Working mothers often choose to pump to keep up their milk supply. In Acelleron’s latest Human Resources Report, 90% of 1,500 mothers surveyed said they’re pumping at work or plan to pump when they return. Under the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act are required to provide basic accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. Unfortunately, many mothers still struggle with unsatisfactory conditions at their jobs. There needs to be better support in the workplace for parents that are pumping throughout the day.

In the Acelleron report, “43 percent of the moms surveyed feel they are less able to complete their work tasks due to their at-work pumping conditions,” with “29 percent saying they are concerned that pumping at work can impact their career growth.” 

Parents want to see an increase in breastfeeding support in the workplace; adequate time, resources, and spaces allocated for pumping make a huge difference. According to a January 2020 survey conducted by Medela, Mamava, and Milk Stork, “…four in five mothers feel their employer could do a better job of supporting breastfeeding mothers.” 

1 in 4 mothers revealed that they had no dedicated space to pump at work, so they were pumping anywhere from bathrooms, their cars, or closets. Even in workplaces where lactation spaces exist, they aren’t always available or very welcoming. Only 20% of mothers in the survey said their best employee benefit for breastfeeding was a comfortable, private lactation space stocked with supplies.

Last year, this study explored the barriers breastfeeding parents based on the industry they work in. Results “found that women in specific service-oriented industries (i.e., accommodation and retail) reported the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and workplace supports for breastfeeding and pumping.” 

It’s clear that parents need pumping support where there is none, and better support in areas that are lacking. Forbes recently posted 4 Easy Ways Employers Can Support New Mothers In The Workplace, which includes the following:

  1. Provide adequate pumping space.
  2. Encourage community.
  3. Update your parental leave policy.
  4. Have a plan to reintegrate the new mothers in your company.

Our Lactation Simulation Models (LSMs) can hook up to any breast pump, giving healthcare providers and learners the chance to work with different flange sizes and practice identifying pumping problems. Our curricular materials include case scenarios about a mother that wants to return to work and pump, and a working mother with low milk supply.