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Ask Amy: Our team is lactose intolerant

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We rehired a team member after she had a baby and she's implemented a nursing regimen at work. At lunch, she nurses in her car with her undergarments visible or on the side lawn of the practice parking lot. Then she pumps-in our doctor's office. The rest of the staff is uncomfortable, and we would like to encourage discretion while still supporting her decision to nurse her child. How do I approach this employee?

We rehired a team member after she had a baby and she's implemented a nursing regimen at work. At lunch, she nurses in her car with her undergarments visible or on the side lawn of the practice parking lot. Then she pumps—in our doctor's office. The rest of the staff is uncomfortable, and we would like to encourage discretion while still supporting her decision to nurse her child. How do I approach this employee?

–Embarrassed

Dear Embarrassed,

You'll need to tread lightly when you approach this team member with your concerns. First, be aware of any state or local laws that protect breast-feeding mothers. Most states have specific laws that allow women to breast feed in any public or private location.

So, if you're the practice manager, you might try this approach: Take this team member aside and tell her you'd like to offer her a comfortable space to nurse or pump with privacy. Then make arrangements to provide a clean, comfortable area, such as an empty exam room.

Handle this quietly, calmly, and quickly—you don't want to make it embarrassing for anyone. Don't delve into who is uncomfortable or what was said—just agree on her general schedule and where you'll accommodate her.

–Amy

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