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78 Percent of Moms Are Overwhelmed by Pumping at Work

Despite new workplace protections like the PUMP Act, many mothers still feel unsupported, uncomfortable and judged when pumping at work.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published August 21, 2023
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Image: Matuska | Shutterstock

In a big win for breastfeeding and pumping parents everywhere, the federal government recently passed the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act. The legislation effectively increases protections for breastfeeding moms while outlining employee rights. But while on paper working mothers have never been better equipped and empowered to breastfeed and pump, in reality pumping in the workplace can still feel like an uphill battle.

To get a better feel of what life is really like for parents pumping in the workplace, Lansinoh recently conducted a survey of new moms. The consensus is a familiar one—parents need more support. Of the moms surveyed, 82 percent said pumping moms are not supported by society and over 50 percent reported not feeling personally supported when it came to pumping in the workplace.

Outside of a lack of support, 78 percent of moms said they were overwhelmed by pumping in the workplace. While the PUMP Act outlines the need for a private, secure space to pump, many times, these spaces aren’t respected and pumping breaks are looked down upon.

“I often feel resent coming from coworkers about ‘all the extra breaks’ which is not at all supportive,” one mom named Katelyn told Lansinoh. “I do feel judgement like I am somehow being lazy or taking advantage by taking 2 pump breaks during the day. I know it’s not right, I know it’s not a break/cheat, but it still makes me uncomfortable almost anytime I leave to pump.” Overall, moms described their experiences pumping at work as “stressful,” “uncomfortable,” and “difficult.”

So what can we do to make the transition back to work easier for moms? According to Pam Cohen, Ph.D., the chief research and analytics officer at Werklabs, the research arm of The Mom Project, it all starts with workplace support.

“Overall, a culture of support for parents is extremely important. When managers check in with returning parents about their needs, and are flexible in adjusting to those new needs, it makes a big difference. Bottom line, when organizations seek to understand parent needs and act in ways that actively demonstrate that understanding, it goes a long way in terms of retention, inclusion and productivity.”

Learn more about your rights under the PUMP Act here.

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