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Should Mom Sue Employer for Not Letting Her Take a Breastfeeding Break?

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Mom Sues Employer for Not Letting Her Take a 'Breastfeeding Break'

by Nicole Fabian-Weber

bottleA new mom was fired from her job after she refused to return to work after maternity leave when she was told she was not able to tack an extra 15 minutes onto her break in order to breastfeed her baby. Kate Abra Frederick worked as a child support officer with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and normally, she was allowed a 15-minute break. But being that her son refused to take a bottle, Kate wanted a little more time so she could run over to a daycare that was two minutes from her job. Her employer said no, and now Kate has filed suit with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

I don't think that moms deserve special treatment or extra rights just because they have kids. But I do think that, while we're constantly being bombarded with messages of how "breast is best", the United States sure doesn't make it easy for nursing moms. Especially nursing moms who have jobs.

More from The Stir: Mom Kicked Out of Pool for Breastfeeding & She Deserved It

The pressure of returning to work after you have a baby is enormous. It's a low-grade anxiety that constantly sits in the back of your mind during your maternity leave. And I can't imagine how a mother whose baby refuses a bottle would feel. The stress is unimaginable. Some women are blessed with employers who are understanding and helpful to breastfeeding mothers, but many aren't. And in the case of Kate Abra Fredrick, she basically was forced to choose between her job and her child. And when faced with those two options, the decision is easy. But it had to have been infuriating. 

If Kate's employer had granted her the extra 15 minutes and she began taking advantage of it, that wouldn't have been right. I assume her intent in asking was to help make her return -- for both herself and her baby -- easier. When her son eventually learned to eat from a bottle, I'm guessing she would have just given him pumped breast milk. Offering no leeway on something like this is just ridiculous and gave her no other choice but to quit. She was asking for 15 minutes, not an hour.

Breast may be best, but it sure isn't easiest. Wow.

Do you think Kate should have been granted the extra 15 minutes?

by on Aug. 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Replies (11-19):
marchantmom06
by Bronze Member on Aug. 22, 2013 at 7:05 AM
3 moms liked this
Some of you women are insane. We should not make the world easier for breast feeding mothers. The world does not revolve around them!
She was asking for 15 minutes added on to each break, 3-4 15 minute breaks plus and additional 15 is 2 hours off of her work day each day. Umm hello???? If she didn't want to introduce her child to a bottle that is her problem! Making a choice to breast feed does not make a woman the queen of the world. We should 100% stop catering to people's decisions.
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Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Aug. 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM
1 mom liked this
Exactly


Quoting marchantmom06:

Some of you women are insane. We should not make the world easier for breast feeding mothers. The world does not revolve around them!

She was asking for 15 minutes added on to each break, 3-4 15 minute breaks plus and additional 15 is 2 hours off of her work day each day. Umm hello???? If she didn't want to introduce her child to a bottle that is her problem! Making a choice to breast feed does not make a woman the queen of the world. We should 100% stop catering to people's decisions.

ajdahd13
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 8:57 AM
Nope. It's not fair to other moms, and people who aren't parents at all. Maybe I want an extra 15 minutes to feed my baby at her daycare. Oh wait I'm just a formula feeder so I don't matter.
975Mom
by Member on Aug. 22, 2013 at 3:27 PM
She can simply look for a different job. One that provides the flexibility she needs like telecommuting or being self employed. After this dilemma is over, then her child could need her for something else and a flexible job would be handy.

This problem is not exclusive to her and her infant only and so it does have something to do with supply and demand. If fewer new mothers were unwilling to take inflexible employment, then employers who refuse to be flexible would be less able to easily find a replacement. But...now days she is replaceable.

It's all about the money, honey.
dalbax2
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 3:48 PM

No.  She is no more special than any other employee.  If she was granted an extra 15 minutes then ALL employees should have got it also.

storkradio193
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM
1 mom liked this

With some help, I imagine a baby can learn to take a bottle.  I had to pump and provide a bottle at times.  It is not easy or fun, but you have to do what you have to do.

lga1965
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 7:29 PM

 well, I really don't know what to say. This is really quite unusual.

I remember that a lady in our department always went to the ladies' room to pump and store her milk in the fridge to take home to her baby but nobody ever wanted to leave work to actually breast feed their baby!  And most of us lived at least 15-20 minutes away from the office so it wouldn't have worked. I think she might have been expecting too much. Why didn't she pump?

lga1965
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 7:34 PM

 

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

Aren't employers required by law to provide moms who breastfeed breaks for pumping?  How is this any different?

 No, they have to provide a ROOM , a space to pump, not extra time. She would pump during her 15 minute break in private. That's all.

lga1965
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 7:40 PM

 

Quoting reindeer-c:

Yes, and I hope she wins!!!

 How could she win? That's silly. It is not essential to have extra time to leave and breastfeed her baby. That is ridiculous. If she has such a problem with her baby's feedings, she needs to quit. Or pump during her break.Babies DO learn to drink from a bottle. Mine did. My daughter's twins did. Her other kids did. They all do unless they are sick. It is not fair to the rest of the employees and not a part of her job to include her breastfeeding tasks.

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