Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pardon Me, Do You Have a Lactation Room?

My office environment is very positive. The people are pleasant, the bathrooms are clean, and most importantly, the lactation room is private. Hidden behind a locked door that requires an entry code, it contains a sink, a mini-fridge, and two cozy pleather chairs separated by a curtain. I retreat to it three times a day and give nary a second thought to the process.

After my fiasco trip to Phoenix, I have not only a newfound love of my pump, but a newfound respect for the facilities. I had already been here for over four years when I came back from maternity leave, and I had seen other new moms excuse themselves to express, so I knew that a lactation room existed and whom to ask for access.

I know I am fortunate to have a lactation room at my office. WorkingMomsAgainstGuilt had an interesting discussion about pumping at work a few weeks ago. Moms are pretty inventive when challenged, with some hiding in coat closets, others seeking refuge in bathrooms and the brave few pumping at their desks. Imagine being an employee at a fast food restaurant or a Starbucks, talk about having limited options! At least I can take my breaks as needed and no one questions where I am going or counts the seconds until I return.

It still makes me wonder how things are at other organizations. And how you find out about them. Since you are apparently not supposed to be too obvious about having small children during the interview process, when is the appropriate time to ask about the existence of a lactation room? Do you pump in your car for a week until someone notices and asks? Do you just avoid switching jobs while nursing?

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