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…
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.
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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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.