Let’s talk about accountability, both personal and professional.

The Affordable Care Act set up certain protections for most working moms who pump to provide milk for their babies. Some states have set up additional guidelines.

Finally, some of us are blessed to have employers who have their own guidelines to make working and pumping easier on new moms. These employers go the extra mile, and those of us working for them are incredibly blessed.

None of that does anything to mitigate the personal struggle we feel at being pulled in different directions as moms. What happens, for instance, when your employer is one of the incredibly supportive ones and is willing to work with whatever you need, but your own sense of obligation makes it hard to pull away from your job to take care of your other job: feeding your baby?

That’s what my sister’s dealing with right now. We work in very different job settings, so I’ve never felt the daily struggle she has trying to balance patient care with personal responsibility to feed the baby and not get mastitis.

She’s asked in Facebook groups and, as it turns out, lots of other moms feel the same way and have ideas, but for each tip she’s gotten, at least 3 other moms have said “Me too, but I don’t know what to do!”

The best tip so far? “My employer’s not going to pay for formula if I destroy my supply.”

Indeed. But what if you still want to be a team player?

My latest suggestion was to actually book set times like you would any other meeting, and then stick to them.

This isn’t a novel idea – I’ve seen it suggested so many places. It makes sense to do this if you have other people relying on you, and if you want to treat milk making as the serious job that it is.

On top of this, in the spirit of being a team player and also holding herself accountable, I suggested drafting a letter to provide to those she works most closely with.

The letter should let others know exactly when each day she’ll be unavailable so they can plan accordingly. Since they know and they’re counting on it, I’m hoping it’ll also make it easier/more pressing for her to stick to her schedule as well.

Here’s a draft of the letter, in case something like this will help you too:

I have appreciated all the support I’ve received from management and coworkers as I work to provide milk for my baby.

Since we all work so closely together and I need to be as available as possible to expedite patient care, I wanted to make everyone I work with aware of my pump schedule. I will be temporarily unavailable roughly [insert time] minutes during the following times each day:

  • [List your pump times].

I will have my phone with me during these times. Please feel free to text or call [insert phone number] with questions.

Image by Amanda Randolph from Pixabay