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Pumping at School, I need to know my rights.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am going back to school in the Fall and I'll have to pump during short breaks in classes. The only private pumping location is on the other side of the campus in a restroom in the gym. Aside from the fact that it's in a gym restroom, and I won't get into how angry that makes me, it would take me ten mins to walk there. We get 10 min breaks. That won't work. I need to know my rights about pumping. There is a room that I'm thinking the department chair would let me into, but I'm just not sure. His wife is having her baby a week before me (or at least our due dates are a week apart) but he seems very mainstream. I'm doing water birth, cloth diapers, baby wearing and co-sleeping. He's doing epidural, disposables, expensive strollers and remodeling his nursery. I have no idea where he stands on breastfeeding.

I live in Portland OR, so I would think that stuff like this would be better. I mean, there are so many of "us" here. But I guess my college missed that memo.

I can find laws on pumping at work, but none for at school. I'm sure I'm just not looking in the right place. Any help would be great.
post #2 of 21
Is there a student health center on campus? Maybe they can assist you with finding a private place to pump. However, it seems the biggest issue is the time restrictions. I am not sure how you are going to be able to pump in 10 minutes. Is there a way to break up your schedule so that you have longer breaks? Maybe even to leave campus to feed your little one? I am a student as well, but go part-time so that I don't have to worry about pumping while I am campus. Good luck!
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
I was told by the people at the women's resource center that the gym restroom was the only place to do it. As for breaking up my classes, that's not even an option. I'm taking one class a day, they are just really long classes. I'll be able to extend my breaks without any problems, but not enough to get to and from a nasty fungus filled gym bathroom. Plus it takes me an hour to get from home to the school and another hour to get home. I'm just really pissed off by the fact that they would pull this. But it seems about the right mentality for them. The only pregnancy resource pamphlet I found there was about adoption and abortion... I think I just need to cool off a bit and talk to my department chair.
post #4 of 21
I'm going to move this over to the Lactivism forum where you can get some ideas about the laws in your state and the resources available to you.
post #5 of 21
Talk to the Nursing dpt teachers. Someone knows someone who will let you use their office, or empty classroom.

I have found that the pharmacy in a grocery store ALWAYS lets you nurse, I'm hoping it's a medical professional thing and they can help you out!
post #6 of 21
While it's not ideal, if you have to use the gym bathroom, you might as well just find any bathroom and pump there - no need to walk all the way across campus. Get a battery pack for your pump and hog a stall for a bit. I'd even bring a folding chair with me so I didn't have to sit on the toilet while I pumped.

That said, it's obviously better if you can find someone who will let you use their office. If no one will let you, another option would eb to buy a nursing cover and do it out in the open underneath the cover. If they don't like it, I bet they'd find you a more workable solution pretty quickly.
post #7 of 21
How long is your class? You said it's an hour to get there so assuming you nurse before you leave you could nurse again when you get there. Then pump again in 3 hrs or so-is your class longer than 3 hrs? I've never had a class longer than 3hrs.
Then pump before leaving for home if needed.
IME, you need at least 15 min to pump and by the time you get set up, wash up afterwards, you'll need 25 min total at minimum.

It doesn't sound like you're getting good advice from the school personnel you've talked to, so you probably need to take the next step and talk to a dean or dept head.

Wonder what they'd do if you sat in the back of class and starting pumping with a blanket over you??
Good luck.
post #8 of 21
I would suggest speaking to your professor. You might be given more time for breaks, etc. and he/she may know of an empty classroom in the building to use or even a different area.
as for the pamphlets or lack thereof-- why not make some yourself?
post #9 of 21
What about pumping in your car? If you can park fairly close to the building you'll be in then just use a cover for privacy in the car that could work well. I personally would be more comfortable in my nice clean car than a public bathroom.
post #10 of 21
Originally Posted by AnnR33 View Post
How long is your class? You said it's an hour to get there so assuming you nurse before you leave you could nurse again when you get there. Then pump again in 3 hrs or so-is your class longer than 3 hrs? I've never had a class longer than 3hrs.
Every single one of my foundation classes my freshman year were 6 hours long. I was in art school and you really needed classes that long to get into the "zone" So there are classes that are too long to pump before and after.

OP I don't know what your babysitting/ daycare is like but I had my babysitter watch my baby out side my class and bring her in quietly to nurse. My professors were ok with that, but then again it was the last 2 months of my master's program. I don't know if that'd work long term.

If you feel comfortable you could try the pumping hands free with a cover during class, if you can't be given more break time like a PP suggested. Have you spoken with your professor?
post #11 of 21
I found it impossible to pump at school. I made phone calls and couldn't find any place. I couldn't even find an outlet in the bathroom. I did buy a battery pack for my pump but in the end it was too inconvenient. I personally ended up being ok without pumping the 2 days a week I was in school but i am sure that is unusual. I would pump when I got home and get at least 8 oz at a time. It didn't affect my supply at all since I continued to have oversupply.
post #12 of 21
I so sorry your school is so unaccommodating thus far! I would talk to your department head about an office or classroom. If he is having a baby you would think he would understand. If that won't work then pump in the back of class with a nursing cover. Get a hand pump like the Avent or Medela one. They are quiet and people are likely not to notice enough to be bothered.

Your baby has a right to eat healthy food and you have the right to provide it without going into a bathroom. I would never prepare a meal in the bathroom stall and you shouldn't have to either!

Oregon has pretty progressive laws as far as I know. Here in Colorado a mother has a legal right to feed her baby wherever she is legally allowed to be. I assume that would transfer to pumping as well.

I am going back to school in a few weeks and am lucky that my school has two lactation rooms on campus that are really nice and private. Petition your school for the same!
post #13 of 21
It could also help to have a note from your doctor stating that medically, you need x amount of time every x hours to pump in a sanitary environment in order to avoid health consequences.
post #14 of 21
How long is your class? Could you travel the hour to school, pump before class, attend class, pump right after, and then do the hour home?
post #15 of 21
I had a similar problem at a very non-baby friendly college. They even went so far as to tell me I would fail my class if I didn't attend the entire first class (which only consisted of the normal, going over syllabus type stuff) which was taking place 2 hours after getting out of the hospital from having dd#2!

Here are some things that worked for me.

#1 talk to your professor. Ultimately they are the ones who will allow you to take an extra 5 or 10 minute break.
#2 pump after you get to school but before you go into class, even if it is for only 5 min's it helps.
#3 take a nursing cover with you. That way you can feel comfortable pumping anywhere. I used to do so in my car and in an empty classroom that was windows from floor to ceiling on 2 sides of the room.
#4 talk to the school nurse. They often have an examining room that they will offer to let you pump in.

GL Mama
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all the help! I'll definitely be talking to the department head and chairman. Going to the Nursing department would possibly be a good idea too, but I don't know where that is. I'll have to find out.

My classes are 4 hours long, but it's going to be a pretty easy class I think, so I should be able to take slightly longer breaks without too much hassle. Especially since most of the teachers in my department are parents.

My car is closer than the gym, but still not close enough.

What I'm thinking about is the Green screen room, it locks and the window is covered for filming stuff, so it would be an ideal place (across the hall from my class). I'm going to ask about that first, but if that's a no I'll try something else. My DH and I are talking about having him hang out in town with DS and bringing him to me on breaks and I'll just nurse, uncovered in the hall in front of all the students and security cams and everything and see if they get the hint that I will not be forced into a bathroom. We'll see how that does.

Again, thanks for everything. It's nice if for no other reason than at least I know I'm not the only person who finds this to be unacceptable. Most people I've talked to make it sound like "oh well, that's parenthood for ya" or whatever. But I'm a... ehem... not a very nice woman... and I wont put up with it.
post #17 of 21
Perhaps you can tell them that if they can't provide you with better accomdation (I am happy to use anywhere private that has electricity) that you will be forced to pump during class, in class, and that you will invite the school newspaper the first time you do it.

I would also ask in writing.
post #18 of 21
in our community college there is no pumping stations at every rest rooms.

what i have seen other moms do which totally impresses me is just stand at the rest room and pump away. they have teh same complaint as you. but they say they dont care. they are getting their baby's food.

so yeah. they stand for 15 mins near the mirrors and pump away. in public. no one has ever complained against them. in fact they keep getting compliments. some use a blanket to cover some dont.
post #19 of 21
most gym bathrooms have lounges- is that the case at your school? Ours had a lounge that was a separate room inside the bathrooms, which were in the locker room.
post #20 of 21
When I was exclusively pumping I had a handheld medela that I carried in my diaper bag. I pumped where ever I was, figured that I should be feeding my baby there, so might as well pump instead. Just pulled my shirt up and wore a shirt under to cover my stomach. I think if it were me, I'd just pump in the hall.
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