2/22/19: A new study found that one-third of breastfeeding women use bathroom stalls to pump at work. Why? Their workplace has no other suitable, private place to pump, and women are too embarrassed to discuss the topic of better pumping facilities with their employers.
A survey of 2,000 mothers revealed thousands of women experience a “shocking lack of support” when they return to work, with 56% reporting they express milk in unsuitable places, including the staff room (18%), their car (14%) and at their desk (11%). Not surprisingly, this situation caused 30% to experience problems while trying to express, including issues with their supply, infections and anxiety. These difficulties caused 30% of the women to stop breastfeeding earlier than they would have liked.
Broaching this sensitive topic with their managers is another area of concern. Of the women surveyed, 70% said their employer never brought up the topic of whether they were breastfeeding and would need to make arrangements to pump, leaving them to raise the issue themselves. However, almost a third (29%) said they were too embarrassed to have a conversation about breastfeeding, which lead to unfortunate issues such as embarrassing leaks (22%), exclusion from conversations (13%) and missing out on important meetings (11%).
While many bosses seem to be supportive, half of breastfeeding mothers returning to work said their employer didn’t know what to do, didn’t have any facilities or felt embarrassed by the conversation.