Back to Work: Your Pumping Rights

Your return to work after maternity leave can be challenging. Combine that with an employer whose less-than-supportive of your pumping rights and you have even more stress. What are your pumping rights when you return to work? How can you ensure these laws are upheld? And what’s the best way to handle your break times and make them work for you?

View Episode Transcript





The Boob Group
“Back to Work: Your Pumping Rights”
Episode 42
February 22, 2013

[00:00:00]
[Music]

Robin Kaplan: As if returning to work after maternity leave isn’t difficult enough, dealing with an employer who’s less than supportive of your pumping rights can definitely add an unnecessary stress. What are your pumping rights when you return to work and how can you make sure they are properly enforced and upheld?
Today I’m excited to introduce Wendy Wright, a private practice International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and founder of Lactation Navigation, a business based in the Bay Area in California that helps support breastfeeding mom and businesses they work for.
Today we are discussing workplace lactation and the rights that protect pumping moms at work.
This is The Boob Group, Episode 42.

[Intro]

Robin Kaplan: Welcome to The Boob Group, broadcasting from The Birth Education Center of San Diego. I’m your host Robin Kaplan, I’m also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center. At The Boob Group, we’re you’re online support group for all things related to breastfeeding.
Have you signed up for our newsletter yet? This is one of the best ways to stay informed about our new episodes, giveaways and blog posts. Also, if you sign up today you will be entered in our giveaway for a free month membership to our Boob Group Club, which gives you access to all of our archived episodes.
Today, I’m joined by three lovely panelists in the studio. Ladies, will you please introduce yourselves?

Rosario Rodriguez: Hello, my name is Rosario Rodriguez, I am thirty years old, and I have two girls ages two and a half-almost three-and a three month old.

Elizabeth Flandreau: Hi, my name is Elizabeth Flandreau. I’m thirty-one years old. I am a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, and I have one daughter-a six month old, almost seven month old-named Vivian.

Christine McCarty: And I’m Christine McCarty, I’m twenty-three. I’m a sailor, and I have one child who is nine months old.

Robin Kaplan: And she’s the one making all the little zerberts.

Christine McCarty: Sorry, she’s got an opinion.

Robin Kaplan: She does, she wants to be part of the show as well. So if you hear a little babbling; it’s that sweet little, gorgeous little baby in this studio.

Christine McCarty: And future Boob Group follower. [Laughter]

Robin Kaplan: Exactly, exactly. Well welcome to the show, ladies.

[Music]

Robin Kaplan: And before we start our show, here’s a “Boob Oops!” from one of our listeners.

Listener: So I was going through Disneyland for my first time ever and [Baby Babble] this little one was six months old, and I was walking around feeding her and she pulled off and milk squirted out and actually hit some guy on the arm. [Laughter] And he didn’t even notice, and I had to tell him, I was like “Sir, I’m so sorry but this just happened.” And he was like, “Oh! No problem, my wife breastfed all four of our kids, I’ve been squirted on a couple times.” [Laughter]

Robin Kaplan: That is awesome! That is a fantastic “Boob Oops!” Thank you for sharing.

[Music]

Robin Kaplan: Today on The Boob Group, we’re discussing workplace lactation and the laws that protect pumping moms at work. Our expert, Wendy Wright, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and founder of Lactation Navigation in the Bay Area of California; which focuses on supporting and advising working breastfeeding moms, as well as helping to set up corporate lactation programs. She is also the creator of “The Work and Pump” iPhone app.
Thanks for joining us, Wendy, and welcome to the show!

Wendy Wright: Great Robin! Thanks for having me.

Robin Kaplan: So Wendy, can you describe the spectrum of workplace lactation laws in the United States? Because I know that they differ from state to state. I guess, what is provided by the very least by the federal law?

Wendy Wright: Yeah, that is a very, very confusing topic right now. As you may know, the federal law is relatively new. It became signed into law by president Obama, effective March 23, 2010. So there are provisions within the federal law that if it is a stronger law than the state in which you reside, then the state law will mandate what is required by your employer. However, if it is not stronger than the state in which you reside, then the federal law is the one that employers will be following.
So you can see it’s very, very confusing. About twenty states within the United States and territories have a stronger law than the federal law. So it’s about half and half split. So again, it’s really difficult to differentiate, and every woman should go on the internet-just type in, Google-your state’s breastfeeding law, and there are several nice websites that outline the different comparisons between your own state and the federal law.
So that’s very, very helpful when you do speak with your employer, your armed with knowledge.

Robin Kaplan: Ok, and Wendy, can we dive into these laws a little bit? How do these laws vary from job to job, should a mom be concerned if her workplace has less than fifty employees?

Wendy Wright: So that can be a concern, yes. So the federal law-in fact in about twenty states where the federal law is the one that that we’re going by, if the employer does have fewer than fifty employees there is a possibility that that woman would not be covered by the breastfeeding laws.
The federal law specifically states that if it is a hardship for the employer-so the employer would need to prove that there’s a hardship-but it’s not that hard to prove. For example, in a small real estate company, if the woman is one of the only real estate agents and it was a day when they were extremely busy and deals needed to be closed, that would be an economic hardship for her employer, and she would not get a nursing break. So that would be an example of something the employer could easily document.
You know, hopefully we have a good rapport, and enough interaction and understanding by the employer that they could make exceptions; but that’s not always the case. Other examples are police departments in smaller areas: I’ve worked with helicopter pilots, for example, and emergency room situations in smaller communities and those women are not given the opportunity to breastfeed at work. Assuming they want to keep that job, and most of them do. So it can be very, very difficult.
However, if you’re state’s one of the other twenty-so that are covered by the state’s laws, those generally-and I’ll speak for California, because that’s what I’m most familiar with-those generally say “any size employer.” So, even if you just had two people in your company, you would have to follow the law. So again, it’s very important for each woman to take a look again at the laws for her state.
And I do want to make one more comment: if you work for a company that’s, for example, headquarter in the state of California-let’s say Google-but you work for that company in the state of Texas. Google would be then covered by the California laws, not the state of Texas laws. So it’s very important that women know that; where the headquarters is, that’s the law that the company must follow. And it’s actually from a company perspective much, much easier, because then they just follow one policy throughout and it seems very fair for everyone.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely.

Wendy Wright: But people may talk to their neighbor down the street in Texas and be covered by different laws. [Laughs] So it can again be really confusing.

Robin Kaplan: Yeah, absolutely, and Wendy can you help define what a “reasonable break time” means? Is there a limit to the number of minutes or the frequency a mom can pump during the day?

Wendy Wright: So that- [Laughs] I feel like every question is confusing!

Robin Kaplan: They are!
Wendy Wright: That’s the other one of the limitations of the federal law. And it’s a good and a bad. So “reasonable break time” is what it actually states in there, and the federal government has actually been collecting advice from lactation consultants, employers, wellness coordinators- to say how shall we describe “reasonable break time?”
I recommend when I work with my clients that they suggest a thirty minute break about every four hours. That’s actually what is in the Oregon state law, which the federal law is primarily based after, and so it’s kind of a nice consistent thing for people to talk about. You don’t really need a thirty minute break when you’re pumping. However, my experience and the women I work with, by the time you-let’s say you’re going to pump from 10:00 to 10:30-by the time you actually get to the pumping room and get your bra on, it’s probably 10:10, right? By the time you’ve walked there and done it all. Then you pump for fifteen minutes most likely; then you clean up, walk back, maybe get a sip of water, put things in the refrigerator, and you’re at 10:30. So I like to overestimate the amount of time, because then when you’re back at the desk you’re actually back on time and you seem to be a much, much more responsible employee then if you say “Oh, my reasonable break would be fifteen minutes because I pump for fifteen minutes.” But then you’ll be late every time getting back to your desk, and that’s not a good thing.

Robin Kaplan: Yeah, that’s such a stress thinking that you’re always behind, and so instead now you look like the person who’s either early or on time. That’s a great idea.

Wendy Wright: Yeah. Yeah.

Robin Kaplan: And one last question before we open this up to our panelists; Is that break time considered unpaid time at work, and is it taken at regular break time? Like if someone is required by their state law to have two fifteen minute breaks and a thirty minute lunch, is that when they should be breastfeeding? I’m sorry, pumping?

Wendy Wright: Pumping, yeah. Yeah, so actually if you are in a position that offers a break time, and you’re paid for that break time and you pump during that break time, you should be paid for it. So, if you did take that fifteen minutes in the three hours, you may take thirty minutes-for example-in the three hours, you will get compensated for fifteen of them and not for the other fifteen or any additional time that you took off. Then you would most likely take you lunch unpaid and then pump on a lunch break, which would be a great time because you’re eating anyway, and then you might pump once again on your afternoon break.
Even in the most liberal states on these laws, there is absolutely no requirement to pay for time taken while pumping. So yes, if you can line it up with a paid break, that’s the best economic time for women; assuming that the paid break associates with the time when their breasts are feeling full.

Robin Kaplan: Ok. Ladies, I’d like to open this up to you all. I was wondering, what are your current work situations and do you pump at work and for how long? Elizabeth?

Elizabeth Flandreau: I actually have a unique situation. My boss is incredibly supportive and I work with UCSD, so they certainly follow all of the rules but I actually work in three different buildings. So I actually have a challenge of trying to find a lactation room depending on what day I’m going to be there and where I’m going to be. And so, I actually schedule myself always for a full hour in the lactation room, not because it matters to my boss when I’m going to be back to work, but because I don’t necessarily know that I’ll be able to get to the lactation room at that exact time and finish pumping and then be out of there in time for the next lady to come pump. So that’s actually one of my biggest challenges. My employer of course, is great; it’s just really hard to find time depending on what I’m doing and depending on when other people need to pump. And I might not know-for example-I’m going to be at the VA until that morning. So then I have to try and schedule the pumping room, and it does actually take me usually thirty minutes to express and too get a second let down. So during that time I’m trying to answer e-mails on my iPhone if I can, and in some circumstances it’s easier for me to pump in a bathroom than to find the lactation room because it takes me maybe ten minutes just to get down the elevator and get into the room, and I might not have ten minutes just because of the nature of my work.

Robin Kaplan: Yeah. How about you, Christine? You have a unique situation, being in the military.

Christine McCarty: I do. The military’s actually really good though because-I’m in the navy, that’s what branch I’m in- and the navy has an instruction for lactating mothers. So it dictates that every command has to have a lactation room; it has to be lockable and private, it has to have running water, it has to have a refrigerator. So those are the bare minimums, but some commands go above and beyond; some get flat screen TVs and couches and they paint it real nice-

Robin Kaplan: Wow!

Christine McCarty: Yeah! So it’s actually-they really are under some opinions-encouraging breastfeeding and lactation. I take a twenty minute to thirty minute break every two to three hours, depending on our workload, what I’m doing. I never exceed three hours. If I’m in the middle of something, my bosses understand because I’m the only female that works where I work at. I’ll just tell them, “Hey, I’m taking a break. I’ve got to go pump, my boobs are going to explode if I don’t.” [Laughter] And they’re men, so they don’t want to hear about it, so they’re like “Ok, get out of here. Go pump, whatever you’ve got to do. Just come back when you can.” And so it’s actually-I’ve had no issues-it’s been really easy for me.

Robin Kaplan: That’s fantastic. How about you, Rosario?

Rosario Rodriguez: I’ve had half and half. The first half of it is really good. My boss is really encouraging of us while breastfeeding and of giving me breaks, although the workplace-I actually work at the University of San Diego-and they only have-you know it’s a small, private university-so they do have one lactation room but it happens to be on the opposite side of campus.
Robin Kaplan: That’s a huge campus for one lactation room.

Rosario Rodriguez: Yes. So then at first I was having to walk like ten minutes over there, spend another fifteen/twenty pumping-and you know putting the bra on, taking out all your supplies and putting them back in and everything and like rushing back. Until, I was the one that kind of went to HR and said “Hey, we need to do something about this.” And they were able to find a room that was closer to me to use.

Robin Kaplan: Nice.

Rosario Rodriguez: And since I was-I’m assuming I’m the only one that made a stink about it- [Laughs] or the only one that pumps, I pretty much had that room whenever I needed. So that was good. It was a supply room, it wasn’t pretty or anything, but it was better than being there at my desk in front of everybody. [Laughs]

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely. Absolutely. Wendy, what advice do you have for discussing pumping breaks options with an employer? Do you just go in with a plan and then be open to compromise, and when do you recommend having this conversation?

Wendy Wright: Yeah, I think it’s best to go in during maternity leave. Because you do need to know before you go back if your employer’s going to be accommodating or not; if you might need-for example the woman that is working in three different places, you know she needs a place for having a couple of different pumps-you know things like that are just important to know. So, yeah definitely going in with a plan, probably having a backup copy of the law with you; I wouldn’t begin with the law, it’s a little threatening and they may just be absolutely fine with it anyway. But just to go in and discuss your needs, that you’re interested in breastfeeding, you might even have a couple of little factoids in the back of your head-how that lowers insurance costs and all these things that are beneficial for the employer. But that you do plan to come back from work and that you will need three thirty minute breaks or whatever you decide that you’re going to need, and just let them know ahead of time.
And you may also want to meet first with your boss; and then if the boss and you can meet jointly with the HR Department-just so everyone’s on the same page, it’s really a nice way to go. Then if they don’t have a room that’s secure or private for you, that gives them several months to get something organized.

Robin Kaplan: Ok, and ladies when did you first have this first conversation with your boss about when you wanted to pump and how did it go? Was it weird at all? Christine, I would love-since you work in a place with all men, was it bizarre/kind of weird talking to your boss about this?

Christine McCarty: It wasn’t because I’m really open about it. I’m very headstrong, and the men that I work with understand that and they knew that before I left to go on maternity leave, because I worked until the day that I went into labor.

Robin Kaplan: Wow.

Christine McCarty: So, they knew that it was my intention to breastfeed, and so when I came back I said, “Hey guys, this is what’s happening. If things change based upon my needs, I’ll let you know.” And they were-I kind of forced them into a position to be OK with it because I’m not going to take no for an answer when it comes to the nutrition of my child.

Robin Kaplan: Awesome. How about you, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth Flandreau: I actually, I guess-I have a seven month old, and I guess I’ve never had a conversation with my boss about when I take pumping breaks. My job is very different because I’m a research scientist; so in some ways, it doesn’t matter how long I’m at work, I just need to accomplish the same amount of tasks. So I just pump when I need to pump, and it doesn’t specifically matter to my employer as long as at the end of the day I’ve accomplished what I need to get done.

Robin Kaplan: That was kind of my situation as well. I felt so incredibly lucky; my boss was just like, “Yep, pump when you need to and just get whatever you need done at that time.”

Elizabeth Flandreau: The only time that it was an issue-that we actually had to have a conversation- was about a particular week when we were doing a very intense work schedule, and I said “I cannot physically do it by myself, because…” as Christine mentioned-“my breasts will explode if I go more than six hours without pumping.” And so, that day- I did- I went six hours, and that was a very long stretch for me. But they also provided me with a technician so that I didn’t have to go-you know- eight or ten hours without pumping. And I’m sure that if I had really, really needed to pump beforehand; I would have tried to find a way to do that.

Robin Kaplan: And also, it was very situational.

Elizabeth Flandreau: Exactly.

Robin Kaplan: Sometimes we can be flexible with it as well. How about you, Rosario?

Rosario Rodriguez: It was when I went back to work. I just talked to my boss-she’s a female-so she completely understood and she was very understanding and told me, “Whenever you need to take a break, just let me know.” So I pretty much take a morning break-I work 8:30 to 5:00-so I take a morning break, then I pump on my lunch. Luckily I have an hour lunch, so that’s when my good pumping sessions are, and then in the afternoon.

Robin Kaplan: Perfect. Alright, when we come back, Wendy will discuss what a mom can do if she’s faced with a challenging situation at work, and a boss who is less than supportive of her pumping rights. We’ll be right back!

[Music]

Robin Kaplan: Alright, so we’re back with Wendy Wright, she’s an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and founder of Lactation Navigation. And we are talking about workplace lactation and a mom’s right to pump at work. So Wendy, what about the part of the law that states that a mom is not allowed to pump in the restroom? Sometimes there aren’t places for women to pump other than the restroom, so have you had to come up with any creative ideas where a mom can pump if a lactation room is not set in place at her work?

Wendy Wright: Yeah, we are always looking for creative ideas; and in fact, if the woman is offered the restroom, it’s not so much that she’s not allowed to pump there. If she chooses to pump there, she’s absolutely permitted; it’s just that they can not only provide a restroom for her to pump in. So, as long as there’s another space-and what I’ll often do is ask a woman who is pregnant to walk around, look for storage rooms, empty cubicles, any space. Because it’s always better to go to the HR department or your employer and say “I know we don’t have a breastfeeding room, here are four locations that would work within our facility:” and identify those for them. Because they may not think that the storage closet is an appropriate place, and it actually would be absolutely fine. So they just don’t know the rules as much. Maybe a conference room that doesn’t have windows, that could be locked occasionally-would be absolutely fine. So It’s best if the woman can go around and identify for the employer-just to kind of make things easier and make that happen.
One of the best creative solutions I’ve seen is this company that- they have a travelling shower curtain-and as you become pregnant in the company, their culture is very, very open to this but they just don’t have any space. It’s a telemarketing company where everybody’s on the phone all the time and everybody’s sitting in cubicle after cubicle after cubicle. And what they do is when you come in and you say, “Oh, I’m pregnant,” you get the shower curtain. And the shower curtain goes across your cubby, your little cubicle.

Robin Kaplan: That is awesome.

Wendy Wright: Mind you, the cubicles are not tall enough; anyone, I mean anyone could look over. So you might think, “Oh, well that’s not private.” But the company has such a culture of understanding, as soon as you see that shower curtain everybody averts their eyes, because they know that pumping may be going on. [Laughter]
And the women feel 100% comfortable, they just have the shower curtain, and when the shower curtain is closed, everybody respects it. So, it’s interesting how that is not-if you think about it it’s not even 100% compliant with the law, and yet it’s working so much better than some of these places that they go out of their way to create this most beautiful room in the world. So, it’s really about the company culture when it comes right down to it.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely. So wait, they give this to the mom even when she’s pregnant, too?

Wendy Wright: Yeah. Yes. Just to get people to know that this will be happening.

Robin Kaplan: To get them used to it.

Wendy Wright: Yeah. Yeah.

Robin Kaplan: Well and also I would hate for my first day to be back the first day you try it out, so [Laughs] that’s kind of-that’s fantastic, I love it.
Ladies, where do you pump at work and has this worked out OK for you? Rosario, you mentioned that you actually had to ask for a place closer to where you work-where your office is.

Rosario Rodriguez: Yes, because-you know-when I went to HR and I looked on the university’s website, they are very pro-family and breastfeeding for their students, but I didn’t see anything for their staff or faculty. You know, sometimes faculty-they have their own offices; they have very different schedules, so they can very well find the time. But mostly for staff members, moms coming back-that can be very daunting finding a place if you don’t have your own.
So they did find that supply room pretty close, and the other four spaces that they had already located or said, “Oh, you can breastfeed there,” they were mostly all bathrooms. So, I was the one to kind of point out “Oh, ok, well that’s good but that’s not the ideal place. Could we maybe work on something?” And they actually-one of the bathrooms-they were saying “Oh, but this is a family bathroom, you know? We have a chair in there.” And I was like, “Yeah, the chair is right in front of the toilet.” I’m not going to choose to pump in the toilet; we need to work on this.
And I was happy that a couple months ago, they removed that toilet from there. They put a rocking chair-and so-

Robin Kaplan: Oh, no way!

Rosario Rodriguez: Yeah, so I was really happy and pleased that they’re slowly but surely moving towards they’re lactation rooms-they’re accommodations are better.

Robin Kaplan: That’s so-it’s so wonderful to hear that; when businesses actually are listening.

Rosario Rodriguez: Well, I kind of pushed it.

Robin Kaplan: Well you did a good job!

Rosario Rodriguez: I got the Breastfeeding Coalition involved and everybody who I could talk to and get involved-and also to talked with HR and everyone else who was involved to do so. It’s still a work in process, but I’m kind of happy that we’re-

Robin Kaplan: Spearheading it?

Rosario Rodriguez: Yeah.

Robin Kaplan: Awesome. Very cool, and Elizabeth-how are your lactation rooms?

Elizabeth Flandreau: Well the one at the Hillcrest facility is fantastic, and it was created by a mom-a previous mom-who did the same thing sort of that Rosario did in terms of getting it all set up; and they actually have a hospital grade pump in there-

Robin Kaplan: Oh, wow!

Elizabeth Flandreau: -that I could theoretically use if I got the parts for it. But it’s just a single seater. Just one person can be in there at a time, and right now we have three lactating moms; which is fantastic, but hard to work around.

Robin Kaplan: Hard to schedule your time there.

Elizabeth Flandreau: So I used to just pump in my office, but now I have office mates; and I think they would probably prefer that I not pump in their anymore. So at Hillcrest I use the facility that is adjacent to the bathroom, but it’s a separate space. So you can hear toilets flushing and stuff, but it’s not right in front of you.
At the VA, there’s a lactation room in the basement; and it’s also adjacent to the bathroom but there’s a whole little locker room area, so it’s more private; and it’s a two seater, so that’s a little better for me in terms of not being able to schedule it.
And then the UCSD Campus, I probably just haven’t located a lactation room that’s closest to the building that I work in; but it’s just easier for me to either pump in my car when I first arrive or just pump in the handicap bathroom that’s a single bathroom unit. Because it just takes too long to try to do something else.

Robin Kaplan: Yeah, absolutely. Christine, how about you? What’s your lactation room look like?

Christine McCarty: Well, actually-I mentioned earlier that the navy has to provide a lactation room per command that accommodate lactating moms. But my command is really large, and it spans several miles. We have on lactation room for our entire command. I’ve been working with another woman who’s lactating at work to try to convince our commanding officer to give us more spaces, because there are tons of lactating moms; and it should be encouraged for not only our sake and our child’s sake, but for their sake, too. Because it keeps us out of having to go to medical, it keeps us healthy.
So I actually pump in my locker room at work, which is part of the bathroom; but it’s a separate area that has a couch and several outlets, and that’s worked out for me pretty well so far. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than walking three quarters of a mile to get to a lactation room. [Laughs]

Robin Kaplan: Totally. Totally. Wendy, what can a mom do when her employer says that her absence while pumping will cause and do hardship, and that she won’t be able to pump while at work? What is the recommended way to handle this uncomfortable situation?

Wendy Wright: So, that’s a really tough one. Because very few will actually say that, and when they usually say it, they’re usually right. But “undue hardship” is where the key comes in there. “Hardship” is one thing, but “undue hardship” is what we’re looking for. So, I think at that point the woman should have a very frank discussion with the employer, just to say “Let’s make sure this is actually ‘undue hardship’,” and what really comes down to being the concern many times; is when you come immediately back from maternity leave, you are pumping three times a day and you are gone for an hour, potentially, throughout the day. So that can be a sense of a hardship. However, if the employer understands that by the time the baby is approximately six months old, we’ll be starting solids, mom may be able to reduce one pumping session. Then of course by the time the baby is nine months old, the mom might possibly even be able to reduce two pumping sessions; and then at one year, many moms are no longer pumping at work. Some are, but they can just pump on their lunchtime-and in that case there’s no hardship.
So really making sure that the hardship-which may be perceived and is really correct-may only be a couple of months, maybe three or four months. If that can be talked about, generally we can get over it. However, it is my-if it truly is a hardship-I think that it’s definitely worth a phone call to your local Breastfeeding Coalition or Labor Commissioner, just to make sure that we don’t need to push things. Most women though will not push it that hard because the job that they have is something that they’re very, very interested in doing; and it’s difficult at that point to give up your job, which is often tied to their health benefits.
So it’s a touchy situation; so I think really diving into what is “hardship” versus “undue hardship” is the big advantage that the woman can have in discussing.

Robin Kaplan: And I guess another important thing to mention is that just because we get rid of daytime nursing sessions doesn’t mean the mom has to completely quit breastfeeding as well.

Wendy Wright: Absolutely.

Robin Kaplan: So if it’s a job where it’s absolutely important that she continues to have this job and she’s not going to be able to pump at work; then continuing the breastfeeding throughout the day when she’s home with her baby, and throughout the night, and then offering something else while she’s gone.

Wendy Wright: Yeah. That’s the perfect solution.

Robin Kaplan: Yeah. So one of our Facebook followers, Christina, asked “Does the law change once the baby is one year old; and also is it reasonable to request accommodation after one year? Especially when the baby has food intolerances and really needs the breast milk beyond a year?”

Wendy Wright: Yeah, so the federal law only covers women for one year; and that’s one year from the date of the baby’s birth. So if you return to work at four months, you’re covered for eight months. The other states-about twenty of them-are until you stop breastfeeding; so that could be three/four years, whatever you need. Although it is true that most women-I mean when there are food intolerances and allergies, you may need to pump a little bit more than one time at one year-but often around that one year of age women are happy to stop pumping. [Laughter] And you’re offering other things-but yeah, absolutely I think that would be the time-even if you needed to get a note from the pediatrician that would make it medically necessary, and then I would think that it would be easy to continue. Especially because it would not be as frequent as it was at the start.

Robin Kaplan: Ok, and where are your favorite online resources for up to date information about the laws that protect a woman’s right to pump at work?

Wendy Wright: You know, I am really a fan of looking at your local Coalition; just to find out who around the area knows what’s going on. And I also love the United States Breastfeeding Committee; they have some great workplace support and federal law from a national perspective as well as all of the states’ perspectives, so that’s a really nice place to look at.
And then the last group that I think is important for women to look at is a group called the National Business Group on Health; and this is a group that doesn’t come at it from a governmental perspective or a healthcare perspective, but they come at it from a business perspective. And oftentimes it’s important to look at that kind of information before you go in and talk to your employer. Your employer doesn’t care about bonding time with baby, or the amount of time; your employer wants to know how long this is going to take and maybe does it benefit me in some way?
And that’s the advantage of looking at those kinds of sites, because we don’t want to go in there and give a lactation lecture about the beauty of breastfeeding, we want to go in there and talk about the lower health costs for you and the more motivated I’m going to be to stay as your employee if you give me this time. So, we turn the messages around by looking at those sorts of websites, and get into the business-speak; we take some of the mushy breastfeeding stuff that is inappropriate to talk about anyway with your boss.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely, well ok. Thank you so much, Wendy, for your insight into workplace lactation and the rights that protect pumping moms at work; and just for our listeners, so this is the first one in our series of four with Wendy where we’ll be really delving into getting breastfeeding-you know getting pumping working for you while your back at work, and lots of other topics.
And for our Boob Group Club Members, our conversation will continue after this show as Wendy will discuss her “Top Three Tips for Making Pumping Work for You When You Return to Work.”
So, for more information about the Boob Group Club, please visit our website at theboobgroup.com.

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Robin Kaplan: So here is a question from one of our listeners. This is from Julie in Tennessee:
“Hi Boob Group! I just liked you app on iTunes. I love how easy it is to listen to all of the episodes, and even star your favorites for easy access. I’m wondering if there is a way to listen to all of the episodes continuously without having to click on a new episode each time. It would make listening in the car so much easier. Thanks!”

Sunny Gault: Hi Julie! This is Sunny; I’m one of the producers on The Boob Group. First of all, thank you so much for downloading our app; and I know that a lot of people like to listen us in the car, and that continuous playback that you’re referring to is really helpful, so here’s what you’re going to do: When you log into the app, go to the “Settings” page. If you scroll down, you should see an area that says “Continuous Playback.” If you click on “All Episodes,” a little check mark will appear, and that means whenever one episode is done it’s going to go to the next one in sequential order. You can also select to do continuous playback by your starred episodes, which are your favorite episodes. Or even if you want to repeat a current episode! So that’s all you have to do. Thanks so much for the question!

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Robin Kaplan: Thank you so much to our expert, panelists, and all of our listeners. If you have any questions about today’s show or the topics we discussed, call our Boob Group hotline at (619) 866-4775 and we’ll answer your question on an upcoming episode. If you have a breastfeeding topic you’d like to suggest, we would love to hear it! Simply visit our website, theboobgroup.com, and send us an e-mail through the “Contact” link.
Coming up next week, we’ll have Annie, Cherri, and Jennifer back on the show to talk about what life has been like during their baby’s eight month in our series “Breastfeeding Expectations.”
Thanks for listening to The Boob Group: your judgment free breastfeeding resource.
Disclaimer: The views and experiences shared by Christine in this episode are her own personal opinions, and not that of the United States Armed Forces.

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