There was an article posted on CNN by Campbell Brown about a breastfeeding mother fired after being caught nursing at an “unscheduled time.” As a breastfeeding mother, I just had to give my 2 cents on this article.
The article states:
During the job interview Allen informed the company she was a new mother and would need accommodations: “I did go to the hiring supervisor and ask her, if there was somewhere that I can pump because I was breastfeeding my son. She called me and let me know it would be 11 o’clock in the bathroom”.
Ok, first of all – WHAT? In my opinion, the company is basically saying, “Ok, you can pump your breast milk, but you’re going to do it at 11 o’clock, and you’re going to do it in the bathroom.”
Or how about this part of the article:
Allen felt desperate and she decided to take matters into her own hands. “I watched people for three or four weeks take bathroom breaks and smoke breaks but no one ever said anything to them about that so I don’t see what the problem was with me taking the same 15 minute break,” said Allen. She started going to the bathroom an hour earlier, she asked her team leader to cover for her and took about fifteen minutes to pump. After two weeks on this schedule a supervisor walked into the bathroom and confronted her.
“I said just give me 15 minutes, I will work through my lunch, I said. But I need to come to the bathroom earlier to pump my milk because it was hurting my back so bad,” according to Allen. That same day Allen was fired.
My heart goes out to this woman. I saw this all the time in the workplace. (Yes, I have worked outside the home!) Smokers could go take a break as often as they wanted and get their “needs” fulfilled. To force a breastfeeding mother to sit there, engorged and in pain, and not be able to pump on demand is a problem.
I think this part of the article sums it all up:
Allen sued Totes/Isotoner and took her case all the way to the Supreme Court of Ohio. She lost—the courts ruled this case was only about unauthorized breaks. There are 24 states with laws addressing the issue of breastfeeding moms in the workplace. Ohio is not one of them. “I just don’t think it’s fair that we have to lose our jobs in order to feed our kids” she said in an interview with CNN.
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the court’s decision was narrow. He explains: “Even if they ruled against LaNisa they had a chance to say, this is a form of discrimination. It may not have taken place in this case, but firing a woman because she is nursing is a form of discrimination. But they didn’t say that. And Congress hasn’t said it yet. And one thing that the Ohio Supreme Court and Congress have in common is that they’re mostly men. And men are made uncomfortable by this issue.”
WHAM. (That’s the hammer hitting the nail right on the head.) Did you catch the last two sentences in the quote above?) Men are uncomfortable with this issue. No man wants to talk about breastfeeding. Even my husband, who has supported and encouraged me in breastfeeding the 4 children we have together, doesn’t like to talk about it. I get that. But that doesn’t make it ok. Especially when a woman is losing her job because she decides to make a healthy choice for her child.
Men, let me tell you something: Women were not given breasts simply for your pleasure. Really. It isn’t always about you.
Now, not all men are uncomfortable with breastfeeding, but how often do you hear them speaking up?
Something needs to be done. More states need to step up and protect the rights of breastfeeding mothers.
Congress is finally starting to “get it”:
In Washington, Congress is also getting involved, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is working to pass “The Breastfeeding Promotion Act.” If passed, her bill would protect breastfeeding in the workplace under civil rights law and ensure women cannot be fired or discriminated against for pumping during lunch or breaks. Maloney’s bill would also require employers to provide break time to pump and make a reasonable effort to find a private place for a new mom to do so. Employers would receive a tax credit for up to fifty percent of their related expenses.
I think this is just what breastfeeding moms in the workforce need right now.
I want to hear from you. Are you a breastfeeding mom in the workforce right now? Have you ever been? Has it been difficult for you? Did it discourage you and cause you to quit breastfeeding sooner than you wanted to?
I’ve never had a job outside the home while being a breastfeeding mother, so I can’t really say that I have personally had a problem with this. But, I do think that breastfeeding is best for baby, and I think a mom should be allowed to pump on the job as she needs to. As long as she isn’t taking advantage of the situation, of course.
Chime in! I want to hear your thoughts on this important issue.
And before you decide to just flame me, I want to tell you a couple of things:
1. My first daughter was completely formula fed. She is healthy and happy. with Jace and Lucy, I supplemented formula in the first few months and switched to formula completely before they were 1 year old. (My 2nd child was and Parker is exclusively breastfed only because they wouldn’t ever take a bottle.) I will support formula feeding mothers just as much as I support breastfeeding mothers.
2. This is my blog. If you can’t discuss this topic while being professional and kind, your comment will be deleted. I’m totally ok with you disagreeing with me. I understand that not everyone agrees all the time. I’m not ok with harrassment or just plain rudeness.
Now that that’s out of the way….. give me your thoughts!