For one new mom, successful pumping at work meant finding a time and place to pump for her baby while working in a retail store alone.

Assistant manager Emily Edgington told Yahoo she was working at the Family Dollar in Mansfield, Ohio, when her breasts were full and she needed to pump for her daughter’s feeding.

The 23-year-old mother of 3-month-old baby Eliana decided to post a handwritten sign on the store’s glass doors. It read:

Sorry. Had to pump for baby and no one else is here. Be back in 30. Thanks.

Stopped at the dollar store and seen this…I'm sure there's gonna be at least one customer who complains, but I support…

Posted by Codey Burghard on Friday, February 1, 2019

The working mom said she was in a precarious situation. She recalled the incident:

“I had never had to close the store down to pump, and I never thought I would have to.

But my daughter’s health and being able to eat was my main concern. I wrote the sign, took a picture to show my manager, prayed to God that I wouldn’t get fired or written up for it, and stuck it up on the doors.”

Edgington decided to take matters into her own hands after being scheduled to work two five- to seven-hour shifts alone without a cashier on her second week back from maternity leave. The assistant manager said she was left alone feeling:

“Feverish, engorged, with sharp pains in [her] breasts and chest.”

Edgington wrote in a Facebook post about needing time to pump breast milk even though management didn’t staff appropriately to accommodate the new mother. She explained:

I had two choices … run back and forth to pump every couple of minutes to check out customers … OR lock the doors and pump as needed – uninterrupted, because that is my right.

Because any breastfeeding mother knows that pumping for a couple minutes, then running back and forth isn’t realistic …

Ultimately, she decided to close the store for 30 minutes.

Posted by Emily Edgington on Monday, December 24, 2018

A customer, who is a mom herself, came to the storefront during Edgington’s break and took a picture of the sign to share on Facebook.

Yet instead of complaining about the inconvenience caused by the store closing, Codey Burghard and fellow moms backed the store employee on social media. Burghard wrote:

Stopped at the dollar store and seen this … I’m sure there’s gonna be at least one customer who complains, but I support this 100% it’s not the employees fault at all, pumping at work is a right and employers can’t take that away. Even understaffed, moms gotta do what they gotta do.

Another commenter praised the working mom for her tough parenting decision. One person wrote:

I nursed my babies till they were over 1. She better not get in trouble either!! Babies have to eat to!

The Family Dollar corporation has not commented on the incident.

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Posted by Family Dollar on Monday, October 3, 2016

According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act workplace policy, lactating or breastfeeding women have the right to request a schedule modification without being demoted or fired.

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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3 Replies to “New Mom Had to Close Family Dollar to Pump at Work. Customers Say: ‘Moms Gotta Do What They Gotta Do’”

  • Ginger 2 years ago

    Good for her! My daughters job got upset because she had to stop & pump her milk out for her baby! They fired her but used another reason for firing her. I have no respect for that company anymore! I hope she still has her job! She did right by her child & herself!

  • Lance Merlin 2 years ago

    As a retail establishment – in the middle of the day? – there should always be at least one other employee on duty.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    My daughter-in-law works for Walgreens as a pharmacist. Often, she is the only pharmacist on duty, with the other employees who are pharmacy technicians. Only pharmacists can do certain things, like counsel patients and approve scripts. When she had to pump, there was no one to replace her. Luckily, she was able to manage it and still works there.

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