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Parenthood, pumping and baby feeding shouldn’t be scary. But sometimes it is. What shouldn’t be scary is pumping especially when you are doing your best to provide your milk for your baby. We have heard our share of pumping horror stories but, rest assured, there is help to turn a horror story into a happy tale.
Lactation rooms and spaces are becoming more and more prevalent especially with the law on our side in many states and territories. However, even though there may be laws on the books protecting parent’s rights to pump and chest/breastfeed their children, whether or not those laws are abided by is a whole other issue! Given you are essentially fixing your baby’s next meal when you are pumping, it is truly horrific to have to do it in a bathroom or anywhere that is unsanitary or a place that feels unsafe.
We heard from one parent who tried to find a safe, clean, private place to pump while at the airport waiting for a flight – her first work trip away from her baby. Met with unfriendly responses as she inquired about a lactation space (there wasn’t one!), she retreated to the bathroom but the only accessible outlet was located in a wide open area as you entered the bathroom from the terminal.
This meant that she would be in full view of passers-by. With no ledge, she sat on her bag, balanced her pump on her leg and pumped away, covering up as best she could. Embarrassed as she was, she did what she had to do and pumped as quickly as she could… and made her flight.
Another parent we heard from heard rumors of a lactation room in their company’s many buildings but couldn’t locate one when they returned to work after parental leave. Left to their own devices, so to speak, they decided to carve out a small space in an unused book closet using a small stack of books as a makeshift chair and another small stack to put the pump on. It all went well until one day, they heard the un-lockable door being jostled and got walked in on mid-pumping.
As if this wasn’t horribly embarrassing enough, when they were startled and turned to the door, their pump flanges came un-suctioned from their breasts and milk sprayed everywhere.
The good news is that there are solutions! Healthy Horizons works every day to support pumping and chest/breastfeeding parents at work and at home and we have made it our mission to broaden awareness of the importance of having safe, clean and accessible places for parents to pump where and when they need.
Many companies are recognizing the importance of lactation support for working parents. While our society-at-large does have some improvements to make as far as lactation support and accessible spaces, we are happy to hear about safe spaces around the country from our community of Healthy Horizons’ parents.