Congress has a ‘boob cube.’ Do you?

Babble.com reports that since 2006 Congress has added six lactation suites for members of Congress, aids and journalists to use.

“The one highlighted by The Seattle Times “the boob cube,” is a 12-by-10 room in the basement with frosted glass doors, equipped with an electronic combination lock, two hospital grade pumps, a mini-refridgerator, hand sanitizer and sterile wipes, comfy chairs, multiline phones, a TV (normally with C-SPAN), and power outlets for laptops.”

“The first lactation suite was put in place in 2006, but Nancy Pelosi has been a driving force in adding more and making them more mom-baby friendly to support the demands of both motherhood and career.”

Does your office offer a dedicated space for you to pump? Do they offer you time to pump? Do you think offices offer more amenities when women are in charge?

66 comments Add your comment

Spacey

December 20th, 2010
1:23 pm

This was HUGE at my workplace this year. There were 10 babies born since last December.
We have several female bosses, so yes, a space was made.
A cubical was set up inside a large office – it happened to be the office of one of the “bosses” that also had a baby.

Not to short change men because I think they realize this is important and not taboo, but it is probably easier to ask a female boss about it.
A female employer with a child would be the easiest!
I can’t believe they supply them with pumps. That is surprising. Most everyone I know has to buy their own or rent them. It is not cheap.
Great idea!

Michelle

December 20th, 2010
1:42 pm

Well, I’ve been gone awhile, but back for today! We are almost completely settled in VA Beach now! Whew…what a lot of work!

I think a lactation room is a great thing! When I worked for ADP, the medical department had an area just for mothers. It contained a sink, bed, chair, and refrigerator. The door locked for privacy. We would schedule mothers their own times to prevent overlapping and prevent the stress of having to hurry up.

At my last employer, it took quite a bit of “convincing” from me for them to allow an associate to pump without being penalized (even though it is the law)! They didn’t really have a room, so I let the gal use my office. It was a quiet/peaceful area and she had the benefit of my expertise if she had any questions! I just hope they continue that!

Women do not need a huge area, but it should be quiet without the possibility of interruption. The best way to pump, is when there is not a sense of urgency.

Stephanie

December 20th, 2010
1:51 pm

I was one of the few women in my office when I had my first child. I was given a key to a private storage closet to pump in. Honestly, I thought that was perfectly reasonable- it was roomy enough to put a chair in and had an outlet in it. While a pumping room would have been nice, it would have been a waste since I was likely going to be the only employee to need one, given the demographics of the other employees. My male bosses didnt care how often I took breaks to pump- I got the feeling that as long as they didnt have to discuss it with me, whatever I wanted to do was fine! :)

I think though if you do have a lot of females in their child-bearing years, that some sort of set aside space is nice, if an office can spare it. I was able to pump an entire year at work, which made me feel like I was able to do something good for my daughter even while I was not able to be with her during the day, and kept my supply up so that I could nurse her when at home.

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catlady

December 20th, 2010
7:15 pm

I was told I could sit on the toilet in a 3×5 bathroom (with the male and female teachers sitting outside) IF i could work it out when someone could be with my class. My, how times have changed since 1980 and 1985!

catlady

December 20th, 2010
7:22 pm

Michelle–”gal”?

catlady

December 20th, 2010
7:26 pm

Oh, and this was the toilet all the adults used (so time was of the essence) with very low light, no electric plug, and no ventilation. Needless to say, I didn’t pump. I would just leave asap and RUSH to the sitters, grab the baby, and sit and nurse! I felt like one of Mr. Lowman’s cows! I could see his dairy from my room and would sometimes gaze longingly at the cows heading up to the barn.

irisheyes

December 20th, 2010
8:15 pm

Nope. I’ll get my classroom if I can use it when my kids are at lunch (that’s provided my admin will help with my lunch coverage since I technically don’t get a lunch). Of course, I need to make sure that the door is locked and the window is covered too!

TinaTeach

December 20th, 2010
8:33 pm

I was allowed my planning period and my lunch. I could use my classroom. When I first got back I was able to get other teachers to cover occassionally if I was leaking badly but other than that I was pretty limited to my time. It didn’t help that it took forever to pump.

motherjanegoose

December 20th, 2010
8:40 pm

I worked half day and did not pump, while at work. I too rushed to the babies and grabbed them quickly. I used one of those syringe pumpers…do they still have them? Never had the luxury of an electric one. My neighbor lent me a battery operated one but it did not work for me.

mom of 3

December 21st, 2010
7:40 am

No comment today only bottle babies in my life and yes the 3 turned out healthy too.

MomOf2Girls

December 21st, 2010
8:08 am

First baby, there was no room set up. I had to use a conference room (no lock on the door). I put a sign on the door and hoped for the best. I never was walked in on, but that was only because I was quick to holler when someone started to come in. By the second baby, there was a really nice room with several loveseats / comfy chairs in it because one of the execs had a baby and finally realized what I was talking about.

I don’t know about where I am now – had both babies at the old employer. In fact, feeling a bit old this morning – we submitted my daughter’s app for H.S. yesterday (private school that required a more comprehensive app than most colleges!).

jarvis

December 21st, 2010
8:10 am

We have a working situation for the moms. The lactation room remains locked at all times, and keys are given to the pumping mothers only. This gives them the needed privacy and cuts down on accidental embarrassing moments.

PHR

December 21st, 2010
8:18 am

At my former job they had at least 2 lactation rooms. They contained a desk, chair, phone, and plugs. There was a schedule since there were multiple moms using it. There was a lock on the door. At my current job the moms have to use the bathroom stalls. I think that is horrible. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. One girl decided to put a shower curtain on her cube door and did it there. That was bizarre.

RJ

December 21st, 2010
8:26 am

I was able to do it in my storage room during my planning period. I was lucky. I doubt that a teacher in my current school would be able to do it because they only get a planning period once a week. Well until second semester, then they don’t get one at all – CRCT prep! Lunch lasts about 20 minutes. That’s not enough time.

Michelle

December 21st, 2010
8:28 am

Catlady…yep “gal”. Just slang I guess?! Have you never used that term? LOL! You know, “guys and gals?”

I pumped with my little guy. I had my own office where I could lock the door. Unfortunately, it was stressful. People would knock on the door, or stand outside talking. Within a week, that was it for me!

Mrs. G

December 21st, 2010
8:30 am

I honestly don’t know. Since I’ve been at my current job, no one has had a baby. I don’t know where the lactation room would be; I work in a small office that consists mainly of cubicles (which is what I have), offices (with sliding glass doors) for the salespeople and executives, and conference rooms (with sliding glass doors). The only private place (other than the restroom) would be the supply closet, I think, and who knows if there is a plug in there and if it would even be comfortable.

On a funny note, at my old job, my colleague (early 30s male) was given the task of asking people to brainstorm improvements for the workplace. He went from lab to lab and asked people what they would want. When he got to me, he was like, “Some ideas that have already been thrown out are a lactating room…” and I just kind of looked at him. He was like, “What?!” and I asked if the room actually lactated, like from the walls or something. I advised that he change it from “lactating” to “lactation” before he mentioned it to upper management. :)

Michelle

December 21st, 2010
8:30 am

MJG, yes, they still have those type of pumps. They are very difficult to use! I have seen a manual one that is MUCH easier!

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
8:40 am

HEY Michelle! Shoot me an e-mail with your new contact info. I had a 2 hour lunch with catlady yesterday and we had fun. No prospects to getting to your area any time soon but who knows?

I got very good at pumping quickly with those little syringe pumps but that is WAY behind me now :0

FCM

December 21st, 2010
9:23 am

Your office does not owe you a place to pump. Period. If you choose to breast feed then you should have a plan to make it happen. I, my children, or others should not have to see it or deal with it…

There was a woman at church with a 2 week old Sunday. For some reason she felt the Narthex couch was the right place to breast feed. We have a lovely parlor …nice quiet calm place right off the ladies room just for this purpose. It has lovely furniture much better then the couch.

My point is the lacting practicioners don’t gave a rats tail if there is a spot designated for them or not. They simply want to do there thing and the rest of us to just deal.

Yeah, you can slam me I don’t care. I have said before that certain subjects….like breast feeding vs not breast feeding need to be dropped from our topics. Neither side will ever give an inch on their stance.

The rest of my family are Leche League members and mentors. I am not.

FCM

December 21st, 2010
9:24 am

there thing = their thing.

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
9:25 am

Whew…FCM do you need a cookie?

TinaTeach

December 21st, 2010
9:33 am

Grouchy much FCM? Unfortuantely, for you, the law is on the side of the lactating moms. As long as they are careful and don’t expose themselves too much they can do as they please.

FCM

December 21st, 2010
9:33 am

NO MJG nor do I need a nap.

As I said I wish we would drop this topic from the lexicon. Like Mom of 3 my two turned out healthy and were bottle babies. They did not have pacifiers and were weaned from the bottle on their 1st birthday with no regression.

I have never supported the Leche movement of public nursing nor do I think I will start. Some things do not need to be shared. Yes it is natural, so is defacating but I don’t suggest we do that in public either.

LM

December 21st, 2010
9:35 am

I used to pump in the ladies room down the hall. There were several offices on the floor so there was no privacy, the room was dim and the only seating was a broken chair or in a stall. I rented a dual pump, it was the only splurge and felt I could afford it at the time since I was washing diapers and was not paying for them. I stored the milk in the office fridge in a cooler.

One funny was since I rented the pump I took it back and forth to work every day. One evening when I got into the elevator one of the guys asked if it was a boom box. With a very straight face and in a loud clear voice I said “no, it’s a breast pump”. He turned several shades of red, several of the women gave me smiles, one giggled.

Several years later I was applying for a job with GE, when I went into interview after looking over my resume the lady commented about the location of a former job. Turnes out she was on the same floor, then she mentioned how much nicer the new location for GE was and went into detail about at the old location some woman had to pump in the bathroom. She was surprised when she found out it was me she was talking about, and no I didn’t get the job.

FCM

December 21st, 2010
9:36 am

TinaTeach I do not have to agree with the laws…I have to abide by them. Remember studying Prohibition?

the truth hurts

December 21st, 2010
9:36 am

Breastfeeding like taking a dump is a very natural process that should be done in a designated area.

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
9:46 am

FCM….well, I am almost always up for a nap even when I am not in a bad mood about something.
Maybe a cookie too!

@ the truth….is this why we HAVE restrooms, so things can be done in a designated area?
Perhaps some folks do see the need for a boob cube…a designated area for a natural body function. Who knows?

the truth hurts

December 21st, 2010
9:57 am

That was my point motherjane. Guess I didn’t make my point very well. Boob cube is needed.

bunch of yentas

December 21st, 2010
9:58 am

A woman I know recently breast fed her very big baby in the middle of a christmas party. There were at least 20 people in the room and none of them looked comfortable with what she was doing. One lady who was sitting rright next to her, turned her head intentionally away for the duration. Afterwards, the breast feeding mother exchanged words with the lady, accusing her of being rude to turn away like that. All in all, very uncomfortable.

FCM

December 21st, 2010
10:01 am

MJG…I thought about it…if you just made Christmas cookies then sure!

“A little consideration and a little thought for others makes all the difference. If not a chocolate chip cookie or two just might!” — Winnie the Pooh

You cannot just defecate where you want and you should not be allowed to just breast feed where you want. As I pointed out we have a lovely parlor…couches, chairs, sky lights….access to the bathroom but not IN the bathroom and the lacting moms don’t use it. They don’t even use the nursery they just sit where everyone is wondering around.

SO I get fined if I defecate in a non designated place (also have to register as a sex offender since it is “public indency as well”) IF we have a desginated Boob Cube and a lacting mom doesn’t use it can we charge her the same?

the truth hurts

December 21st, 2010
10:01 am

What kind of sh*tty Christmas party has babies at them?

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
10:02 am

O.K…..good…I am now on my second cup of coffee and might be more alert :)

There were times that I breastfed mine in public but had a blanket covering everything.

We had a missionary once tell us ( at church) that he had preached a sermon while women were sitting in the front row breastfeeding with everything in plain view. He was sharing how the things we do and expect in America are not the same as in other countries.

jarvis

December 21st, 2010
10:02 am

OK FCM, now I’m confused. Are you for, or against the lactation rooms?
You seem to be speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

FCM

December 21st, 2010
10:19 am

I am against it but if the public insists that we have them can we enforce their use?

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
10:21 am

@ bunch…now THAT is a topic that will get my dander up. I LOVE kids, I work with kids but there are some places kids do not belong. Many parents tote their kids to every venue and expect everyone else to be enamored (sp?) with them. Sometimes the kids ruin the venue for the adults.

My husband and I ate out around 8:00 p.m. for our December anniversary at a nice restaurant several years ago. There was a large party near us with several children under 5. The children were running amok and the servers were carrying extended trays of food….dodging the kids. I saw their seats and the parents were engaged with the other adults and not even watching them.

What do you think would have happened if a pot of HOT coffee spilled on the children and burned them. Whose fault would that really be and who would be screaming at whom?

I walked over and tapped the Dad on the shoulder, “Perhaps you need to keep an eye on these children as they could get hurt…they are scampering around the servers who are carrying hot trays of food.” He GLARES at me and then his wife ( of course it was her fault right?).

I told the server what I did. He profusely thanked me as he was afraid to say anything or risk losing his tip. WHAT WERE THESE PARENTS THINKING?

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
10:24 am

Oh yes, I am in the minority here but I think kids ( under 5) do not belong in nice adult restaurants after 8:00 p.m. They need to be getting ready for bed :0 I have talked to way too many teachers who are tired of cranky toddlers who tag along to grown up venues with their parents all week long.

LM

December 21st, 2010
10:41 am

MJG this weekend my husband and I were making a late night run to the store for wrapping paper and other odds and ends. We were in the back of the store and I could hear a child screaming. The screams were like nails on a chalkboard but they didn’t stop. As I continued to shop, making my way towards the front of the store I saw this little boy, under 5 y/o running around the store while several adults were talking. I was cringing everything this kid would scream and could only imagin what the store employees were going through. It was after 10 pm, what was that child doing running around the store he should have been in bed.

dd

December 21st, 2010
11:03 am

MJG – Like you, it irks me more than anything to pay top $$ for a meal and have it ruined by a bunch of kids or one really bad kid. Some people these days just don’t have any respect for others and think their little darlings are just that and feel everyone else should as well. Parents reading this blog, take your kids to kid friendly restaurants until they’re at least tweens please. We don’t get as much of a kick out of them running around as you do.

Warrior Woman

December 21st, 2010
11:13 am

@FCM – Do you lock yourself away in a lounge off the bathroom to eat? Do you expect babies feed from a bottle to be limited to that bathroom lounge? If the answer to either of those questions is “No,” then don’t expect nursing babies to be treated that way. There is no analogy between defacating and nursing. The proper analogy is between eating and nursing, since that’s what nursing is.

At my old job, we had both lactation rooms and on-site childcare, so nursing or pumping was not a problem. At my current job, we have neither, but there is generally some reasonable accommodation made, such as use of office or conference room. It’s not something that employees are “owed” but it does help keep valuable staff members after childbirth.

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
11:17 am

@dd…I saw a post once for a list of restaurants that offered KIDS EAT FREE.

I laughingly told my husband…HOORAH WE KNOW WHICH PLACES TO AVOID.

We ate somewhere last week, and the poor server had to vacuum under the table as the kids had thrown so much food on the floor and the parents just left it and walked out.

I ALWAYS stop by tables where the kids are behaving nicely and compliment the parents profusely. If there are other obnoxious kids are nearby tables…I TALK VERY LOUD….LOL.

My husband has picked up on this too!

catlady and I rehashed our stance yesterday, WHAT ARE THESE PARENTS THINKING?

wtf?

December 21st, 2010
11:23 am

Boob cube sounds great, anywhere but in public. I think we’ve seen just about enough of that as a society right?

Down with the ‘blanket squad’ as in ……I was covered by a nice blanket as my 54 month year old got his nutrition from my loving bosom….spare me please……To the boob cube! great idea!

wtf?

December 21st, 2010
11:30 am

After reading more post today, i have one more observation. If pumping is so stressful/hard to do/ inconvenient at work but it’s also soooo important for your kids, why don’t you stay home and take care of your kid and spare the rest of the wrokplace all the uncomfortablness, lack of production, and creepiness?

motherjanegoose

December 21st, 2010
11:34 am

@wtf….if all women stayed out of the workforce ( as some would have it) …things would be interesting…

been to the hospital, pharmacy, school, grocery store, library, airport, mall, dry cleaners, dentist much?

We visited an historic salmon cannery in Washington state about 10 years ago. In the early 1900’s women tied their babies to their backs and stood up working for 10-12 hours per day, while their babies hung on their backs. Things have come a long way.

LM

December 21st, 2010
12:04 pm

@wtf… if I stayed home so not to offend you senses, I would have been on the goverment dole. I figured I was being responsible and productive. I thought some of the comments were funny, as to what we as mothers do for I kids.

LM

December 21st, 2010
12:05 pm

for our kids… my goof

mom2alex&max

December 21st, 2010
12:29 pm

To FCM: fortunately for us, the law says that everywhere I have the right to BE I have the right to nurse. Now, *I* never did it in public, but I am not about to slam someone that does it. So yes, YOU have to deal with it. Also, the law says that employers MUST make reasonable accommodations: a private room AND breaks for a mother to pump.

To wtf: you sir, are a Neanderthal. To use another acronym, why don’t you STFU?

catlady

December 21st, 2010
12:39 pm

Breastfeeding in public bothers me no more than bottlefeeding in public. Better either of those than to hear the baby scream! It’s great if your child is on a schedule where they don’t have to eat except when they are at home, but for most women that doesn’t happen.

I nursed in public occasionally if I had to, using a lightweight blanket (no use smothering the kid). If there was a quiet room, I went there, but I refused to nurse in a nasty public bathroom! My mom got offended once when we were in a restaurant, so I unlatched the baby and handed him to her. He howled, and she handed him right back and never mentioned it again. I always thought it was from jealousy, because she did not successfully nurse me. Maybe she thought a nursing breast was sexually alluring?

Now, I am not in favor at all of nursing, in public or otherwise, a child who is old enough to ASK FOR IT, as I had a friend do with both of hers–until they were 4 or 5 years old. I don’t want to see a kid walk up, raise his mother’s blouse, and latch on like a gasoline pump! Babies who are not old enough to be weaned, however, get a pass with me. JMHO.

JJ

December 21st, 2010
12:49 pm

I think Breast feeding is one of the most natural and beautiful things a woman can do. It does not bother me at all to see a woman feeding/nurturing/caring for her child. I saw a woman at Ruby Tuesday breast feeding her child during dinner. Why not, everyone else is eating, and that baby is a part of the family. She was very discreet with it, but I still think it’s a beautiful, natural thing to do. That’s what our breasts are for anyway, right?

Does it disgust you to watch an animal feed their young?

wtf?

December 21st, 2010
12:54 pm

mom2alex&max – as with your right to whip out your udders in public, that’s fine. I too have a right to criticize this practice.

The breast feeding cause out there could take a lesson in marketing. Why use the ‘in your face’ tactic when it comes to public breast feeding? Why are the biggest propononets the ones who still breastfeed their 5 year olds? If the whole lot of oyu would use a little more tact, nobody would have a problem. If it makes someone uncomfortable, don’t do it. period. You have the right sure, but have some couth as well for christ’s sake.

Until then, I will continue to do my best to poont out my and others displeasure with your actions.