You think a haunted house is scary? Try going back to work after baby. That is arguably the scariest, most intimidating day of any parent’s life. The sheer unknown of it all combined with the lack of simple yet necessary supports from employers makes “day one” a potential disaster. And, according to our on-going research through the It’s Working Project, one that leads to new parent attrition in high numbers.
And it is not getting better in terms of time or support. Or even in terms of curiosity on the part of the private sector — “hmmm, I wonder how we can make small, high-return investments in the name of supporting parents and course-correcting the challenges at hand?”. No, not that.
Assuming that the amount of parental leave is stagnant (for now) the answer to better support lies in the on and off-ramp policies and practices on the part of the private sector. Simply, how to set parents up for success white on parental leave and then again upon return? How to create and support a workplace culture and ethic that not only acknowledges and understands the off and on ramp but also takes pride in doing it well?
According to one of our favorite infographics, produced by the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, women are heading back to work sooner than ever before. This means that support needs to address the needs of all parents, including parents of the very young. With this comes the obvious need to support pumping of breast milk in the workplace. Lucky for the private sector and for employees, the answers are quite straightforward.
Consider these areas of inexpensive focus with high return for new, pumping mothers as outlined in our tools for HR Professionals. Note the low-cost, high-impact strategies that are designed to proactively cover the full spectrum of the relationship between and the needs of employer and parental employee. And the bonus -it is a great brand story well worth sharing. Here are a few of the things you can offer to help support new, nursing mothers in the workplace.
- Well-equipped pumping spaces
- Pumped milk shipping services
- Lactation support services to teach skills, problem solve and prepare for all circumstances (can you say airport security?)
- On-site peer support
- Secondary equipment (to reduce stress and strain, a “work pump”) including pumps, etc.
- Nursing wardrobe allowance
These basics go a long way, speak volumes and drive a shift in earnest. What have we missed? What do you have to support your pumping at work? Wish you had? Please share it with us here.
And of course, share your back to work with baby story with our It’s Working Project.