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how to get employers to be more supportive?

452 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  monkaha
I was at BJ's today and had to wait awhile at customer service while they looked up my membership. While I was waiting, the manager and I started a conversation about babies- we figured out that our babies were born only days apart!

We were talking about how hard it is to get out of the house when you have a newborn in the winter and I mentioned that my DD wanted to eat all the time and that made it hard to go anywhere more than a few minutes away. Her eyes got big and she said, "Oh I know, my son absolutely loved to breastfeed. When I came back to work they had to feed him from a syringe for a while before he would take a bottle." At this point I felt pretty comfortable asking, "So is BJ's supportive of pumping?" She looked at me sadly and told me no, that she had to return to work when her son was 6 weeks. She wasn't able to pump frequently enough and she lost her milk very fast. She said it was the hardest, saddest thing she has ever had to do- weaning her ds at 2 months because she lost her milk and couldn't pump frequently enough

Yes, I know there are herbs, etc that she could use... I didn't get into that b/c she seemed so
about losing her milk. And at 6 weeks, I'm not sure it would have helped anyway. As I shopped I felt myself getting angrier and angrier at that place, and all other employers who do not support babies and mamas in breastfeeding. I ended up not buying anything b/c I didn't want to support them.

So how do we lobby the gov to give mamas more time off and employers to support them when they go back to work?
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Right now, I don't think that there is any way to make the gov't support nursing more. The formula lobby has too strong a hold right now. Plus, I don't think that there is enough knowledge of the financial benefits of making nursing easier (ie less work time lost cuz of sick kids, less breast and ovarian cancer for moms, less $$ from WIC going to formula) Untill there is a greater understanding of how great breastfeeding is, and less edginess towards anyone saying that breastmilk is better than formula, there will be no changes in public policy. Unless more women are willing to fight their employers for pumping time and place, there won't be a change in the workplace.

When I went back to work after DD was born, I advocated for the other women in my workplace and they set aside an unused office for us to use to pump. I was lucky to have such an understanding employer and several other nursing moms at the same place and time. Small changes like this might spread..... Go to it mamas!
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