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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi mamas, I hope you can help me determine wether or not I should be expecting more from my employer.<br><br>
I work for a Fortune 500 insurance brokerage as a receptionist (read- this ain't no mom and pop shop... they have the resources to affect any change they want). I had not been an employee long enough to qualify for FMLA and had to come back at the end of my 6 weeks disability leave <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> DS and I had a REALLY rough start with BFing and we were just starting to get things on the right track when I had to go back. Suffice to say, between returning too soon, too much stress, not eating enough, and not getting enough sleep (working on the last two), I have been struggling with supply problems ever since.<br><br>
My main question, however, is about the area 'provided' for me (and the one other pumping mama in my 350-person office). It is the Womens' Shower room (they saw fit to have this for co-workers who like to work out on their lunches). It has one small sink, a small (uncomfortable) wooden bench, a power outlet, and a shower. Not exactly the nicest place to pump, but it was offered up to me as if I should be grateful for it.<br><br>
Now, due to some issues here in the office re:BFing, I have been reading up on what a "Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace" should offer its nursing/pumping mamas, and I feel like I am getting the short end here. See... the guidelines say that for health reasons, the pumping area provided should not be somewhere that has a toilet in it. So, would this shower room be along the same lines? It's not like I am rubbing myself on the floor, but all I can think about is athlete's foot or something. And fungus is the LAST thing we need right now!<br><br>
Just... ick. I cannot beleive that I am pumping in a *locker room*.<br><br>
So.... should I be grateful for this, or should I expect more? I know of at least one mom in the office who pumped when she returned from her first maternity leave, but weaned baby #2 before she came back because pumping here was 'too much work' <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> and I tell ya, there are some days that I can see where she was coming from, but like hell if I am going to quit now after everything we have been through to make BFing work.<br><br>
Also, while DS does come in to nurse for my hour lunch, I only have two 15-minute breaks to pump. The problem here is that, as receptionist, someone has to come releive me for my breaks. And they are watching the clock... I have to be back at my desk in 15... this means after setting up before and cleaning up afterwards, I have *maybe* 10 minutes to pump. Is this normal? I doubt anyone else in the office starts 'timing' their breaks when they leave their desks... seems like I am being held to a double standard.<br><br>
Any thoughts?<br><br>
XM
 

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Are there any spare offices you can use? If they've been downsizing like lots of other companies, maybe there is space. Also, are you able to leave your pump set up so you aren't spending time putting everything together? Medela makes special wipes for pumps, which is much faster than washing, I find.<br><br>
As for your break time, I think it depends on how the breaktime of other hourly employees is measured. Can you talk to your supervisor or the person filling in for you about squeezing in a few more minutes?<br><br>
Hang in there mama! It sounds logistically tricky, but I'm sure you can make it work!
 

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hmmm, well, I think I would also be grossed out if I were you, and I think that the suggestion to ask for empty office space is a good one. When I pumped the first time, I had an office about four days weekly (although not locking a couple of the days and people did walk in on me here and there) and I used a closet the fifth day. Eventually, the district outfitted a room as a pumping/counting room (funny, huh?), so that I and other pumping mothers could go in there privately and quietly and pump, and once a day, someone goes in there to count money from the school lunches. It's a rest area located in the outer regions of the bathroom, but closed by two separate doors.<br><br>
I was soooo frustrated during pumping for ds (he's #1). I just felt like NOBODY really got it, although I was able to take all the time in the world because I just took my work in there with me, because they just let me set up in closet areas, etc. It sounds like paradise compared to your situation though, doesn't it? I'm not sure what else to tell you. I suppose I'm going for the ideal that maybe you are inspiring change without realizing it. I was the first person to ever request pumping space in my district, and since then, lots of women in the district office have used that space, so even if I had nothing to do with it, I <i>feel</i> like I did, and I bet you're inspiring more than you know. But that doesn't solve the space issue, I know. hang in there!<br><br>
Leah
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Please read <a href="http://216.92.20.151/discussions/showthread.php?s=&postid=808636#post808636" target="_blank">this</a> post in TAO for an update. Thanks, mamas.<br><br>
XM
 

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I'm so angry for you I could spit!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
I replied to your thread in TAO.<br><br>
Give 'em HECK!!!!!!!!!
 

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I am furious this is happening to you (just read the TAO thread). Is anything new happening? I have noticed that receptionists in offices often get treated that way regarding breaks and lunch (timed to the minute, even when everyone else in the office routinely takes longer breaks and lunches) bc it's seen as the least desirable job in the office and whoever is filling in probably just got promoted out of that position.
 

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This is so infuriating, XM. I am so sorry you have to put up with this kind of crap. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
I'm sorry, but I don't have any hope for you that it will get better or that the management where you work is going to change on it's own. And that just sucks.<br><br>
I was a receptionist for almost 3 years at a pretty big company. It was a total boys club, where I was told I was hired because of how I looked, after the fact. When I got pregnant, it was such a nightmare. I couldn't get anyone to cover me to go to the bathroom, so eventually I just started leaving the desk to go. The smokers wouldn't stop smoking outside the front door, where my office was, even though I begged them to. When I sent an e-mail about it, I got in trouble, and they kept smoking.<br><br>
I just hated the double standard of people taking 2 hour lunches and six smoke breaks and I had to beg to take a break for ten minutes to go barf, or sneak off to the bathroom. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
When I had ds, they called five minutes after he was born to ask when I was coming back. I went back at two months, for about a week. There was no pumping place, no one would give me breaks, and I was having a nervous breakdown being away from ds. So I quit. And it's still the best thing I have ever done.<br><br>
I hope that things work out for the best for you. And if you do leave, I hope the whole place is thrown into chaos, and they realize too late how important you were and how they should have valued you.<br><br>
(I'm not usually this vindictive, but this type of situation really pushes my buttons).
 

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XM -- I'm really sorry you're having to go through this. It always seems to me that receptionists get the short end of the stick...paid the least, watched all the time, and are expected to always look good and be perfect as they are the initial impression for a company but they don't get paid nearly enough to fulfill that (in my opinion).<br><br>
Me, I pumped in the women's room. I was told by a couple of people here that I should really try and get a private office to do it in, but, realistically, there are no truly private offices at my company. Everyone has at least a window through the door and no one except the partners and the most senior senior associates has an office with a door anyhow. And all the conference rooms have glass doors. As does the server room. So, I decided that as there was an outlet in the women's room and there was space for a comfortable padded folding stool, I happily became our local poster girl for breastfeeding and extended pumping. I liked the assorted reactions from women in the office. It was amusing. It didn't gross me out particularly (perhaps I'm pretty gross myself, I guess<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> ) and I figured as BM is antibacterial, I (and my pixie) was probably safe. So far, so good, at this point.<br><br>
Though I can see your point about the "locker room" aspect, I personally would choose the battle of getting longer breaks. 15 minutes is not long enough. My pumping ritual took 20 total generally....and I didn't wash the bottles between pumping sessions, only rinsed them, saving the washing for at night at home. (We have these really, really annoying automatic faucets at the office that go off/on when you least expect it and you can't choose the water temperature.) And I had an easy time with the bf/pumping. I had/have a let-down that is like niagra falls. Anything less strong and I would have needed more time.
 

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I am a teacher at a school where there aren't any spare rooms at all. I pump in the bathroom because I can sit down and there is an outlet. The worst is that there are only 2 adult women's bathrooms in the whole school so I feel really bad when someone comes knocking and I know i'm going to be in there for another ten minutes. my principal has said I can pump in her office, but realistically, there is ALWAYS someone in there...not just her. I'm getting pretty fed up with it. But I guess I should be happy that I'm allowed to leave my room to do it!<br><br>
Katie,<br>
quinn's mom (5 months)
 

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I have to say I am fortunate to have an understanding employer who has provided me with a room with a locked door and adequate time (I work p/t and generally just don't take lunch to make up the time).<br><br>
i know also that ct has a pretty strong law that guarantees pumping moms a non-bathroom space to pump. you might want to check out your state law on the la leche league web site.<br><br>
also working mothers just put out the top 100 companies to work for - if your company is large enough that it has competitors that made the list maybe you can tactfully show that to your boss or a supportive human resources person.<br><br>
good luck and hang in there!<br><br>
mona
 

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I read your "I quit post" The entire situation stinks, but I am glad you did it. It sure would be nice if you could contact your congressman and write letters to the newspaper to publicize what is going on. Maybe the big Fortune 500 co. wouldn't want to be known as a co. being negative to its female employees.<br><br>
Jenni<br>
Helon 15 mos
 
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