Pumping at Work
Q. My baby will only be 3 months old when I go back to work, and I'd like to keep nursing him. Am I legally entitled to pump at work?
A. That depends on your employer's policy and where you live. There is no federal law covering the right to pump on the job -- although 21 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have gotten with the times and have laws in place for breastfeeding in the workplace. (To find out about your state, go to ncsl.org/programs/health/breast50.htm.) If your workplace has a supportive policy and a designated room for nursing moms, you're in luck. But if it doesn't, tell your boss you need to find a place to pump: Could you borrow an office? Use a conference room? Or even, sadly, a supply closet? To help your cause, go into the conversation armed with your estimated pumping schedule as well as statistics about the health benefits of breastfeeding, suggests Linda Meric, director of 9 to 5, a national advocacy group for women in the workplace. Also, don't wait until you're engorged and adjusting to your first day back on the job to have this discussion. Otherwise, you'll feel stressed -- and your boss will feel freaked out and cornered.