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The Orlando Sentinel‘s Beth Kassab wrote a great article today about breastfeeding and working moms. An important issue.
As a working, breastfeeding mother (whose done it once before) I have to agree with her sentiments that women need a work environment that supports this cause. I am fortunate to have had an office with a door at both companies where I worked while still breastfeeding. For those without offices, there were other, private, options available. A friend of mine works for a company that has a room dedicated to nursing mothers. I’m sure it’s the reason many who use it are (or have) continued to breastfeed. But we might be in the minority. Kassab shows statistics about just how many don’t have a supportive company.
On one of the Internet groups that I participate in, one mother complained one day about having to pump at her cubicle only to have her coworkers complain to the management. She was not given a room with a door to express milk in private. This is horrifying — not that someone would complain about having to sit next to her when they could hear her pumping. What is horrifying is that the only location she could find at work was at an open space at her desk. Good for her for not giving up, but she deserves better!
Mothers on the message board jumped in letting her know there were laws in Florida where companies have to provide a private space, and it can’t be a bathroom.
While I know that not all companies can dedicate a breastfeeding room all the time, when a lactating mother returns to the office she should be given a private room to use at some location on site. Kassab states the benefits for companies:
According to the Business Case for Breast-feeding published by the U.S. Department of Health &amp;amp;amp; Human Services, employers who provide the right environments experience lower health-insurance costs and claims for women and their infants, lower turnover rates, less absenteeism, improved productivity, and increased company loyalty.”