
    Thanks
    Alaina

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:27 pm by Anonymous

    I sympathize with working moms out there trying to do the best by their child!

    I was so lucky, my employer – ZIEGLER & SCHNEIDER in Crescent Springs, Kentucky and my bosses, Karen Baker and Rob Ziegler, were amazing during my pumping days. I was granted the time each day and a convenient and private location to pump. I was able to breastfeed my daughter thirteen months.

    Without the help of a supportive work environment I would have had to quit much sooner – probably weeks after returning to work.

    I wish all working moms had the luxury of a work environment where being a good Mommy never takes away from being a valued employee.

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    August 30, 2007 at 2:27 pm by Anonymous

    At UNC/Chapel Hill I was supported in my breastfeeding of my son, who wouldn’t latch and had pyloric stenosis — so all my milk had to be expressed and he couldn’t really digest dairy or soy formula properly.

    The director of my department was *very* supportive, and my milk not only sustained my son, but two preemies at a time through the UNC Hospital milk bank, with the surplus milk.

    I suspect I worked a little extra hard, and no one in my group resented the time — they were mostly parents also, and it actually drew us together.

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    August 31, 2007 at 10:28 pm by Anonymous

    What I wanted to have was a great experience of this what I got was something else. It was becasue of my experience that I now stand in support of wanting breastpumping opprotunities for all supportive mothers. Here is my story.
    My husband and I was told that we’d never have children due to infertility issues. God proved them wrong and in 2004 became pregnant. In August 2005 had our first son and I had to go back to work shortly after that. I asked the supervisor how I could breastpump at work. He claimed I was the first one to ask. Anyway, he then asked how long it was going to take. (didn’t know first timer here)He then said that I could do this on my breaks (learned it takes longer than 15 minutes) in the staff bathroom. At this time I worked overnights so in this regard “it was doable” but still. Later on I went to days so that I could spend more time with my son and so breastpumping became even harder as now more staff “were aware of what I was doing” despite the privacy “that I was told I was getting while in the bathroom”. I asked if there was any other place. It was hard and finally they found a conference room but even that was limited if someone was in there. So, in five short months, after much engorgement issues and hearing from my immediate supervisor that even his own wife had to decide between work and her breastpumping issue (which I wasn’t going to) I had to eventually stop pumping because of all the issues. My husband asked me if there wasn’t a law concerning breastfeeding/pumping..well here in Iowa we are allowed to breastfeed children, not a law in the books to “pump as needed”. Then through the Internet I learned of Sen. Carolyn Maloney and her cause. I wanted to stand behind that so I am very happy to see this posting.

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    August 31, 2007 at 11:59 pm by Anonymous

    I was able to take both of my boys to work with me for their first years…thus making breastfeeding a piece of cake! I am eternally grateful for having had the opportunity, and both my employer and I would say that it worked out well for all involved.

    (I worked for a very small HIV/AIDS fundraising organization in Philadelphia, in case you were wondering…)

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    August 30, 2007 at 5:56 pm by Anonymous

    I had a female boss who did the same thing, despite my sign and a chair against the door (no locks on my office).

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    August 30, 2007 at 4:47 pm by Anonymous

    I BF my son for over a year (pumping the entire time) and found the support system at my job to be lacking. Did I say I’m also a physician at a world-renowned university? My boss would make off-handed comments about my BF bag and even when I would lock an exam room to pump, he would try to barge in when he knew I was pumping. Needless to say, I eventually put up a sign saying I was pumping and told the nurses (all women) that I was pumping. At least my boss never came in again! I am so happy I was able to BF my son (now 15 months old!) for that long and know that whatever struggle I may have had it was all worth it for him!

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    August 30, 2007 at 5:09 pm by Anonymous

    I have finally found a great employer who actually lets me go home to feed my baby. I live 2 blocks from work and instead of pumping where there is no great location, I have the privilage of being able to just run home and feed baby. After having to quit great jobs after my first two kids to be able to nurse this is a godsend. Rebecca from Cokato, MN

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    August 30, 2007 at 5:45 pm by Anonymous

    I must say that my supervisors in the Federal Government Agency where I work were extremely supportive of my decision to continue to breastfeed my two children after returning to work. I am very fortunate to have a private office but I have a busy schedule with many meetings throughout the day. Again, I had the support to carve out standing times during my day where I woudn’t be interrupted and could pump for as long as I needed. I am also happy to report that four of my colleagues have also been able to pump in a comfortable and supportive environment. On the other hand, as a Federal employee, I did not have a paid maternity leave-just the 12 weeks family care leave that is, as many of us are aware, unpaid. Our government has the opportunity (and arguably a duty) to set the “gold” standard on maternity leave, breastfeeding policies and other issues that are pertinent to working mothers.
    It is my hope that working mothers will have the same respect and opportunities regardless of where they work.

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    August 30, 2007 at 5:54 pm by Anonymous

    I was determined to breastfeed my son and avoid formula altogether but I also needed to work full time.

    I was fortunate to have an office job and my own office. Sadly there were no locks on the office door, so I had to place a sign on my door and barricade it with a chair.

    Despite these obstacles, my female boss would often knock and proceed to try to open the door while I was pumping! To this day I have no idea why she would do such a thing. Nothing worse than thinking someone is going to knock down your door while your sitting there with your shirt up and two suction cups stuck to your breasts!

    I took a business trip when my son was about 12 weeks old and took my pump along– when I arrived at my destination (luckily a meeting with pediatricians) I was about to burst!! They were so helpful in finding a place for me to pump.

    My favorite story about public nursing happened when we were buying a new car– the dealership was trying to slow down the negotiation process and my son got fussy– what a great time to have to feed the baby– maybe its passive agressive but suddenly we got faster and better service!

    My son was about 14 months old when he lost interest in breastfeeding. He is 10 years old now and has only had one ear infection in his lifetime. He’s a very happy and healthy and smart kid.

    I am not able to have more children, but I now work for a pharmaceutical company with very family friendly policies. They have a wonderful lactation room with locks, magazines to read, comfortable chair etc. What a luxury!
    I hope more companies commit to helping moms breastfeed their children.

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    September 27, 2007 at 6:15 pm by Anonymous

    Hello all,

    I wish I had the time to read all of these comments, but alas, I’m pumping now and only have a few minutes!

    In case it hasn’t already been raised: How can we ensure sustainable changes are made that allow all mothers to pump? What about the small or nonprofit employers that might counter with arguments that mandatory sticks and carrots won’t help much — they simply don’t have the funds for extra space, can’t spare the staff time, etc.

    Why don’t we have more options for quality, affordable child care close to work, so moms can go feed children directly?

    What about ways to ensure that the child care providers understand the importance of supporting nursing on-site? My son’s child care provider is amazingly supportive of breastfeeding and nursed her children, but she doesn’t seem to understand that I’d be better able to breastfeed with a quiet place to nurse him as soon as I arrive after work and before I leave in the morning. Many of the suggestions in resources such as the book _Working without Weaning_ simply are not yet a reality.

    Yes, legislation can help, but we’re also talking about broader community, attitude, and behavioral changes. Keep working for change!

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    October 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm by Anonymous

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    September 2, 2007 at 1:15 pm by Anonymous

    When my second son was born, my employer, The University of New Hampshire, was very supportive of my pumping, which I did 2x/day. I had use of a private office with a door and no one disturbed me. As a result, I was able to exclusively give him breastmilk for 18 months — a factor our doctors say helped him avoid some food allergies (he still has a few). And I think very highly of UNH.

    My experience with my first son, was very different. I worked for a manufacturing company then that said they were supportive, but really weren’t. My “office” had many windows in the front and a cubicle wall at its back. I taped up paper on the windows, but people regularly came to the other side of the cubicle wall and shouted questions to me while I was pumping. I would fumble through files and emails trying to help them and often spilled milk. Not surprisingly I started supplementing with formula after one month of pumping at work. No one knows the cause, but my older son has many more life-threatening food allergies than my second son. I couldn’t wait to leave that company! (My boss there also loved to set up conference calls at 5:30 pm, just to make me look bad because she knew I had to leave at 5:45 to pick up my son from daycare.)

    [Reply]

    September 2, 2007 at 1:58 pm by Anonymous

    http://www.workandpump.com has been a great resource for me!

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    September 1, 2007 at 2:16 pm by Anonymous

    I was back to teaching after 6 weeks, but I taught reading intervention so I did not have my own classroom. I had to look everywhere and finally was able to secure a place with the nurse’s office in the school we shared the site with. Even then, I couldn’t use the office on days when the dentist came. I then would go to a space behind a computer room that was sometimes deadbolted. Consequently, a few times I had to beg space from a teacher or counselor. I also got schedule for meetings, subbing and field trips so I did not always get to stick to my schedule.

    So it was very stressful for the space and timing. This was all with an administrator who was a new mother and “supportive” of breastpumping. The worst was getting low on milk at home and having to arrive home, feed my son, and then try to pump some more to squeeze out a few more ounces.

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    August 30, 2007 at 7:10 pm by Anonymous

    It saddens me that this is a problem at all really when really this country should be providing adequate paid maternity leave for its mothers and paternity leave for its fathers. I am shocked and horrified at the pathetic excuse for maternity leave that some states provide and yet they are seen as the way forward. I am British and had 2 out of my 3 children at home – I had 6 months paid leave and then 6 months unpaid leave and walked back into my old job. By this time my oldest daughter was no longer breast fed. I am glad that there are organisations like this fighting for the rights of women – that is why I joined but i am astonished that not every woman in this country is not fighting for the right for maternity leave. They should be.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 2:23 pm by Anonymous

    I work for the Los Angeles Unified School District. I have 2 babies now, a 2 year old and 6 month old baby girls. In both cases, I have to sneak some pumping time in without full support of my employers. For the first one, I had to pump in a storage room full of boxes, sitting on the floor since there were no tables. For the second one, I got smarter and more demanding. I officially blocked off the conference room a half hour each morning and afternoon to pump for my baby. People still kept walking in on my but I didn’t care at this point. Watch or stay out!! I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve heard from other employess in other units on how they were told to pump in the bathroom!! And LAUSD serves school children, right???

    [Reply]

    July 23, 2008 at 11:42 pm by Jenny

    I am a Nurse and find it difficult to pump. I am lucky if I get to pump twice in a 13 hour shift.

    [Reply]

    September 28, 2007 at 10:01 am by Anonymous

    I am a working mother who chose to breastfed my daughter until she was 17 months old. I knew there were plenty of good reasons to breast feed, but for me personally, it was something special I could do for her since I could not stay home with her. I was fortunate to have an office with a door. It allowed me the privacy needed to pump. My co-workers are not so lucky. They have to sit in a bathroom stall with an extension cord to pump while other people are using the bathroom. This seems completely gross and unsanitary to me (Yes, I let them use my office whenever possible). Some pump in their cars, but others have quit breastfeeding, because it is just so difficult.

    Traveling for work has been incredibly challenging. I have never found a mother’s room in ANY airport taht I have ever visited. Electrical plugs are non-existant. If I am lucky enough to find a family or handicap bathroom, I’ll hand pump while standing. This can take as long as 30 minutes and is not easy.

    I now have a six month old son and am experiencing the same difficulties all over again. So, I am committed to addressing this problem.

    Finally, we need to get the American Academy of Pediatrics to work with us on this issue. They recommend that mothers breastfeed for the first year of life, yet our society does not have the structure in place help us. We need to fix this for our children’s sake.

    I’m happy to speak to Congress. I’m happy to write letters. Sign me up for the fight.

    [Reply]

    September 27, 2007 at 10:42 pm by Anonymous

    I went back to work when my first child was 3 months old. I was very worried about pumping as I did not have a private office at that point due to an office renovation. I had to advocate for myself during my entire maternity leave for a pumping room when I returned, and I did not know until the day I came back that it would actually work. Well, it was 3 floors down from where I worked and it took about 2 weeks to get a computer and a phone in there, but ultimately not only were those both installed, but a small refrigerator as well. Not only did I use it 3 times a day for the next 9 months, but another 3 or 4 women did as well. I was very proud both of how long I was able to keep pumping and nursing my daughter but also that I persevered with the HR department in my company and it made a big difference for a number of other nursing mothers there as well. One thing that really helped was for me to let them know that I would be working while I pumped so it ultimately meant I could remain very productive at work. Because it was a private room I also left my pump plugged in and set up so I could be as quick as possible, and rather than washing everything in between each pumping session I just refrigerated it, which meant that everything stayed sterile, and at the end of the day I took it home and sterilized it every night. It was hard but it can be done!

    [Reply]

    September 28, 2007 at 9:04 am by Anonymous

    Sophie Currier’s story is less about a woman who failed to make other choices available to her – including feeding her child a pediatric fast-food based on the milk of an alien species – than it is about what is normal feeding behavior for the young of our species and how an entire society needs to contribute to its becoming ho-hum ordinary once again.

    The appeals court ruling is clear: the few minutes of extra time were granted to place the appellant on an equal footing with the men and non-lactating women who take the exam. Breastfeeding is not a disability, and thus it should not be confused or compared with the provisions made earlier for the candidate to accommodate her attention deficit disorder.

    And yes, making breastfeeding the obvious choice and supporting it at every step does indeed have consequences, both immediate and longer term – significantly healthier children and women now and across the entire life course. That’s something positive for humankind that we should all be able to support.

    James Akre
    Geneva, Switzerland

    [Reply]

    September 2, 2007 at 4:47 am by Anonymous

    I work at home so haven’t encountered workplace and pumping issues yet, but I try to do my part in educating anyone I talk to.

    I encourage open breastfeeding too, because even though a lot of people seem to understand that it is better, they still talk to me in hushed voices about it.

    We won’t get full support from the workplace until we can be supported and taboo free in society at large.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 2:29 pm by Anonymous

    I pumped for several years at the insurance company where I worked in Redmond, WA. They let me choose where I wanted to pump…either a sickroom with a locking door, a bathroom stall or conference room with locking door all would have been acceptable. I think it was because I was a hard working, long time employee who didnt let a little breast-pumping time interfere with my work.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 2:32 pm by Anonymous

    I have 2 children, 1 18 yr old son and 1 6 yr old daughter. When my son was born I was looking forward to breastfeeding up until he was ready to wean himself. At the time my son was born (1988) a new mother was given 4 weeks maternity leave unless a c-section was performed, in which case I got 6 weeks. I breastfed the entire 6 weeks and my son was thriving. When I went back to work, though breastfeeding was supposedly supported, I was only allowed 1 30 minute break in a 12 hour day for lunch and other ‘unmentionable necessities’ unless I was a smoker (which I wasn’t.) I asked for the same number of breaks the smokers received in order to pump my breastmilk, and my request was denied. I was then written up for my ‘language’ at work because I said BREAST. Yes – written up for talking and asking for support for breastfeeding, in an environment where the f-word was commonly used in every sentence. Needless to say I found it hard to continue to breastfeed and was completely unable to pump at work. I had to supplement my son’s diet with formula while I was at work – which he turned out to be allergic to and lost a quarter of his body weight and didn’t gain any more until they found a formula he could tolerate nearly 3 months later. He cried endlessly when I was at work – making it nearly impossible to keep childcare arrangements. Finally my mom sold all of her stuff and moved to Newfoundland, Canada, where I was stationed, to become his nanny. He was considered a ‘failure to thrive’ child. I manage to continue breastfeeding him when I was home from work until he was 13 months old, but it was a difficult struggle.
    Fast forward 12 years, to the birth of my daughter. At the time my daughter was born in (2001) I was blessed to be working for the University of Colorado. I received 3 months time off (unpaid, but at least I had the time) and full support when I came back to work for breastfeeding. I was able to nurse my daughter until she was ready to wean (at age 4) without any difficulty. My daughter’s pediatrician told me repeatedly that after a year, breastfeeding was a waste of time – but then would follow it up with “that girl is the healthiest child in my practice, does she ever get sick?” Needless to say I am a strong breastfeeding advocate and know that the workplace can make a huge difference in the ability to breastfeed a child.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 6:10 pm by Anonymous

    Is your employer supportive of breastfeeding? We are looking for California employers to honor with the Family Health Promotion Award for Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces.
    Nominate your employer online at http://www.breastfeedingworks.org/breastfeeding-friendly-workplaces-application.htm
    Deadline: September 15, 2007 for this year’s awards.
    Thank you for your help in spotlighting employers who are doing the right thing.
    Karen Peters, kpeters@breastfeedla.org
    Babies are born to breastfeed.

    [Reply]

    September 2, 2007 at 1:57 pm by Anonymous

    I’ve had both easy and difficult experiences while pumping for my 1 1/2 year old daughter. At my state job they let me use a manager’s office very close to my desk while she was on a leave of absence. After that it was tougher–no one helped me to find a place, I really had to search it out on my own. My manager never questioned the time I needed to pump though. At my last job it was suggested by some uninformed employees that I use the bathroom as long as I didn’t mind people walking in! I felt demeaned by the whole suggestion to just do it in the bathroom! I just took it as people needed to be educated. I hope the experience with my next child goes as well–my daughter still nurses when we’re together but I don’t really pump at work anymore. I truly hope we can help change the experiences of other moms–especially those in the service industries because I can’t imagine they get the same opportunities for breaks as I do in a government job.

    [Reply]

    August 30, 2007 at 6:34 pm by Anonymous

    I am a teacher in a public school that also houses a not-for-profit daycare center. I was told that I could not visit my child to breastfeed during any part of my work day except my lunch break. This wouldn’t have been so bad, but it was also made clear that I could not take time to pump during the day either. Obviously, my union had an issue with this, and a year later it is still unresolved. New York State is considering legislation to give rights to nursing moms, and I hope more states will follow suit.

    [Reply]

    August 31, 2007 at 10:13 pm by Anonymous

    In order to get promoted, I needed to take a 3 day seminar requiring me to stay overnight. Although, I had already previously taken the required training, I was unalbe to continue working. And was unable to attend the training seminar due to inability to store the milk and take the time neccesary to pump. ‘Take the seminar when you’re done nursing–the baby won’t need to breatfeed after she’s 1′, they said. I resent choices being made for me. In fact both my children have nursed 2 years.

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    September 29, 2008 at 10:45 am by Cara

    I have been back to work since my son was 4 months old; he is now 9 months old. I am lucky to live in France where laws truly protect breastfeeding moms. We already have shorter work hours here 35-38 hours per week, but we also have a much longer maternity leave (16 weeks fully paid). We have the opportunity to go back to work 4 days a week for up to 6 months where the government pays you a stipend to complete your salary. After lookingat this site and others, I realize how truly lucky I am to be here as a young mother!

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    February 24, 2009 at 7:32 am by coursework

    Yes I am agreed with you my friend. There should be stipends for mothers at home or either should be given some work which can be done at home. Babies from 1-4 need extra care all the time

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    February 11, 2009 at 9:03 pm by Ariel H.

    I love the idea of a Breastfeeding Promotion Bill; however I am dismayed that your statement of support does not support actual breastfeeding, but instead supports pumping.

    Mothers who pump their milk to nourish their babies make a special commitment to their baby’s continued good health. Many employers are now supportive of their employees who pump throughout their workday.

    However, it is shameful that babies must be separated from their mothers for so long when they are so young. The United States has an absolutely awful policy regarding maternity leave and mothers’ and babies’ rights. I am a proud American but I am ashamed that our country gives mothers such short maternity leave.

    Babies need their mothers: their milk, and their presence. I will support the Bresatfeeding Promotion Bill when it supports natural infant feeding instead of promoting pumping.

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