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
- 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.
- Look around for a “Nursing Mothers” room at your office or talk to coworkers and see if any of them pumped while working there.
- Talk with your HR (Human Resources) department. Ask them about any existing policies the company has regarding nursing mothers.
- Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your plan when you return from maternity leave.
- Practice what you plan to say at the meeting so you feel more comfortable with the content.
Having the “Talk” with your Boss
A 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 –
- 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).
- Advise your boss that you plan to nurse your baby and will be pumping while at work.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!