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Breastfeeding and the Working Mom

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Want to start a hot topic of conversation? Ask women about breastfeeding in the workplace! I'm keen on the trend of family-friendly companies supporting parents in the effort to provide the best nutrients for baby even after the maternity leave is over. And for the rest of you, listen up! Moms aren't asking for the moon, they just want four things: a door, an outlet, a refrigerator and a chair.

Bravado's research concluded that one of the key ways to improve job satisfaction and loyalty is to provide working mothers a clean, private, and convenient place to pump breast milk (per BBIC findings). And they are not alone. Company's like Zutano (a favorite children's clothing brand based in Vermont) are so pro-baby, they allow parents to bring infants in to work for a full year. Zutano sets up cribs in the new parent's office. When the door is shut for feeding times, co-workers respect the privacy. The result of this policy--off the charts loyalty and reduced sick days.

Here's more of what I heard:

After I had my daughter, I returned to work when she was about 11 weeks old. She was solely breastfed and took no formula, so pumping was a must. Frankly, I was freaked out to have to pump at work. What would people think? And how would they react? Fortunately, my company, Reader's Digest, was so thoughtful and inviting about it all. My boss told me to take whatever time I needed to do it, and I was able to use empty offices (with locks) for it at first (until a renovation prevented that). When I no longer could pump there, our photo department volunteered to allow another breastfeeding mom and I to use a photo studio near our desks to pump. And when that was occasionally in use, there was a designated room we could reserve as well (although that was farther away). Moreover, my coworkers were very understanding about me needing to pump at certain times and meetings never conflicted with it. With such a supportive company, I pumped at work for seven months...Sarah C.

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Worst Practices:

  • No facilities for lawyers. One JD reports using the courthouse bathroom and opposing counsel's offices during a lawsuit. Crazy, I agree. 
  • JoAnna, a Texas Mama said "hassle = understatement. I pumped 3X/day in a bathroom. Staring at a dirty toilet + strange smells = I lasted 3 wks."

Momtrends advice for navigating breastfeeding at the office:
Do your homework. Talk to HR (or your boss if you work in a small company) when you are pregnant about maternity leave and breastfeeding.
Come up with solutions. Take the initiative to suggest a seldom-used office (or even storage closet--it's better than nothing) and price out small refrigerators before you take maternity leave.
Be armed with facts. Share that pediatricians recommend breastfeeding for at least six months for the baby's health.
Persistence pays off.One corporate mom that works in an all-glass offices "wore down" management and got to use the file server room.

Office politics are enough of a challenge for new moms. In addition to research and offering a supportive community, Bravado is in the business of making moms look and feel great during breastfeeding. Wearing gorgeous lingerie like Sublime Nursing Bra: might just be your secret weapon when returning back to work.

Win it! Bravado is a proud sponsor of Expecting Moms' Month. Each week they will hold a giveaway in conjunction with Momtrends' editorial features. This week the exclusive giveaway is for an Allure Nursing Bra.Click here to enter.

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Bravado is a paid sponsor, but does not control editorial content. All breastfeeding advice and musings are those of the editorial staff. Momtrends encourages all moms to try breastfeeding, but if it doesn't work for your family we still think you are a fabulous mama. These posts may not be reproduced without consent of Momtrends, but do feel free to link away.

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