'My co-worker is stealing my breast milk'
RETURNING to work as a breastfeeding mum can be challenging, excusing yourself to go and pump can be embarrassing for some people, that's why a pumping room is such a safe haven.
A private space where you can pump in peace without distraction or fear of anyone walking in unexpectedly.
So what happens when that safe space gets breached? One mum shared her experience with Slate, writing into the Dear Prudence column for advice.
"I recently returned to my job at a large company after maternity leave. I share two lactation rooms with several other women and store my milk in the mini-fridge there during the day," the anonymous mum said.
"A while back I noticed that the milk I pumped and recorded didn't add up at the end of the day by roughly an ounce. It happened a total of three times over about two months."
Confused and suspicious, the woman asked the other nursing mothers whether they had noticed anything and soon found out that they had also noticed their pumped milk seemed to be depleted by the end of the day. The mothers went to Human Resources to register their concerns.
Luckily the HR department took their complaint seriously and added a key card entry to the room so that no one could access it without permission. Soon, the source of the missing milk became a bit clearer.
"HR also started monitoring the room and discovered a man trying to get in (but he couldn't because he didn't have the right key card). They questioned him but couldn't pin anything on him," the mum wrote.
"I am struggling not to be creeped out that some weirdo was stealing milk I pumped for my baby for who knows for how long. HR can't tell us who it was, or punish him because he wasn't caught doing anything."
The upset mum said that while the room is now secure, she can't relax knowing that the man is probably nearby.
"How do I get over it, knowing he still works here and I may never know who he is?" She asked.
Advice writer Mallory Ortberg (who writes as Prudence) was pretty concerned for the poor mum.
"I'm a little curious that HR seems to think it can't do anything about the guy who tried to get inside the lactation room. Presumably, those rooms are labeled from the outside, and anyone who's not either using them to pump breast milk or required to clean the rooms has no reason to be there," she wrote.
She advised the mum and her pumping co-workers to push HR to do more about the situation for their own peace of mind. She also had one more practical suggestion: "buy a cheap combination lock for the mini fridge and share the code with your fellow new mothers. It's a $5 investment that might help you feel more secure."
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.