Good News For My Fellow Milk Machines

And finally… a spot of good news!

Supervisors in San Francisco approved legislation that will require mothers to have a clean and private space to pump milk for their little ones. The legislation approval furthers California and federal law that already requires employers to make their best efforts to provide nursing mothers with lactation breaks.  Advocates say the newly approved ordinance is a great victory for new mothers as it provides more concrete guidelines for nursing moms as well as for their employers.  Under the new ordinance lactation spaces must be clean and include a chair and surface area for a breast pump.  Spaces must also require an electricity hook up.

It seems like this ordinance should already be in existence considering we live in one of the greatest first world countries the twenty first century has to offer.  Yet here we women are, fighting for a chair, a plug and somewhere to set our milk machines down. “We’re talking about something that is so basic, it’s almost sad we have to legislate it,” said Julia Parish, an attorney at Legal Aid at Work. “This is about working moms providing food for their babies.” For those readers out there who have not been “pumpers” themselves, let me weave you a tiny tale about one mom and her pumping woes in the work place.

Yes, yes, you guessed it.  That woman is me.

I breastfed both of my older daughters before returning to the workplace, so when I did go back to my job I was a bonified pumping machine.  I didn’t work in a office where I could shut the door and close the blinds.  I couldn’t squeak in a pump session in between conference calls or paperwork.  I was a teacher, a special needs teacher to boot.  I could barely squeeze in a daily tinkle let alone a full blown pumping session or two!  My work space was a classroom, which I shared with two lovely women who over the years had their fair share of having to catch a glimpse of my bosom while I milked away.  I pumped behind a small, blue, partition wall, which was the only place I could ensure that an unknowing student would not stroll the halls only to glance over to my classroom and have to see his or her teacher’s breasts latched onto the pump.  If I wanted a clean space to “work” I had to create it myself, which I did everyday at lunchtime.  You see the area behind the blue wall was a space we used for students who needed fewer distractions from the larger group.  Some of these students were prone to pretty epic meltdowns.  Needless to say the surface behind the “pump” wall didn’t always stay clean.


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29 thoughts on “Good News For My Fellow Milk Machines

  1. When I started reading this my first thought was “Why does this need to be a law? Why does common courtesy need to be a law?” Then you said it. My wife breatfed both of ours for an entire year. I don’t how she managed.

  2. it’s a shame that we aren’t at this stage already, it shouldn’t have to be a new thing! I’ve been breastfeeding my son for 20 months and am appalled that places like this still need to be specialised in order to give mums what they need when it comes to breastmilk. #triumphanttales

  3. You’re totally right that there absolutely shouldn’t need to be a law for this-how very sad!!! Is this not helped by the shorter maternity leave in America? We have 9 months to a year in the uk, so many mums don’t need to pump when they return to work, so I haven’t heard of this as as much of an issue here. But the least mums should have is allocated time, and somewhere private and clean to do it!!

  4. You are one of my favorite bloggers now. My daughters and I love reading your blog. I love your sense of humor. I have 4 daughters as well but mine are all grown up now.

  5. It seems bizarre that this is not happening already without having to make a law for it. Like others have stated above, the short maternity leave doesn’t help issues.

    Thanks so much for sharing with #MMBC. Have an awesome weekend and hopefully see you Monday x

  6. Oh no, I can’t believe about where you had to pump. Although I can as I was a teacher too and I had to give-up in the end as I would have had to pump in the toilet. We all deserve peace to pump! #fridayFrolics

  7. To be honest, I was surprised to read this. Isn’t it awful that something like this needs to be added into the law. Surely work places would have the decency to just provide a space as a given, and not just because it’s the law. #DreamTeam x

  8. I hate how this has to be added into the law when it should already be there :/

    Also, I love your blogging style! 🙂


  9. Wow, the blue partition wall story…

    I was watching a documentary on how mothering is different in different countries and how “third world” mothers get so much more support and have no backlash for breast feeding on demand pretty much anywhere. Food for thought, with us first worlders I guess.

  10. It seems madness that this isn’t a given! The most natural thing in the world! Thanks so much for linking up to #TriumphantTales – hope to see you again on Tuesday!

  11. More needs to be done for sure! I remember returning to work after my first and having to sit in the first aid room to pump and another time being in a different office and having to do it in the toilet cubible. Oh the glamour! #mmbc

  12. Well done on fighting this one. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you. Thanks for sharing with us and linking up #FabFridayPost

  13. So happy that this law has been passed for you. It’s crazy that there needs to be a law. Its a shame you can’t have longer maternity rights to boot too. I haven’t gone back to work with mine but even at 2 he is still feeding from me, If I had to pump for him I’d have stopped ages ago, most definately if the work place was rubbish. Thanks for linking to familyfun.

  14. Good that they are now doing this, but shame it is necessary to have a law for something so obvious. I only ever had to pump in a piblic place (on a course) once & it did not go well! Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics

  15. It’s just so ridiculous and even though really there shouldn’t be a need for a law at least now mothers will see their needs and rights met. I was also a special needs teacher so can totally sympathise and understand how difficult it must have been for you when you had to return to work. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

  16. My Mrs., she breastfed both our little darlings and in this day and age, it boggles the mind to think that this is under legislation. What class citizens are we? Under mr t, I am afraid of that answer. Go mama go!
    #FabFridayPost xoxo

  17. Wow, I am so glad this is a thing now but shocked that it wasn’t before. I am lucky in that I work from home and so I never had the stress of where to pump but I can imagine it causes great stress. Thanks for linking up with us this week. #bigpinklink

  18. It does seem like madness that breast feeding, one of the most natural things in the world to do, has ever had to be a big deal of. It’s sad a law ever had to be passed, but I’m glad it has.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.

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