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Thread: Pumping in a man's office...

  1. #1

    Default Pumping in a man's office...

    Hey guys! Today is my first day back at work after 10 weeks with my DS. I work at a well-known CPA firm. My office manager informed me that my mothering room is a retired partner's office. He still works part-time. Therefore, the office is still contains all his personal and work stuff. All they did was put in a mini-fridge and a lock on the door. When I pump, I'm very uncomfortable, since I'm looking at pictures of his wife and his family. I'm afraid it will mess with my supply.

    What am I to do when he is in the office?! To make the situation worse, they currently have construction in progress to expand the office for more employees. It would have been so easy for them to create a closet or something! She also said "we just finished it Friday", which leads me to believe they forgot about it.

    I'm so upset. I'm not sure what to do! Any help and advice would be appreciated. I plan to take the next couple days to do some research and talk to them next week Monday.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Pumping in a man's office...

    Hi sells. When you research, be sure to look at both the laws in your state and the federal law. (Assuming you are in the US.) I would also suggest contact your local breastfeeding coalition for more information, local LLL, WIC, etc. If your firm operates in multiple states, maybe look at those laws as well.

    If you possibly can, find out what kind of accommodations are being provided by your firm at other locations, as well as what other CPA firms and maybe even law firms or other similar businesses provide locally- if other similar places are providing dedicated pumping rooms to their employees, that is something you could point out to your firm.

    But I fear what you will find is that they are accommodating you as much as most laws would say is required. So citing the law may not help much.

    Is there currently a different space that would work as a lactation space? How large is your firm...would it make sense for them to invest in a room that was set aside for lactating mothers? Did they tell you they were going to do that? These are just points you can make.

    Ok for making the best of the situation now: first, who has the key to this office? Are you concerned the partner might walk in on you? Some moms put a sign on the door, and another good idea is a doorstop that prevents anyone from opening the door from the other side- something like those rubber wedges you can place under the closed door?

    I assume the pictures are so prevalent there is no way to NOT look at them when you pump? How much freedom do you have to rearrange things? Maybe ask this in a generic way rather than getting into specifics, (just for your own comfort) just say that you are uncomfortable and could you please move things around a bit?
    Where do you set your pump, and can you leave it in there (if you wanted) for convenience?

    Are you actually having to sit at his desk, in his chair? Could you bring in a different chair and small table that are yours, that you can leave in there, that face a corner or wall where YOU can hang some pictures or just leave blank?
    Maybe cover the table with a familiar blanket or quilt.

    Don't forget the other senses. Is there a way you can alter what you are smelling when you pump? Many offices are scent free, so you may not be able (or want) to wear perfume, and a scented candle might not be allowed, but perhaps just a subtle natural scent like a sliced lemon or some favorite herb or flowers or pot purri you have close to you in a little bowl or a scented lip balm you can wear would help.
    -Have something tactile that you can touch that relaxes you or helps you think of baby
    -What about wearing ear phones and listening to music or a guided meditation, there are some specifically for pumping that can be downloaded.

    Many moms find pumping at work awkward and uncomfortable at first, even in the best pumping situations. Also of course just the return to work after a longish time off can feel strange and being away from baby can feel quite stressful. These are feelings that are natural and that can be intense at first and usually improve with time as you adjust. I understand why you are unhappy with this set up and disappointed your office did not do more to accommodate you. You are doing something important and in a different world would get much more respect...I get it, it is frustrating. But it may be that time will help you feel more comfortable and this pumping situation will work fine for you.

    If milk production is a concern, (and it usually is to some extent when a mom has to pump most days) I would suggest that encouraging baby to nurse lots when you are together and making sure baby is fed in a breastfeeding supportive way during separations will help a great deal. If you need more info on that let us know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Pumping in a man's office...

    Hi there. I am currently pumping at work with my third son, but I remember those first days of pumping at work after my first one. It was so strange, and I didn't feel comfortable for a while. First I was using a storage closet, then an empty office, and now I am also using a male supervisor's office. Unlike your situation, however, he doesn't have pictures all over the place and doesn't use it much. When he is here, he stays out of it for the most part, but I will sometimes put a sign on the door that says "Room in Use" or something like that.
    I think the door stop idea is great.
    One thing that I like to do if I am having a hard time relaxing is look at pictures and videos of my son on my phone. I also read books while I am pumping, it helps me tune everything out and relax during that time.
    You have as much right to that space as he does. When he is there in the office, just give him a heads up, go and say something ahead of time like, "Hey, just wanted to let you know I will need to use the room at ____ and ___ ."
    It will get easier, I promise. I laugh now when I think about how timid I was with my first son whenever we had a meeting and I had to step out, being nervous about it. Now I just tell whoever is in charge before it starts, "I am going to need to step out at ___ for 15 minutes."

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