Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers – Part of the New Health Care Reform

I am not sure what planet I have been on but I did not know about this new law that was added in with the health care reform. Breastfeeding moms must be provided with a place to pump that is NOT a bathroom and employers are now required to give moms reasonable break times for pumping. If you would like to read what it says here is a link.   SEC. 4207.Reasonable break time for nursing mothers.

When I was working full time and pumping I did not have this protection. I remember being scolded by a district manager because I was using the only office space that was private to pump. She needed to get in the office for some reason and I told her she would need to come back because I was pumping. She then said that I needed to do that at home! I told her that I would quit working before I would quit breastfeeding or something like that. I can’t remember my exact words but it wasn’t a pretty conversation. I remember one of the other managers – a guy no less – understood that I couldn’t just pump when I wanted to and explained to her that I could get mastitis if I didn’t pump. In her defense I think she was just uneducated. People don’t know (I know I didn’t know until I actually started breastfeeding) that you just can’t breastfeed at home. You have to pump or your milk will dry up.

I was the only person at my workplace that pumped. I fortunately did not have to pump in the bathroom, but I remember pumping in strange places like the cash office. Thank God they didn’t have a camera in there. (They probably should have.) I would pump while I worked because I was constantly stressed out about taking too long of a break. Not only that, but I worked in retail and sometimes I was the only manager on duty. I would tell the customer service desk to please try to handle everything for fifteen minutes and then I would just pray that I wouldn’t be interrupted. It’s not like you can tell a customer that wants to speak to the manager, “Excuse me, I will be with you in fifteen minutes when I am done pumping.”

I remember giving up on pumping with Jeremy when he was nine months and part of it was because I worked and pumped. With Angie I did much better and pumped till she was almost a year old. I had a good freezer stash so I was able to quit pumping a little earlier than a year. But, I still remember worrying that people were going to start pressing me on when I was going to quit pumping. Now, if I were to do it again, I might have to deal with what other people think, but I would at least know that legally I could pump for a full year without worrying.
This is great news for moms!

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