School Won't Give Breastfeeding Teacher 15 Minutes to Pump for Her Baby

Rant 17

bottle of breast milkAnother breastfeeding mom has run into trouble at work for having the audacity to think her employers should give her a little slack so she could pump milk for her baby. Can you even imagine what Sarah Ann Lewis Boyle was thinking? Here she asked the Carmel Unified School District to give her 15 whole minutes of time out of her teaching schedule to pump for her baby.

Fifteen minutes for breast pumping! What's next? Will she actually expect them to let her go pee? Or give her health care benefits? The nerve of new moms today, really.

Yes, I'm kidding.

But you know that outrage you felt when you thought I was serious? That's the kind of outrage we need to summon for new moms who return to work only to find that work doesn't care about new moms.

The breastfeeding teacher's complaint against the district alleges that a manager told her to "train her breasts not to make milk," and that she was given a poor evaluation because of her fight for her rights, then urged to resign from her teaching position.

Now just imagine a worker was being denied the right to void their bladder. Say a manager had told them to train their body not to make urine. No one would stand for it, and rightfully so. 

We aren't talking about lengthy personal calls here or employees asking for extra time to do their makeup. We're talking about basic human needs. A breastfeeding mom has to pump. Nature simply doesn't stop making the milk. And all she's asking for is 15 minutes.

Even as we make leaps in women's rights, we are still stuck with an employment world that treats breastfeeding mothers like they're trying to get one over on the system when they try to take advantage of their federally protected right to pump on the job.

Given the number of people you see in their work uniforms puffing away near the door of various establishments, even people who smoke seem to be given more leeway from the average employer than a woman like Sarah Boyle.

Is it really so much to ask an employer to give a breastfeeding mom the same amount of time it takes someone to puff a cigarette so she can go pump?

 

Image via bradleypjohnson/Flickr

baby health, back-to-work, breastfeeding