No matter how heartbreaking it can be to go back to work after a maternity leave (Day 1 and you already miss your baby!), it has to be done. And for breastfeeding moms, this means having to pump breastmilk at their workplace.
As mandated by Philippine law, companies are required to provide lactation stations for nursing mothers. The room should have a sink (for hand washing and cleaning pump parts), a refrigerator to store expressed milk, electrical outlets for breast pumps, a small table, and seats. Plus, nursing moms should also be provided a 40-minute lactation break per day.
But, as working pumping moms are well aware, this isn’t usually the case. Requests for lactations breaks are met with resistance more often than not, and pumping stations in the workplace are, at best, enclosed. Breast milk is the ideal food for infants, but support for moms who wish to breastfeed their babies is lacking.
Ask nursing moms to list places they’ve had to pump and answers will range from “my desk at work” to “a bathroom stall at the mall.” Not pretty.
To illustrate, moms have been using the hashtag #IPumpedHere to share all the places they've pumped breast milk in. It’s a campaign started by MomsRising, an American organization, and it’s been used all over social media.
Of course, there are still places that provide impeccable spaces for moms to breastfeed and pump milk (much appreciated!), but some of the moms show places that are less than ideal. Here are examples: The Bad
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Sometimes, the only place to get privacy is in a bathroom. This one had a chair, but what if there wasn't one? Moms have had to stand above the sink or place their breast pump gear (used to prepare food for their baby!) on the floor.
This is the dream! The lactation room is so spacious it can accommodate several separate stations, each with a curtain for privacy. There's a sink and a refrigerator (which also has a freezer) and there's even a drying rack. Impressive!
To continue providing the best nutrition to their babies, support from the workplace is important. Pinay working mother Jencel Marcial-Anguluan told Smart Parenting, “Having a supportive workplace helped in my ability to continue to nurse my 4-year-old son.” She is fortunate enough to be part of IBM Philippines, which provides their breastfeeding employees with a milk delivery service and a flexible work schedule.
What's it like pumping milk at your workplace, mom? Tell us in the comments or send us a message on Facebook!