Going back to work can be really tough. Everything seems different. Will you be able to get back into the old routine? Will you still receive the same amount of respect? Will you feel comfortable breast pumping at work? Will breast milk leak through your shirt? These are all valid questions.
With everything running through your mind, remember to relax because you have rights. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) should have you covered. Employers within the FLSA’s purview are required to provide basic accommodations for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. These accommodations must include time for women to express milk as well as a private space (that isn’t a bathroom) for women to use each time they need to pump.
You have every right to speak with your manager or HR representative to discuss arrangements for you to breast pump comfortably in a private area. You may be surprised by how easily the conversation goes! In many cases, newer companies may not have yet realized or experienced the difficulties new moms face when returning to work, but are more than willing to help out. As breastfeeding becomes more normalized, you will see that more and more work environments will become attuned to those sensitivities.
If you are a new mom returning to work, and need to travel while breastfeeding, Milk Stork has you covered. In many cases, your employer will cover the full expense of breast milk shipping. However, if you work for a company that has yet to introduce this benefit, Milk Stork has resources available to help educate your company’s decision-makers about the importance of breastfeeding.
Know that you are not alone. You can read how a new mama went about asking her company’s CFO to authorize and pay for her breast milk shipping for an upcoming business trip, or about another mom’s perspective on the difficulties of returning to work after having a baby and how she went about changing the status quo at her place of employment. She shares her experience of asking her manager for improved lactation room conditions. From there, she continued to fight for breastfeeding mothers and introduced Milk Stork to her company, eventually moving on to create the country’s first free mommy and me professional development event, Mompreneur and Me.
Milk Stork currently works with over 400 companies ranging from startups to Global Fortune 500s, and continues to grow, helping thousands of breastfeeding moms make moves, both at work and at home. Please use our employee reimbursement request to help get the conversation started with your employer or HR department.