Your Pumping Rights Are Protected by Law

Did you know that under the Affordable Care Action Fair Labor Standards Act, you as a pumping mom have the right to a break time for pumping and a safe place to pump? These national regulations state, “… employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time and space to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother, for up to one year following the birth of the employee’s child… The space provided by the employer cannot be a bathroom, and it must be shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public.” Isn’t that awesome?!

Now if only it happened nationwide.

How Pumpspotting is Helping Moms

Unfortunately, many employers don’t meet up to these standards at all. To begin to change this, the social network Pumpspotting is uniting mothers to change the dynamic. Their mission? “Bringing together mamas who pump, nurse and nourish on the go … committed to improving the physical accommodations for working pumping mothers everywhere.”

The suggestions for the accommodations needed for pumping rooms include at minimum:

  • A door that locks (no peepers, please, thank you, and get out!)
  • A comfortable seat
  • A surface, such as a counter, for a breastpump and supplies
  • An electrical outlet for plugging in a breastpump (kinda helps with pumping…)
  • An occupied sign (for possible peepers and knocking before entering.)
  • A wastebasket
  • A sink for washing hands, pumps, and tubes
  • A refrigerator nearby for storage

To go above and beyond with enhancements, an employer could even include:

  • A footrest to go with that lovely comfortable seat
  • A sink that includes paper towels and soap (hey, messes happen!)
  • Or a refrigerator with freezer compartment to store cold packs and milk
  • A clock and small mirror for returning to work
  • A computer and internet access, and décor for a pleasurable space to find let-down

Advocating For Your Pumping Rights

Pumpspotting suggests that if your employer isn’t providing these regulated minimums, reach out to Human Resources and/or the United States Department of Labor. Break time for nursing mothers and the space to do so is a right for working moms and is something you may be able to change for your workplace. And it benefits your workplace too. Moms who get to pump in a safe space are more productive and may be able to take less sick days than moms who don’t, as breastfeeding can hep develop a strong immune system in an infant. With healthier babies and healthier moms, businesses benefit by increased productivity from moms pumping, moms taking less leave time, as well as loyalty to the company and increased job satisfaction in women that are provided for by their employers.

Personal Experience with Pumping at Work

My own experience at the workplace is a positive one. Aeroflow has a beautiful pumping room that will be perfect for me when I return to work after having my daughter. I know that I will be able to be a successful pumper because I have break time to pump, a safe place to pump and everything I need in the pumping room to be successful – including a comfortable chair and beautiful décor. What do you have in your work place, mama? Is your workplace setting you up for success when you pump? Let us know, we want to hear from you!

Aeroflow Pumping room

Aeroflow's Pumping Room!
Megan Prestridge

About the Author

I am 23 years old and happily married to a man I have been with for eight years. I am the sixth generation in my family to live on my family's land located in West Asheville. I went to Mars Hill University for my undergraduate degree in English and creative writing and fully plan to obtain my doctorate someday.

Learn more about Megan!