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Working mom praised after closing store to breast-pump: 'Moms gotta do what they gotta do'

Yahoo! Lifestyle logo Yahoo! Lifestyle 2/19/2019 Paulina Cachero
a close up of text on a black background: Emily Edgington, an assistant manager at a Family Dollar store in Mansfield, Ohio, used this sign to close the shop to breast-pump. (Photo: Courtesy of Emily Edgington) © Provided by Oath Inc. Emily Edgington, an assistant manager at a Family Dollar store in Mansfield, Ohio, used this sign to close the shop to breast-pump. (Photo: Courtesy of Emily Edgington)

A new mother is being lauded after she temporarily closed an Ohio Family Dollar store to pump breast milk for her daughter in the back of the shop.

New mom Emily Edgington, 23, was working at a Mansfield, Ohio, Family Dollar alone without anyone to relieve her so she could breast-pump. So she posted a sign on the glass doors explaining the temporary closure that read, “Sorry. Had to pump for baby and no one else is here. Be back in 30. Thanks.”

Edgington is the mother of a 3-month-old daughter named Eliana.

“I had never had to close the store down to pump, and I never thought I would have to,” Edgington, an assistant manager at Family Dollar, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “But my daughter’s health and being able to eat was my main concern. I wrote the sign, took a picture to show my manager, prayed to God that I wouldn’t get fired or written up for it, and stuck it up on the doors.”

A customer named Codey Burghard saw the sign at the store, took a photo of it and posted it to her Facebook account. Burghard expressed support for the new mom by writing, “Pumping at work is a right and employers can’t take that away.”

“Even understaffed, moms gotta do what they gotta do.” Since then, the post has been shared over 21,000 times, with many women applauding the “dedicated mom” for her actions.

Stopped at the dollar store and seen this…I'm sure there's gonna be at least one customer who complains, but I support…

Posted by Codey Burghard on Friday, February 1, 2019

Burghard set off to find the woman behind the sign when Edgington responded to Burghard’s post with her side of the story.

“I had two choices … run back and forth to pump every couple of minutes to check out customers or lock the doors and pump as needed — uninterrupted because that is my right,” Edgington wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. Because any breastfeeding mother knows that pumping for a couple minutes, then running back and forth isn’t realistic.

Although the Affordable Care Act requires employees to allow women to pump breast milk while at work, many working mothers still struggle to find a place and time to pump milk when returning to the workforce. While federal law requires employers to provide reasonable break times and a private space that is not a bathroom for breastfeeding mothers, there are gaping loopholes that leaves many women unprotected.

a woman holding a teddy bear: Emily Edgington with her 3-month-old daughter, Eliana Lulenski-Edgington. (Photo: Courtesy of Emily Edgington) © Provided by Oath Inc. Emily Edgington with her 3-month-old daughter, Eliana Lulenski-Edgington. (Photo: Courtesy of Emily Edgington)

Although Edgington had informed several other managers and the district manager that she would need a place to pump when she was three months into her pregnancy, she said the Family Dollar store neglected to prepare the adequate employee and location resources when she came back eight months later. Despite Edgington’s calls to her local Family Dollar district manager and the Family Dollar corporate human resources, she said the company simply “apologized for the inconvenience.” According to Edgington, an employee with corporate human resources told her to “run back and forth every couple of minutes to pump in between customers,” which may be in violation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

By her second week back, Edgington said the Family Dollar store had scheduled the new mom to work several five- to seven-hour shifts alone, with no one to man the register while she pumped milk in the back. After working two shifts without pumping that left her “feverish, engorged, with sharp pains in [her] breasts and chest,” she took matters into her own hands.

“I decided the only way that I would be able to use my rights was to close the store and pump,” Edgington said. “I did not expect the stress of having to figure out when and how I was going to be able to pump and the conditions that were totally in violation of the breastfeeding policy they have and against civil rights.”

Edgington wrote on Facebook that, going forward, she hopes “corporations will start paying more attention to their policies and our human rights and be held accountable.”

“I encourage all mothers to look up their workplace policy and verify that all of their rights listed are being enacted. If they’re not, do not be afraid to use your voice, and if they don’t listen after being told your needs repeatedly, do what you need to do, put up a sign, and know that you are protected,” she said.

Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to the Family Dollar corporation for comment and will update this post when we hear back.


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