IBM makes it eas­ier for nurs­ing moms with rooms, ship­ping ser­vice

What does IBM’s moth­ers’ room have that makes me so jeal­ous?

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN 360 LIFE - Ni­cole Vil­lal­pando Rais­ing Austin Rais­ing

Work­ing breast-feed­ing moth­ers of Austin, get ready to be jeal­ous.

Ear­lier this year, we vis­ited one of two moth­ers’ rooms at IBM’s Austin of­fices and met with Car­lie Bower, who is pro­gram di­rec­tor for cloud plat­form de­vel­op­ment. When she re­turned to work, Bower pumped breast milk for her son, Elian, who is now 1, as well as­milk­she­do­nat­ed­toMothers’ Milk Bank of Austin. She plans to do the same for her daugh­ter, who is due in July.

The Af­ford­able Care Act re­quire­sany­compa­nythatis cov­ered by the Fair La­bor Stan­dards Act to pro­vide a place, not just a bath­room, for new moth­ers to pump breast milk and the time to do it. The room had to be “shielded from view and free from in­tru­sion from co-work­ers and the pub­lic and which may be used by an em­ployee to ex­press breast milk.” (We couldn’t find any ref­er­ences to breast-feed­ing in the pro­posed Amer­i­can Health Care Act.)

Be­fore the act, we had moth­ers like my­self pump­ing in nasty bath­rooms, or makeshift spa­ces in con­fer­ence rooms or clos­ets. The room I pumped in after both of my preg­nan­cies (13 and 16 years ago) was a sin­gle bath­room with a shower across from the photo de­part­ment. I would stand in the hall­way out­side of the room wait­ing for the room to be free. When it fi­nally was, it smelled, and then I got to hear my male co-work­ers pound­ing on the door while I pumped. They couldn’t un­der­stand why any­one would take that long to use abath­room.

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