At some time or another, many of us have to return to work after the blissful months of baby-gazing and bonding with our new bundles of joy. Many will still be breastfeeding at this point and will need to consider pumping milk at work.
While some people may feel embarrassed about needing to pump at work, or feel a sense of guilt that they are having extra “breaks” compared to their co-workers, this process is well within your basic legal rights and there should be no need to feel ashamed.
Here at Peachymama, we like to help out any way we can, so we’ve compiled a short list of handy hints for new mothers returning to the workforce, to make pumping during work hours a more comfortable process.
- Keep a spare change of clothes at work, in case there is ever spillage or a stain from pumping. A bra and shirt will suffice, and these can be left at work for any emergencies.
- Ensure you have a quiet, private place allocated to you. Under law, your employer must work with you to provide somewhere comfortable and private to pump, so have this discussion with them before returning to work.
- Take your time and relax. We all know how much more effective pumping can be when we’re relaxed, so take your phone or a book with you and try to enjoy the break. Don’t feel like you need to rush back to work as this will just hinder the process.
- Adjust your attitude. There is no need to feel guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed of pumping milk for your baby at work. You are actually helping your employer by returning to work at this stage, so they should be happy to accommodate your needs.
- Bring adequate supplies. Along with your breast pump, you’ll also need milk storage bags, a towel for any spills, and a concealed fridge or freezer bag in which to store your milk.
Your rights as a breastfeeding mother at work
Under Australian legislation, you are protected as a breastfeeding mother to have the right to pump milk during work hours in a safe and comfortable area without discrimination. Before returning to work from maternity leave, speak with a supervisor or human resources coordinator to discuss your specific needs so they can help you feel comfortable with your decision.