This is an example of a letter that you can give to your employer when discussing the arrangements for breastfeeding and working. Just select the text, copy it and paste it into a Word document. (If you want to be formal, use the company letterhead). Wherever there is something in [square brackets] you either need to insert you own information, or it is a comment from me that you can delete.
TO: [your boss or HR manager]
FROM: [your name]
RE: WORKING ARRANGEMENTS AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE
As you know, I will be taking maternity leave from [insert date]. Because I intend to breastfed my baby, and to continue breastfeeding after I return to work, I would like for us to agree in advance on the working arrangements for the time following my maternity leave.
Having worked for [company name] for [number] years, I have a great deal of loyalty to the company, and I know that the company is also looking out for the best interests of its employees. Allowing me the time and amenities that I would need in order to express breast milk at work would certainly be proof of this. However, I wonder if you have ever considered the many ways in which you as a company would benefit:
- It is a well-established fact that breastfed babies get sick less often than formula-fed babies. This means I will not need to take time off work to take a sick child to the doctor as often, which means that my productivity won’t be affected.
- Knowing that my child is receiving my own milk even while [s/he] is not with me would put my mind at ease and allow me to be more focused on my work.
- I would be very loyal to a company that supports me in something that is so important to me.
- I could use the time while I am expressing breast milk to read some information relating to my job, which would make me a more knowledgeable and capable employee.
Bearing this in mind, I request the following arrangements be made once I return from maternity leave:
- I need a space in which I can express breast milk for my baby. At the minimum, it would need a chair, an electricity outlet and a door that can be locked from the inside. [If you have a specific space in mind, mention it here. For example: I know that there is an empty storeroom on the second floor that could easily accommodate me]
- I need permission to store the breast milk in the office fridge. Breast milk is not a biologically hazardous fluid; it is classified as a foodstuff by the US FDA, and as such it is no more hazardous than regular cow’s milk. I am willing to store my breast milk inside a cooler bag in the fridge.
- I need time to express: Two 30 minute breaks per day. If I may quote from the Basic Conditions of Employment Act Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and After the Birth of a Child, section 5.13: Arrangements should be made for employees who are breast-feeding to have breaks of 30 minutes twice per day for breast-feeding or expressing milk each working day for the first six months of the child’s life.
I would be more than happy to meet with you so that we can discuss the particulars of the situation. If we can make all the arrangements before I go on maternity leave, it will ensure that things flow smoothly on my return to work.
Thank you in advance for your consideration
[your contact details]
I truly hope that this helps you to meet your own breastfeeding goals while working. Please let me know if you have found it helpful!