First Person: Schools Don't Cut It For Breastfeeding Teachers

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Imagine planning 4 successful events for 120+ guests daily with their emotional states running the full gamut: enthused, insecure, energized, panicked, or, worst, apathetic.  Now imagine you don’t have the flexibility to step out for a coffee or even go use the restroom to reload/refocus in the middle of the day.  This was my life right out of college as a middle school English teacher.  The big myth about teaching is the amazing schedule: “But you have the summer off, that’s SO NICE, I have to work all year long.” A teacher can’t go to the bathroom without asking a colleague to step in for her. If you have a sick kid or need a last minute dentist appointment for a tooth ache, there’s no “I’ll just be in an hour late” when it comes to the classroom. As an unattached and generally flexible 22 year-old, this lack of flexibility wasn’t a big problem for me. Now, as a breastfeeding mother, I can hardly imagine returning to the classroom.

A recent report released by Ovia Health found that 64% of women make the decision to leave work before giving birth with 34% of women choosing not to come back. 70% of respondents cited the need for better breastfeeding support from their employers.  In order to reach their breastfeeding goals, working moms need the dedicated time and space required to express milk throughout their workday.  

Unfortunately, on top of rigid schedules, schools usually have limited available space. At my school, we had a small ‘room’ attached to our library that was meant for 1-1 remedial reading instruction for students below their grade level. This is where we had our mothers pump. It was ‘private’ but was definitely not dedicated or particularly hygienic. Teachers couldn’t use their classrooms as we all shared space (it was Science class when I wasn’t teaching) and every classroom had windows out to the hallway. The teachers’ lounge was crowded with our constantly-on-the-fritz copiers and fridge.

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Teachers love their work, love their students, but choosing between caring for your family or being successful at your job is an impossible choice. No one should have to make that choice. Solutions like our Mamava suite allow school administrators to easily implement a lactation workplace support, add space to their facility, and demonstrate their support for their mom-teachers.  

Mamava is committed to making sure that mamas, wherever they go, whatever their career, have everything they need to continue to breastfeeding.  Our pods help breastfeeding mothers reach their goals and help employers support their employees on the path to that goal.

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