Monday, July 6, 2015

Undercover Boss: Managing Breastfeeding and Work

Laws regarding pumping in the workplace:
  •  When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 it amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide more support for women returning to work and wishing to continue breastfeeding (United States Department of Labor, 2015).

  • Employers need to provide space other than a bathroom; that is free from intrusion and shielded from view of the public and coworkers for nonexempt (hourly) employees (United States Department of Labor, 2015).

**Legally it does not have to be a permanent space dedicated to lactation but a clean space meeting the above criteria needs to be provided.

·         Moms pump in various places depending on their type of work and their schedule, some places include but are not limited to:
o   Designated lactation room
o   Personal car
o   Empty conference room or office space (may change from day to day depending on availability)
o   Empty classroom
o   Cleared storage closets
o   Home (for those who work from home)

·         Employers must also accommodate mothers and provide “reasonable” break time in order for the mother to express breast milk until their infant is 1 year old. 

      Companies with less than 50 employees may file an exemption due to undue hardship but they would have to prove that the breaks the mother is taking will be a financial burden on the company (United States Department of Labor, 2015).Ways to accommodate a room if one is not specified for lactation:

o   Place a curtain and rod in front of windows or in a corner to make a private space.
o   Hang a sign on the door “pumping in session”
o   Use a nursing cover while pumping in the car

More about Pumping and Employment can be found at, a great resource with great information!

Has your place of work made appropriate accommodations? If you are not covered by the federal law you may be covered by state laws, contact the Lehigh Valley Breastfeeding Coalition; they can help you talk to an employer about becoming compliant at little or no cost. The coalition can speak on your behalf and work with your employer to meet FLSA standards. Visit to find helpful information for employers!

You can also call The US Department of Labor, Wage and Hours Division, at the toll-free WHD number 1-800-487-9243. You will be directed to your nearest office and they can help with enforcement of the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law to make sure you are receiving the time you need to express milk.

Why is it good for your employer to support breastfeeding mothers?
  •  Statistically breastfed children are sick less often which means you miss less days of work. One day absences to care for sick children happen twice as often for formula fed infants.
  • Women are the fastest growing division in the work force and almost ¾ of women in the work force have children under the age of three.
  •  Breastfeeding reduces medical costs for mother and baby.
  •  Supporting breastfeeding drastically increases retention rates.
  • Employers are eligible for tax credits based on them having a breastfeeding friendly work environment.

(Rush, 2014)

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your pump? Ways to RELAX and maximize your pumping session:
·         Keep a picture of your baby in your pump bag
·         Keep a piece of clothing that smells like your child with you while pumping
·         Have a video on your phone of your baby crying or laughing to listen to while pumping
·         Listen to soothing music or distract yourself with an activity
·         Use imagery, imagine yourself playing with your child or holding your child.

Tips for pumping:
·         Stay hydrated!
·         Eat a well-balanced diet; breastfeeding moms need an additional 300-500 calories!
·         Know your flange size; a decrease in milk production could be caused by flanges that are too big or too small.
·         If your nipples hurt, the pump pressure may be too high, pumping should not be painful. Some lanolin cream or oil can be applied to nipples during pumping sessions if nipples are sore.
·         Wear a pumping bra or cut holes in a sports bra over the nipples to hold flanges in place so your hands will be free.
·         Adjusting the pressure throughout a session can initiate another let down and increase output.
·         Hand expression can often times have better results than an electric pump, if your body is not responding to the pump try some breast massage and hand expression. Video on hand expression:
Tear sheet from LLL on hand expression:

Know you flange size!

Try not to stress about the quantity that you are pumping. Breastfed babies generally eat less per feed then formula fed babies; your body will produce what your child needs (think: supply and demand). A pump is also not a good indicator of your actual supply, a well latched baby is always better than any pump. Stressing about the quantity of milk being pumped can inhibit the release of oxytocin which subsequently prevents the milk let down.

Explore the FAQ page and articles from New Beginnings, the bimonthly publication from LLL USA regarding breastfeeding and pumping at work: 

See the FAQ page on the LVBC website for additional sources and information regarding pumping and employment, pumping tips, and pump maintenance:

Contributed by Jennifer Abdul-Rahman, LLL leader of Lehigh County


Rush, C. (2014). The benefits of workplace support for breastfeeding. 1 Million for Work Flexibility. Retrieved from

United States Department of Labor. (2015). Break time for nursing mothers. Wage and Hour Division. Retrieved from

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What to expect at a meeting

Many mothers have expressed reservations about attending a LLL meeting for various reasons. We would just like to clear the air and tell everyone what really goes on at a meeting. 

When you attend an LLL meeting you will see a melting pot of mothers. Women of different races, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and religions. Working mothers and stay at home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Some are a little crunchier or more granola than others. We all nurse(d) our infants or toddlers for different lengths of time. We are all diverse but have the same goal, doing what is best for our children.

We always say at the beginning of meetings, you may hear a lot of information and opinions, but take home what works best for you and your family and leave the rest. We encourage mothers to bring their children to meetings and care for them however they need to, whether it is changing diapers, feeding from the breast or a bottle, with or without a cover. After all, they are half of the equation in the mother-child relationship.

There are many preconceived notions about what La Leche League meetings are and are not. We are not breastfeeding Nazis. We support mothers in their breastfeeding journey where ever they are at and for as long is mutually desired by infant and mother. Whether you are pumping and feeding from a bottle but want to nurse from the breast, supplementing with formula, using an SNS, nipple shield, or dropper, we are here to help you. We are not hippies that walk around topless breastfeeding toddlers, we are everyday women doing everyday things. We do not cater to only stay at home moms, in fact all of our leaders work in some capacity and the majority of our members go back to work at some point. The fact that our leaders do work or have worked while breastfeeding children makes it that much easier for them to relate to and provide support for mothers who are returning to work and need to know how to manage breastfeeding at work. 

We encourage women who are pregnant to come to meetings as well, you can never be too prepared and it is never too early to start thinking about breastfeeding. 

We provide information, support, and education based on our own extensive experiences and through peer reviewed and evidenced based practice. We strive to supply mothers with information regarding current best practice for infants. We support the biological need for infants to be close to their mothers and we encourage breastfeeding as the biological norm. 

Many women feel they do not need LLL because they do not have any trouble breastfeeding. LLL is not just about helping women who are having difficulties breastfeeding but also building a support system within our community for breastfeeding mothers and finding camaraderie in breastfeeding. It is an open space to share experiences, good or bad, and not be judged. It is a place to openly express your feelings and concerns. Our meetings are completely free and we encourage mothers of all walks of life to come and share your own experiences and learn from others. Even if you feel that you do not have anything to gain from a meeting you may have experiences and knowledge to share that could greatly help another mother who is struggling.

It takes a village to raise a baby and in this day and age we are not all blessed with a village, or anything close to it, we need to go out and find our own village and create our own support system. 

Where do you get your breastfeeding information?

The Internet is any extremely useful resource; it is at the tips of our fingers, we have constant access, and above all, it is convenient. It can, howeve,r be overwhelming especially in the early days of mothering a newborn. In these early days you may be wondering, Is my baby gaining enough weight? How much and how often should he nurse? Do I have enough milk? Is his poop supposed to be that color?! 

It is convenient to take out our phones and have immediate access to Facebook and online forums to voice our concerns.  When posing questions online or simply searching for information we are inundated with many different opinions, resources, scientific evidence, and research studies. It is time consuming to navigate the sea of information on the Internet. As a new mother or even with subsequent children you know how precious time is. You may ask yourself Is this a reliable source? What experience does this person have? Which study is accurate? What information is most important?  

As La Leche League leaders, we are trained to decipher information, recognize reliable sources, and establish which scientific evidence and studies are most beneficial and accurate. We are trained in how to counsel women along their breastfeeding journey. We have extensive training and real life experience under our belts, or in this case, bras! We are very much involved with breastfeeding advocacy in the community and we have access to resources in the community to refer mothers in cases beyond our scope of practice. 

Our goal is not to give you advice and the mantra of “what worked for me, will work for you” does not apply. Our goal is to educate, inform, support, encourage and promote a healthy breastfeeding relationship for mother and child. We strive to assist women in finding a solution that works best for them and their family by providing factual based evidence and suggestions that have worked for most mothers as well as current best practice. Just because a technique worked for one person does not mean that it will work for another, nor is it the option that may be best suited for you and your child.

While the internet can be a useful resource it can also be a stressor and a hindrance on your breastfeeding journey. I encourage all mothers to be cognizant of where you obtain your information and really consider, Do I trust the person that is giving me advice? Do they have my best interest in mind? Is this what is best for me and my child? Is this a reliable and factual source? Does this person have the expertise and training to determine my needs and find a solution?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

La Leche League Philosophy

La Leche League Philosophy

The basic philosophy of La Leche League is summarized in the following statements:

  • Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
  • Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.
  • In the early years the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.
  • Human milk is the natural food for babies, uniquely meeting their changing needs.
  • For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.
  • Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.
  • Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
  • Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby's father. A father's unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child's development from early infancy.
  • Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
  • From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.
  • The ideals and principles of mothering which are the foundation of LLLI beliefs are further developed in THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, the most comprehensive handbook on breastfeeding and parenting ever published. It has provided needed answers to three generations of nursing mothers on every aspect of breastfeeding.
    (From LLLI publication No. 300-17, "La Leche League Purpose and Philosophy.")Wednesday, July 19, 2006 12:46 PM by sjs.