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Thread: Back to work meeting with supervisor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Back to work meeting with supervisor

    Hi All

    My little one is now 5.5 months old, and I'll be going back to work when she is just a week shy of 7 months.

    This week I have a meeting with my supervisor at work to discuss my return to work. I am hoping to work 3 x 8 hr days at work and work 2 x 4 hour days at home the other two days.

    My LO is exclusively breastfed up til now and she is doing well.

    What things should I be discussing with my supervisor re: pumping at work before I start back. So far I have thought of

    * pumping location. We have a sick room (which is locked) and I don't really want to be looking for the person who has the key every time I want to pump. Also what happens if someone is in there sick?
    * Length/amount of sessions. We do have lactation breaks in our workplace agreement, but it only allows 30 minutes a day total (though it also suggest this is only if you can't pump on scheduled breaks) With a 30 minute commute each way I'll be away for around 10 hours in total - how many sessions should I be fitting in and how long should each one be? LO currently feeds for about 10 - 15 minutes a feed.

    Is there anything else I need to consider about returning to work and pumping? I want to make sure I get it sorted before I return.

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Back to work meeting with supervisor

    You also need to consider:

    1. Is there a place for you to rinse out your pumping equipment in hot water? Bathroom's come to mind, but the company kitchen might be cleaner. Everytime I rinsed out my equipment in the bathroom, I always felt like it was still dirty

    2. Is there a fridge for you to store your breastmilk? You'll definately need to purchase a lunch pouch (the kind that keeps your milk colder/longer and can fit bottles + ice pack).


    The thing with work is how quickly you get immersed into the daily bustle. There's always someone calling you, or an email you need to finish, or some paperwork the boss must have by noon. Pretty soon 4-5 hours will have gone by, and you'll find yourself engorged and (worse case senario like me, developed Mastitis! You need to find someplace where the boss can't find you. I had to sneak into a storage room (where we keep everything from pens to packs of paper) and pump there. Since my boss would never be the one filling the printer with paper (he thinks that's what the secretary/administrator is for)... I was safe from his nonstop nagging

    I had come back several times, to find him standing in front of my office door, pacing back and forth. When he asked where I was, I'd feign surprise and tell him I was just photocopying some paper... or went to the bathroom for 5 seconds... or went to the vending machine to grab a healthy snack... or making some coffee in the breakroom and somebody forgot to clean the filter... or etc. etc. etc. Make sure you bring a folder or a few pieces of paper with you, to back up your story!! This way, he wouldn't get upset with finding me "away on pumping" everytime he's looking for me.

    (PS - I know its illegal for employers not to allow you to pump and whatnot, but it doesn't mean they won't secretly resent not being able to find you during the workday. They will also feel as if your work production is not up to par with other employees. I have a boss who is more needy then my baby infant. Although he has not said this to my face, he has complained to other employees about my preganancy at the time and was upset I was going on maternity leave. He actually withheld 2 paychecks to pressure me into taking a very very late leave. I ended up working up until I gave birth!

    Now that my daughter is here, my coworkers tell me he is constantly walking around the office, vocally displeased with the fact that I'm not back at work helping him out. They tell me, he's even gone to the point of telling them it was my fault for having a child and how he didn't think I need to be on leave for so long. Meanwhile, he calls me twice a day and sends me paperwork/assignments daily. When I stopped picking up his phone calls, he started asking my coworkers to call me instead and had them fax over things for me to do while I'm off/over weekends!

    Although I think my boss is "special" - just keep in mind that not all employers will be pleased to see you gone for 20-30 minutes every 3 hours... so be prepared to fudge your way if need be. Sometimes we all must make sacrifices for the betterment of our children!!)
    Last edited by @llli*LaurenC; April 22nd, 2012 at 07:53 AM.
    Proud of Baby

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,885

    Default Re: Back to work meeting with supervisor

    You should plan to pump every 3 hours at least while you're away, and most people use a whole 30 mins to pump per time - 15-20 mins of pumping, plus set-up & clean-up. Having access to a fridge would be excellent, or at least a good cooler, so that you don't have to wash your parts each time. If you do that, you won't need a sink on a regular basis.

    Since you have a longish commute, I'd suggest trying to pump on your way in, so if you work 8-4,
    7:30 commute & pump
    10:30 pump at work
    1:30 pump at work
    4:00 commute & pump

    You'll want to tweak this if you need to pump using your lunch break, or if you will pick up your LO at 4:30 and think you won't have enough milk right then if you've just pumped, etc. (That was never a problem for me - I actually tried to pump right before I would need to nurse, because then I maximized my pump output and my LO was patient enough/my supply was good enough that he was satisfied, although he would cluster feed - which is good for supply!)

    Sick room might be a good place, but if I were you I'd want to have the key myself, both for my access and my peace of mind that no one will walk in on me!

    The other thing I'll say is - while you're away, pumping has to be a priority in your schedule. It is necessary for your baby and your own health. So make sure it's clear in your mind that it's not something that can be pushed back or skipped or whatever - pumping times are not optional!

    Ideally, you will have a relaxing private place. I found it useful to watch a slideshow of photos of my LO, so having a computer or ipad or smartphone will help too.

    And good luck -
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,420

    Default Re: Back to work meeting with supervisor

    Prior to talking with management, you may want to inform yourself of your states pumping in the workplace laws, if any. Also this may have some helpful info: http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfe...breastfeeding/

    If there is need to negotiate, it may help to point out the benefits to employers of being accomodating to breastfeeding moms.

    This article is old, but has some good ideas for negotiating: http://www.llli.org/nb/nbjanfeb97p15.html

    more recent one about pumping on little time strategies http://www.llli.org/nb/nbmayjun94p90.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Back to work meeting with supervisor

    Luckily for me I work for the federal government here in Australia and they are unbelievably flexible. My plan is to schedule pumping sessions into my calendar so no one else can book a meeting with me during those times. The meeting I have this week is with my people manager (each employee in my branch has a person assigned to them who deal with HR type things - leave/sick days etc etc) I will not have a consistent work manager (can change every 13 weeks), but luckily I know most of them pretty well. I don't see the actually being able to pump as an issue. As far as I know, nobody who has returned to work from mat leave has pumped at work - one person even told me the only reason they gave up breastfeeding was returning to work. I am about to acheive my first goal of 6 months exclusively breastfed (yay me and bub) and my next goal is 12 months.

    I work in IT so most of my work is spread out over 13 week quarter releases ie, I have so much work I have to complete in 13 weeks. I guess my main thing is to present my manager with a schedule of when I plan to pump, length of time etc, and see if we can negotiate it that way. They are very very flexible and

    My office has 4 fridges (yay) and so refrigeration won't be an issue - we also have 1 big lunch room, and 3 little kitchenettes each with sinks and boiling hot water urn things used for coffees. In a pinch, we have some meeting rooms which can't be seen into which I could use, however there are no locks on the doors.

    Unfortunately my commute will be on public transport as I work in the city, so pumping on the commute is not really an option.

    Lauren - your boss sounds a bit needy lol That would exhaust me!

    I am so nervous about juggling pumping and work...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,885

    Default Re: Back to work meeting with supervisor

    it sounds like you have a really good set up there. you can do it! it will take a lot of dedication (i'm in awe of those who pump at work full time myself) but you've got everything on your side, it sounds like, except a precedent.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Back to work meeting with supervisor

    You will get faster at pumping. Allow for a little flexibility the first week to see how it goes and dont be alarmed if the amounts are not quite what you expect. There are ways to boost supply and your body will get used to pumping. You will find a groove! At first, I struggled to pump enough in 25 minutes but after a couple weeks I could pump enough in 15 minutes. Sometimes I can wrap everything up in 17 minutes total... Not enough to affect your productivity. I relax during these breaks and actually feel like I come back more focused. Good luck and keep us posted!
    Lisa

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Back to work meeting with supervisor

    I don't have any advice for negotiating the pumping at work - I had my own office and they happily put a lock on the door so I could stay productive while pumping.

    The bit of advice I have is to be ready for separation anxiety. My daughter took to day care at 3 months fabulously and then at 7 months almost to the day completely freaked out when I would try to go to work...
    Marley & Emily 9-24-10
    (Done as of 5-23-12)

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