“Something that doesn’t get talked about a lot is breastfeeding shaming. Not the “cover it up!” kind but the working mom kind. When my maternity leave ended I was left with the daunting task of returning to work full-time. I’ve been pumping at work for almost 6 months and I still get a knot in my stomach on the drive to work. “What will this shift hold?” “Will I have time to pump?” “Will I leak on my scrubs again?” Surprisingly, pumping at work is not something that is widely welcomed or supported.
Comments I’ve gotten from my male + female coworkers go like this: “I wish I was breastfeeding so I could take a break whenever I wanted”; “Oh yea, there she goes ‘pumping’ again” (with fingers in quotation marks); “What took you so long?!” (Never mind the cleaning of 6-8 pump parts, transfer of milk to storage, and waiting outside a pump room since there are only 2 for the entire hospital); and my favorite: “It must be nice getting to take all those breaks. Maybe I should have a baby”. (Yet some shifts are so busy I only get to pump once in 13 hours.) Something I don’t quite understand is that women simultaneously receive comments such as “You’re breastfeeding RIGHT? Because that’s so much better for the baby” and “Yea, she only breastfed for a month. You’re not lazy like her”. (Like seriously?!) Yet when they do breastfeed they experience so much backlash and negativity. This is one of the many double standards mothers are held to.
So the next time someone mom shames you at work remember this: One day you’ll walk into work and your job won’t need you anymore. But your baby always will.”