Tag Archives: work

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Photo Friday: 3 months!

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Back at work after maternity leave

It’s weird to be back, but I’ll say this – it’s a lot easier than being at home and rushing around all day. I can eat whenever I want, pee whenever I want. Only thing was I cannot do is see my boy whenever I want and that sucks.

The thing I thought would be most difficult was picking up the work and getting into the groove, but I was wrong. That was surprisingly easy. I went through my emails and found what still needed to be done, started approving things immediately and felt right as rain. The hardest part was leaving the house. Waking up at 6, feeding JT, changing JT, pumping, getting hair  and makeup done, packing a lunch, eating breakfast, dressing and now I’m late for work! I got home at 6 and put my son to bed at 8, so he got to see me for 2 hours. That sucks!!

Nine months of yuck followed by 18 hours of hell for 2 hours a day!

 

Don’t call your doctor from work

I just called the hospital to register for the delivery. I called from work and I sit in an open office environment where everybody can hear everything. So when she asked is this VAGINAL or C-SECTION, I had to tell her, my employees and everybody else around me that it was VAGINAL.

And the woman at the hospital didn’t find it nearly as funny as me.

Breastfeeding Laws

Here is the latest on when, where and how you can breastfeed taken directly and without change from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Note that in Florida you can breast feed in public but have no rights defined for work. So I can breastfeed at work, but not pump – that’s helpful!
Updated March 2010

Resources

Health professionals and public health officials promote breastfeeding to improve infant health. Both mothers and children benefit from breast milk.  Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from bacteria and viruses.  Breastfed children have fewer ear infections, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections and have diarrhea less often.  Infants who are exclusively breastfed tend to need fewer health care visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations resulting in a lower total medical care cost compared to never-breastfed infants.  Breastfeeding also provides long-term preventative effects for the mother, including an earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight and a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 70 percent of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after birth, but less than 20 percent of those moms are breastfeeding exclusively six months later. It is a national goal to increase the proportion of mothers who breastfeed their babies in the early postpartum period to 75 percent by the year 2010.

Federal Health Reform and Nursing Mothers

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, on March 23rd and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, H.R. 4872, on March 30, 2010. (See the combined full text of Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152 here.)  Among many provisions, Section 4207 of the law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.Code 207) to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk.  The employer is not required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time for any work time spent for such purpose.  The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.  If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs less than 50 employees is not subject to these requirements.  Furthermore, these requirements shall not preempt a state law that provides greater protections to employees.

State Breastfeeding Laws

  • Forty-four states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming).
  • Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming).
  • Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming).
  • Twelve states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty (California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia).
  • Five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont).

Several states have unique laws related to breastfeeding. For instance,

  • The state of Virginia allows women to breastfeed on any land or property owned by the state.  Puerto Rico requires shopping malls, airports, public service government centers and other select locations to have accessible areas designed for breastfeeding and diaper changing that are not bathrooms.
  • At least two states have laws related to child care facilities and breastfeeding. Louisiana prohibits any child care facility from discriminating against breastfed babies. Mississippi requires licensed child care facilities to provide breastfeeding mothers with a sanitary place that is not a toilet stall to breastfeed their children or express milk, to provide a refrigerator to store expressed milk, to train staff in the safe and proper storage and handling of human milk, and to display breastfeeding promotion information to the clients of the facility.
  • California requires the Department of Public Health to develop a training course of hospital policies and recommendations that promote exclusive breastfeeding and specify staff for whom this model training is appropriate.  The recommendation is targeted at hospitals with patients who ranked in the lowest twenty-five percent of the state for exclusive breastfeeding rates.
  • Maryland exempts the sale of tangible personal property that is manufactured for the purpose of initiating, supporting or sustaining breastfeeding from the sales and use tax.
  • California, New York and Texas have laws related to the procurement, processing, distribution or use of human milk.
  • New York created a Breastfeeding Mothers Bill of Rights, which is required to be posted in maternal health care facilities.

Holding it all in at work

The hardest part of pregnancy is probably not something that you might have expected. It’s not the stretch marks (none yet thank god) or the weight gain, the lack of sleep and alcohol and sushi, or the influx of hormones – I’m starting to bum myself out here – its work. The place you spend more time than any other. Chances are that you’re the only pregnant person in the office and while you’re coworkers might seem pleased for you – they probably don’t want to hear about it. And that’s the hard part – it’s what you want to talk about. You carry around 20 extra pounds every day, spend 20 minutes more trying to figure out what you can wear that is comfortable and professional; try not to belch, breathe heavy, throw up or sweat to death at your desk while your insides are squished and kicked and your cubicle neighbor orders food that smells like 3-month old scrambled eggs and yet talking about it more than once a day is a big no-no.

So what do you do?
1. Sign up for BabyCenter daily updates (to be delivered to your phone, not work).  This will help you to feel like you’re not the only working pregnant woman out there (even though it may feel that way with all prenatal yoga classes being held at 11 am on Fridays)

2. Keep a blog, or a journal. It feels better to get stuff out, even if no one is listening.

3. Rely on your husband (partner, whatever) – text him, send him emails. This is the burden he carries – you schlep the 20 pounds, he schleps your anxiety!

4. Learn to bottle your feelings. Ok, this is probably not a good idea, but there maybe an inkling of good in the statement. You’re excited now; imagine how you’ll feel when the baby finally gets here! And sharing each tiny yawn through photos and videos is still taboo. And they wonder why mothers have such a hard time going back to work after giving birth!

5. Read this article from The Onion every day: “Pregnant-woman-acting-like-no-one-ever-got-pregnant before.”

The power of positivity and good friends

Here’s the most obvious statement in the world: having friends can get you through anything.

There are times when your family, who may always be there for you ordinarily, can really let you down and all it takes to get through it is one good friend to listen. I am really close to my sister in law; I would say she’s my best friend. She always listens to me when I have a problem and luckily for me she had a baby three months ago. Because of this little girl and all of the children born recently to my friends, I don’t feel quite so lost! Yes, I am a little afraid of the pads and numbing spray they are all recommending, but if not for them, I would have no idea I was normal after the birth!

After 9/11 a guy in Australia decided to hand out free hugs in a mall. At first people ignored him, but then, slowly people started to come around. Before you know it, others were giving away free hugs too. Of course, this kind of spreading love can’t be legal and sure enough, they were shut down for not having permits. They collected something like 20,000 signatures on petitions and were reinstated as huggers shortly after. The power of positive connections can overcome the law!

I have friends that have no interest in babies and I have friends that put their kids on the phone with me like it or not. And I am so extremely grateful for all of them. Those people without babies keep me on track to stay my own person. And that’s good – I think I’m a pretty fun and good person in my own right, without being a mother. My baby loving friends help me to understand how my life is about to change entirely. And that’s good too because I was scared of that: changing and losing my identity. But having both sets of friends makes me realize that there is a very very happy medium and that’s my future!

So, today, in the midst of your chaos, your diapers, your paperwork, take a moment and hug someone. A coworker, your husband, the first friend you see. Tell them you’re proud of them, tell the you’re proud to be their friend, tell them you’re simply happy to know them.

7 things you shouldn’t say when a friend tells you she’s pregnant

1. “I knew it, you look bigger”/ “I could tell” “Thank God, I thought you were getting fat” (or any variation).
My friend said this to me and the last time I had seen her, I wasn’t pregnant. If someone should ask you to guess their news, never guess this; even if you know she’s trying, it would be very painful for her if you’re wrong.

2. “Wow, do you think that’s a good idea?”
No matter what you think of your friend’s relationship or her ability to be a good mother, your opinion will come back to bite you.

3. Don’t touch her belly.
Chances are, she’s not very far along so she will just feel kind of chubby. You wouldn’t want your belly rubbed after a chicken vindaloo or a meatball sub, so don’t do it now.

4. Don’t spew the scary stories.
A friend that recently had a healthy baby started telling me about cerebral palsy. I stopped her half way through to ask where this was going… I was hoping for some weird twist allowing a happy ending, but there was none coming.

5. Is your partner excited?
What’s the answer you’re hoping for here?

6. Don’t ask if you can post it on Facebook.
It’s not your news

7. Don’t ask if she’s told so and so.
It’s not a competition. There were certain people I knew I should tell first (parents, siblings) and then people I knew I had to tell so that they wouldn’t hear it through the grapevine (like friends that were trying and having fertility issues). One of my coworkers asked when I would tell my parents – did she really think I would tell coworkers before my parents?

What did people say to you when you revealed?