Pumping at Work: the Etiquette Guide Your Co-workers Need

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ByJessica Shortall
Contributing Writer
Jun 2017
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Photo: Jessica Shortall

Making milk for a baby while at work is awkward. Some people even find it disgusting. So it’s important that we make sure we are all acting in a way that makes our co-workers comfortable. But even more importantly, our co-workers need to know how to react to a pumping mom. I’ve pulled together seven helpful tips to ensure pain-free interaction between all parties.

  1. If you see a co-worker with her breast pump bag, smile and wave as normal. Refrain from making “milk the cow” motions with your hands.
  2. If you’re in the office kitchen when a co-worker is washing out her pump parts and it freaks you out, think about where that cow’s milk you just squirted into your coffee came from. I mean, really think about it.
  3. If your workplace has a dedicated lactation room, don’t take a nap or a conference call in there. Total a-hole move. And don’t put any pictures of cows on the door.
  4. If your co-worker leaks breast milk through her blouse, discreetly offer her your jacket or scarf, and never speak of it again.
  5. If you walk in on a woman who is amazingly making food for her baby, don’t take out your cell phone and take a photo of her.
  6. Make sure break times are fair. No one deserves special treatment, so if you, too, are making essential food for a baby, ask for break time.
  7. Bathrooms are for peeing and pooping and checking Facebook on your phone during the workday. Help your co-worker find somewhere else to make food for her baby.

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