How to Talk to Your Employer About Pumping at Work

how-to-talk-to-boss-about-pumpingI am not sure there can be a more awkward conversation than trying to talk to your boss about pumping your breasts. I blush just thinking about it.

If you are like me, then, of course, you have the most unapproachable, male, no kids, middle age boss. How do you make him understand your needs as a nursing mother and employee??

This is a dilemma that many working mothers face. As uncomfortable as it is, it’s best to get these details hashed out before you go on maternity leave. Here are some tips on approaching this topic.

How to Prepare for the BIG Conversation

  1. Educate yourself on your rights as a breastfeeding employee (you can read my overview on nursing laws here). This will help you know what to expect in terms of accommodations from your place of work.
  2. Look around for a “Nursing Mothers” room at your office or talk to coworkers and see if any of them pumped while working there.
  3. Talk with your HR (Human Resources) department. Ask them about any existing policies the company has regarding nursing mothers.
  4. Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your plan when you return from maternity leave.
  5. Practice what you plan to say at the meeting so you feel more comfortable with the content.

Having the “Talk” with your Boss

discussing-pumping-at-workA lot of how this conversation is going to go will depend on what you discovered while preparing for this meeting. You may be lucky and work for a company that provides a Nursing Mothers room. Easy peasy! Or not so lucky and you discovered there is no such place.

Here are some items to discuss with your boss –

  1. Discuss your plan for when you return to work. What to expect? Work transition plans, etc. This will help ease into the “breast” part of the conversation (wink, wink).
  2. Advise your boss that you plan to nurse your baby and will be pumping while at work.
  3. Go over the information you received from your HR department and advise him/her that you will require a private place to pump (if your company doesn’t have a dedicated room). Your boss may not be able to give you an answer now but it’s important to ensure they are aware and can be working on that while you are out on leave.
  4. Depending on when you plan to return to work after giving birth, you may need to pump every 2-4 hours (more often for a younger baby). Make sure you talk about this with your boss.
  5. Ask any other questions you may have.

This conversation may be uncomfortable for some but it is very important to hash out these details beforehand. The last thing you want to do is come back on your first day after leave only to find out there is nowhere for you to pump. Or your boss is not updated on your rights as a nursing employee and cause conflict. Get it all out in the open so that you can make your transition back that much easier!

Have you had to have this discussion with your employer? Tell your story here by leaving a comment!

Also See – 


Read: How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn? Losing Weight While Breastfeeding.


Read: 10 Benefits of Breastfeeding – Why it Matters!


Read: Sample Breast Pumping Schedule – See How Often You Should Pump at Work.


  1. Cindy says:

    Hi Heather,
    I think it’s so important for employers to provide a private space for their new mommies. Because, it is such a difficult transition to go back to work, let alone have to find a comfortable place to pump. I’m in HR and I would definitely do this for any of my gals. I would probably make it a little sanctuary for them. You have such expertise in this field and I’m sure many new mommies feel confident after they visit you site! Thanks so much for this! I will pass it on to the new mommies in my life! Cindy

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi, Cindy.
      Thank you for stopping by! I agree the transition back to work can be a tough one. Having a supportive company and HR rep (like you) really helps! I think it is amazing that you want to provide a comfortable place and an understanding environment for your employees. That makes a huge difference! I wish there were more HR reps like you out there. It would help working moms so much. I appreciate you sharing my site and hope it can prove useful to the new mommy to be! Thank you!

  2. SantyG says:

    Hi Heather,

    I just want to congratulate you for writing about this topic, I think it is very important for women who have their first baby. It educates a lot with saying the importance of feeding the baby with the mother breast.

    I think every company should have a provided space that allowed moms to pump and bring the best care to their babies. Thank you,


Leave a Reply