More than 75% of all teachers are women (and almost half are under the age of 40), but most schools don’t provide appropriate pumping accommodations for their breastfeeding employees. When Scary Mommy and Tommee Tippee sponsored a makeover for the "scariest pump room" in the country, who were the lucky winners? Two elementary school teachers.
All breastfeeding moms need support, but when breastfeeding mamas go back to work they need two very specific kinds of support: adequate break time and a clean, private space to pump.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months (and for 12 months or longer when possible). But the reality is that the majority of working mothers in America lack the support they need to continue breastfeeding. According to Ovia Health’s “Motherhood in America” report, 70% of moms want better breastfeeding support, and 29% of women don't feel supported at all by their employer.
Providing breastfeeding employees with a private place to pump is doing the right thing. But even more importantly, it’s also the best thing when it comes to recruiting and retaining female employees. The United States Office of Personnel Management found that employers who implement lactation workplace programs have a 94% retention rate of female employees, compared to the national average of 59%. In addition, workplaces that provide support for breastfeeding employees benefit from greater employee loyalty and improved overall morale. Supporting breastfeeding employees is a win for everyone by ensuring healthy babies, happy moms, and successful workplaces.
Schools support and celebrate student success, so it’s time they also supported and celebrated teachers. The school day is busy and teachers are even busier, but providing a dedicated space to pump signals that schools are fully committed to the wellbeing and wellness of all children from day one.