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Thread: NY Times article on pumping at work

  1. #1
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    Jul 2006
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    Default NY Times article on pumping at work

    There is an article in today's (9-1) NY Times on the gap between white collar professionals and other workers' access to/opportunities for pumping at work.

    This link should get you there: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/01/he...r=1&ref=health

    It is timely for me as a friend and I were just discussing how aggressive some of the "breast is best" campaign is without seeming sensitive enough to some of the societal constraints that inhibit women from continuing breastfeeding after going back to work. I have it extremely lucky as I work in a woman-owned small business and am permitted not only to work from home, but, for the moment, to work from an entirely different country/continent! But I have thought a lot about how hard pumping would be in some occupations.

    I know some of you must have some stories that would be worth posting. What constraints have you faced? How have you dealt with it? And, to move from anecdote to action, what political movements are currently in motion to get FEDERAL laws in place to ensure that women get time to pump, get a safe clean place to pump, and get access to storage for breast milk without losing their jobs, being penalized in their jobs, or facing other forms of harassment? Really, this is about the health and future of our country, it should be a “no brainer”!

    Also, I’m curious, are there any organizations out there that help lower-income women pay for quality pumps? I have a good job and I almost passed out when I found out how much a quality electric pump costs!

    Leela's mom
    Last edited by International Mom; September 1st, 2006 at 01:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    Loved the article. It is true there is a two class system in place. It is the old have and have not system. I would say I am privilaged to be able to afford a pump and have a nice place to pump at work. I am a professional whom works in an office environment. But I really sympathise with mothers whom are not a fortunate. A pump cost me around 230.00, then you have to buy the milk bags every week. The costs add up. You could argue that well buying a pump cost less than buying formula. True in my case, but if your are in a lower income bracket, most would qualify for WIC checks for free formula. My point being is the government really stresses breastfeeding, but only provides check for formula not for pumps. It seems the government is sending mixed messages. If the government wants to really help nursing mothers, they should spend less money on slightly insulting breastfeeding advocacy commercials and use the money to push legislation that would really help the working/nursing mother. Things such as mandating companies provide pumping breaks and appropriate facilities to pump; subsidized or free pumps for low income working mothers; free access to LC; stricter laws about BF harassment at work.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    Thank you for posting the article. I found it very enlightening. Fortunately I haven't had much in the way of barriers to pumping at work. My biggest hastle is that I have to go find a security guard to let me into the first aid room because the door is locked. I think they are working on changing that. I got a pump at my baby shower from my husband's aunts which I am eternally grateful for. I have heard that some insurance's provide pumps but I don't know whether they necessarily publicize that fact. And besides a lot of low income people don't have access to health insurance. I find it sad that there are so many barriers to breastfeeding. There needs to be more support out there for it, in all forms it takes.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    This is a very important issue for women's rights and for public health. I don't have any experience to share, but I wanted to post this so I could follow the thread easily. Thanks for sharing this article!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    As a matter of fact, I just e-mail most of my state representatives this article along with my personal synopsis of the problem and possible resolution.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    Great article - thank you for sharing. I too was fortunate enough be in a professional office environment with lactation rooms (yes rooms - there are 3 at our corporate offices!). As luck would have it, I was pregnant when our facilities dept was starting to remodel the corp bathrooms and I suggested that they put one in every bathroom and they did!. Prior to this, there was one make shift room that wasn't the best but clean. Even if the lac rooms had not been available, I could have pumped in my office.

    During my pumping months, I often thought about how lucky I was to have the facilities that I did and wondered what mom's did in non-office environments. It was difficult at times at work fitting pumping in with high priority, quick-turnaround required project requests and I was (and still am) in a BFing friendly environment. I can't begin to imagine how truly difficult it is in an unaccomodating environment.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    Quote Originally Posted by ctkubis
    As a matter of fact, I just e-mail most of my state representatives this article along with my personal synopsis of the problem and possible resolution.
    You go woman! That is excellent. Does anyone know (perhaps one of the LLL monitors?) what states have laws about lactation rooms. I think, if I am not mistaken, that California is the only state that requires them. Am I right?

    I was just chatting with my friend again. She is 14 weeks pregnant and just told her bosses. They were supportive and had a talk about pumping places. She is in NYC and the office has a loft-like layout = everyone visible. Her only options are to pump in dirty bathrooms shared by other companies or the handicap toilet one floor below (which she says also isn't very clean much of the time). While supportive, her bosses weren't interested in any solution that might cost them cash. She works for a decent company, I am sure they will find an OK solution, but it is frustrating that she is going to have to push for it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    Quote Originally Posted by ctkubis
    My point being is the government really stresses breastfeeding, but only provides check for formula not for pumps. It seems the government is sending mixed messages.
    WIC provides hospital grade pumps free of charge.. well at least they do in PA where i was when i had my son. he was a premie and i had to pump because he was eating through an NG tube. they gave me this pump and told me it's $70 a month. she must have seen it in my face that i couldn't afford it, so she did some paperwork and it was free. at that time i wasn't apart of the WIC program, but when i did use it, i saw that they had that as an option.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    I also was able to get an Ameda Purely Yours pump free of charge when I was on WIC with DS.
    Also, one way to non-legislatively influence employers is to demonstrate to them how offering decent lactation facilities can help them financially:
    http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/health/Nut...iendlycomm.htm
    Check out the links under "Worksite."
    Also, the National Conference of State Legislatures provides a summary of the laws on breastfeeding in the 50 states of the U.S.:
    http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/breast50.htm

    Great article!

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  10. #10
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: NY Times article on pumping at work

    At my local WIC they had one's you could borrow, but it wasn't for a long period of time and they were pretty old looking.

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