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Breastfeeding mom whistle blows at work

Yes, I have been a whistle blower. And I am so happy that I was.

Only six weeks after returning to work from having my first child, I was looking for a place to pump breastmilk. No one seemed to know where I should go.

I started to stand in the corner (near a plug) of the women's bathroom a few times a day. At the end of day two, I was called into my boss's office because someone had lodged a complaint about feeling uncomfortable by my actions. When I asked where I should go instead, she suggested I go out to my car.

Driving home with tears in my eyes, facing the idea of not being able to breastfeed my child as I had intended, a friend I was speaking with suggested I call my compliance hotline. As the phone rang, my stomach sank. Anonymous or not, it would be obvious it was me. Would there be retaliation? Would this issue actually be addressed? I still don't know how I stayed on the phone, but I did and made my report.

The very next day there was a key on my desk. They had taken a single use executive bathroom and changed it into a "mothers room". It contained a chair next to a partition blocking the toilet.

Over time (and just in time for my second child) there were plans to remove the toilet. To include a sanitizing station and fridge to keep breastmilk separated. It was amazing to see.

But the BEST PART... right before I departed from this company, a woman who worked in another department sought me out. She had tears in her eyes as she explained to me that she was about due with her third child - she had her first two before I had my first, and never knew about our compliance hotline. She just accepted the fact that there was no where in our building to pump, and gave up on her wishes to breastfeed her first two children because she "didn't want to make waves", despite the fact that North Carolina law required that our location created such a spot. Now, for her third child, she had the space and the option. That meant the world to me.

Long story short: SPEAK UP. Don't be afraid to raise concerns if something doesn't feel right. Do your part to make the workplace a better world.

Written by Kate Smith - see the original post on LinkedIn


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