#IPumpedHere shows why moms need better pumping accommodations
August is National Breastfeeding Month, and Black Breastfeeding Week is August 25th-31st. This means it’s the perfect time to highlight a big, fat problem in our country; the “lactation facilities” offered by some workplaces suck — plain and simple.
There may be a fancy soda machine that let you pay via credit card in the break room, but that might not stop your boss from insisting that an unlocked supply closet (or worse, a bathroom stall) is a totally acceptable place to pump.
The non-profit activist group Moms Rising is encouraging employers to expand protections for pumping moms at work using the social media hashtag #IPumpedHere. Women are sharing photos and tweets describing all the places they’ve pumped. There’s the good, like this lovely lactation room:
@IPumpedHere #IPumpedHere @NO_Airport thanks for the beautiful mother's room. A lovely oasis w comfy chair, Power outlets, changing tables pic.twitter.com/DwWEzixeIk
— Dani Gonzales (@spee_dgonzales) June 24, 2017
There’s the bad:
At my last job, sadly, #IPumpedHere pic.twitter.com/GosJR81gPN
— Audrey Goodson Kingo (@AudreyNGoodson) August 1, 2017
Circa 2012 working for #wellsfargo in SF, #ipumpedhere … a storage closet only accessible by walking through a large conference room. pic.twitter.com/8GHHMGXEBF
— chastain (@ChastainDesign) May 25, 2017
In a bathroom while standing and balancing my gear, my car on a busy street, and a random office w/ a glass door. #ipumpedhere @MomsRising
— Kinley (@Kinley_CL) May 23, 2017
Taco Bell parking lot was my personal low. #ipumpedhere
— Ashley (@LittleLeafAsh) August 7, 2017
And then there’s the “Are you kidding me?”
I once asked at a coworking space if they had a pumping room. Man replied, "Are you referring to bike maintenance?" #ipumpedhere
— Katherine Goldstein (@KGeee) May 25, 2017
Beyond spreading awareness online, members of the group took to Washington, D.C. yesterday in an attempt to connect directly with lawmakers and share the stories of women having to pump at work under gross conditions.
Armed with their kiddos, plenty of snacks and breastmilk bags filled with gold chocolates to represent breastmilk’s status as “liquid gold” they visited members of Congress and Senators to bring awareness to the fact that 60% of working moms who pump don’t have enough break time or adequate accommodations where they can do so.
According to Mom’s Rising, federal laws concerning pumping only apply to companies with 50 employees or more. Lactation rooms have be shielded from view, there has to be a way to keep coworkers and randos from barging in on you and — sing it with me now — pumping spaces CAN’T BE BATHROOMS. Although the World Health Organization recommends moms breastfeed until age two or beyond, employers only have to offer moms a reasonable pumping breaks until her baby is a year old.
If you want to know if your workplace’s lactation room and rules are legit, you can check out both the federal and state breastfeeding and pumping laws. In the event your state law offer more protection than the federal law, the state law wins out.
Hoping to spread their message even further, Moms Rising is offering free #IPumpedHere stickers for pumping moms. Use one to take a photo where you pump, or leave it in a particularly gross place where you’ve had to express milk in solidarity with the next mom who has to do the same.
As moms, we pump under gross and less than ideal conditions out of love for our kids. But just because we’re willing to do it doesn’t mean we should have to.