Mother & Child Health Coalition Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2015
by sharing stories from breastfeeding mothers supported by their employers.
Support for Nursing Employees: US Bank at Johnson County Community College
Thank you for helping me access the lactation room here at JCCC. I am a mother of four now, my children are 17, 13, 7 and the baby is 3 months old. I have breastfed all of them and can tell you first hand that times have changed since my oldest was born in 1997. The social experience has been challenging and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster over the years. I had never heard of a lactation room until recent years and was thrilled to learn that we have two on campus!
My work experience still challenges me and I don’t get the opportunity to pump as often as I would like, but I am pleased to say that we have not had to switch over to formula (which is something I had to do with my other children upon returning to work). I have had to pump in bathroom stalls, offices, and back rooms. I was recently at another local school and had to pump in their “green room” near the theater. JCCC is really leading the way by offering this to new moms and I hope to see other schools and businesses follow in their footsteps.
The room is set up with a rocking chair, a regular chair, a clean sink and table with an electrical outlet. If that’s not enough, it also has parenting magazines, a communication board for mothers to offer tips and support, ask questions, etc. It is kept clean and has an option on the outside of the door to show that it is occupied so others do not disturb. (Obviously, it locks, too.)
My experience with this has been great, enabling me to continue caring for my baby girl and offer her breast milk rather than formula. I am grateful for the access to this room.
Thank you so much!
US Bank at Johnson County Community College
Support for Nursing Employees: Platte County High School
When returning to work after the birth of my baby, there was a lot of uncertainty in my mind about pumping so that I could continue to breastfeed my baby. Will I have time? When will I fit it in my schedule? And of course, where will I do it? It caused a lot of anxiety at a time when I had so many other things on my mind. I had to awkwardly ask my supervisor if there was any place in the building that would be discreet and private. He was very gracious and accommodating, and he did the best he could do, but the best he could do was give me a key to a storage room in the basement. It was functional, but not ideal.
When we received the grant to create a lactation room, it was so relieving to know that I would have a dedicated, private space where I could pump in order to continue breastfeeding my little one. Because of this space and its convenient location, I was able to easily set aside fifteen minutes twice a day to ensure my baby could continue nursing. It is so important to working mothers to have the opportunity to breastfeed their babies if they choose, and we have enough on our minds as it is without having to worry about struggling to find a discreet location to pump at work. Having the lactation room set up removes the uncertainty from a mother’s mind and helps her seamlessly return to work after maternity leave.
-Rachel Jermain, Platte County High School
Support for Nursing Employees: Assurant
“When I had my first child, nursing simply didn’t work. The story of everything I tried is long, stressful, and was devastating at the time. Once my second was on the way, I was determined to try again. It was such a blessing that my son latched on immediately, had no issues nursing, my milk came in just fine… everything went wonderfully opposite from my first attempt. So when I was ready to go back to work, I was terrified. Pumping would be embarrassing, I wouldn’t find time away from my desk, being away from my baby would impact my supply. I was just waiting for failure.
On my first day back to work, I stopped by the nurse’s office before even going to my desk. To my relief, I was met with excitement and open arms. I was shown to my choice of 2 private rooms, a sink for cleaning my supplies, a fridge for storage and hints for coordinating with others also using the space to pump. Jane, our nurse, works with me every day to make sure I have full access to her office & the private rooms to pump. If she isn’t in, or if her schedule is different from mine, she goes out of her way to make sure I know I’m still welcome to use the space for anything I need.
My son turned 4 months old last week and we are still going strong. I have to supplement some formula to keep up with his crazy appetite at times, but I owe so much of my nursing success to Jane and Assurant. Dare I say, I have even been more comfortable pumping at work than at home!! Thank you!!!” – Dana Boman, Assurant
Support for Nursing Employees: Priority Care Pediatrics
“As a new, working mother I have encountered many new experiences and challenges. It was my goal to breastfeed for a year, and it would not have been possible without the support of my workplace, fellow employees and my family. Priority Care Pediatrics has made every effort to accommodate my needs; everyone has been supportive by simply offering an encouraging word, allowing flexible scheduling, and offering privacy while pumping. They have blocked time on my schedule every day to assure I have time to pump between seeing patients. Additionally, when my breastfeeding and pumping schedule has changed they have accommodated those changes graciously and without any sort of backlash.
The lactation consultants have been available and helpful when I’ve had questions. They are very supportive and have even allowed me to trial new products so they are able to pass information on to our patients about real experiences. All of them have been gracious about sharing their lactation rooms with me over the past year, and supporting me when I encountered any challenges.
After about 5 months of breastfeeding I ended up with mastitis for the second time. I was on antibiotics and feeling discouraged when, upon my return to work, I spoke to Dr. Grimes about changing my schedule in order to pump more frequently than my existing schedule allowed. Without hesitation or delay he got the scheduling team on board to accommodate the changes I had requested, and within 24 hours everything was taken care of. I was blown away by how quickly it was resolved without question.
In summary, my experience with breastfeeding and working has been absolutely wonderful. Despite the occasional difficulties that come with breastfeeding and working, I am blessed beyond words to work in an environment that offers so much support, advice, and accommodation. It’s because of this experience that I’ve been able to continue breastfeeding as long as I have, fostering a very special bond with my son.” – Grace
Support for Nursing Employees: Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas Health Department
“My son was 2 months old when I decided to return to work, and I was very unsure of how it would all turn out. I had been exclusively breastfeeding him and wanted to continue to do so. I have an older child who was breastfed as well, but I was able to stay home with her when she was an infant, so this was a whole new territory for me. I actually decided to change career fields, as I knew my current job situation wasn’t very baby friendly. Not only did I have long evening and weekend hours, but taking breaks to pump breastmilk was also something I didn’t know how to approach with my employer.
Becoming a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at the Wyandotte County Health Department was the best thing that could have happened to me as a new, breastfeeding mom. Being here at WIC with other employees who have pumped at work, and who promote pumping and breastfeeding to their clients every day, makes pumping at work feel natural. The staff here wants everyone in the community, including their employees, to be successful with breastfeeding, which is why they let staff take extended breaks to pump as necessary.
One may think, ‘Well, yeah, you’re a breastfeeding counselor, so of course you can pump at work,’ but this isn’t isolated to only the WIC staff. We have a breastfeeding room open to all clients and employees of the health department, and several refrigerators throughout the building as well. In addition to that, not only are the Breastfeeding Peer Counselors trained in helping moms breastfeed and pump, but several dieticians are trained and staffed in the building as well.
I couldn’t have asked for a better transition into becoming a working, breastfeeding mother, and I can’t thank the health department enough for that. I believe that I’m lucky to have an employer, who supports breastfeeding, and I know many of my clients and others in the community do not. Our goal is to continue to educate and demand breastfeeding laws be followed in order to better serve our breastfeeding community.” – Julie Walker, CBE, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at Wyandotte County Health Department
Support for Nursing Employees: Truman Medical Center
“On March 3, 2014, I had a baby girl by C-section at Truman Medical Center – Hospital Hill. When I first started out trying to breastfeed her, I had a lot of trouble getting her to latch on. The nurses and lactation consultant at Truman Medical Center-HH were excellent at helping me figure it out. I was able to breastfeed my daughter for 10 months. On July 25, 2015 I had a boy at TMC-HH, and am breastfeeding him. This time I am hoping to go a full year.” – Ennisa Nevels, Patient, TMC-HH
This support for breastfeeding extends to TMC employees as well. The “Support for Breastfeeding Employees” hospital policy reflects TMC’s commitment to “provide a supportive environment to enable breastfeeding employees to express their milk during work hours.” Several designated lactation rooms are available on both Hospital Hill and Lakewood campuses. Employees may also obtain breastfeeding information and complementary breastfeeding assistance from TMC lactation consultants.
“I am so thankful that I work at a place that values breastfeeding as much as I do. It makes achieving my goals of breastfeeding my 4 month old as long as possible so much easier.” – Breanna Dawkins, RN – Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill
“Having a lactation room is amazing! Especially since I work 12 hour shifts. I really enjoy taking time to relax, watch some TV or listen to music while pumping. It also helps that I have such great support all around me.” – Kira Jones, PCT- TMC-HH
“I had my baby boy, Rowan, on May 12, 2015, and my whole experience was great! My husband is an employee at Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill. About a month before going into labor, I attended the breastfeeding class that was provided at Truman. The class had a lot of great information and helped prepare me for what was lying ahead.
Very soon after Rowan was born, the lactation consultant was in my room giving me tips and advice on how to initiate breastfeeding. He was having a little trouble latching on, so throughout the rest of my hospital stay, the consultants were very attentive and would come by every so often to see how we were doing. Being a first-time mom, I wasn’t totally sure about what I was doing and, at times, felt some frustration and doubt. Not only did they have great advice, but they did such a great job of encouraging me and making me feel empowered while learning this new skill.
Rowan is now almost 3 months old and breastfeeding is like second nature to us now. I’m really enjoying this bonding time we have together. I am so glad I got the encouragement I needed right from the start.” – Lisa Yamanaka, wife of Chris Befort, RN – TMC-HH
Support for Nursing Employees: The Center for Human Services
“I discovered I was pregnant at the age of 40. I had one beautiful, healthy daughter at age 16, followed by a series of heartbreaking miscarriages that left me devastated and, according to experts, unable to become pregnant. So when I was told 20 years later that I was going to be starting all over, words can’t describe the mix of emotions. I was informed about the Harris Center by the WIC office and Birthright. The Harris Center was just what I needed when I needed them most. I was so worried about being able to breastfeed my baby at my “advanced” age and the support and reassurance I received from the Harris Center staff was incredible. Not only did they provide me with information and answered all my questions, but they were encouraging and accommodating as well. They are very “breastfeeding friendly” as they allow mothers to nurse their babies right in the classrooms or for the more shy (not me) they have a room where mothers can go for privacy. They are in full support of giving pumped breast milk to babies during their time at the center as well, which was a huge relief to me, as I nursed my daughter until she took herself off the breast and continued to pump and send milk to supplement her. I am not sure I would have made the decision to breastfeed, out of fear, if it had not been for the compassion, understanding, encouragement and support I received from the Harris Center staff.”
Sincerely, Jennifer Peace (employee and client)
Learn more at http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/