Breast-feeding working mothers find ways to overcome barriers
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Last update: March 31, 2004 at 10:03 AM
Maria Elena Baca,Star Tribune
March 31, 2004
"Midmorning and midafternoon every workday for the past 16 months, Kelly Jo McDonnell has hung a warning sign on her office door: 'Expressing breast milk.' McDonnell, 34, of Lino Lakes returned to work when her son, Hayden, was 10 weeks old. As operations director for Ron Schara Enterprises in St. Louis Park, she sets up Schara's stories and trips for the 'Minnesota Bound' series. 'I love my job,' she said, 'but deep down there was a small part of me that wished I could be home with Hayden. This was something I could do to keep that bond with him.' Schara said he didn't see how he could not support her.'After all, this is a nature show,' he said. 'It would be sort of for us to say you can't go the natural way.' Hayden has had only one ear infection and is almost never sick. And McDonnell is fiercely loyal to her boss. Contrast that with the experience of Margi Bintner. Bintner, 41, of Brooklyn Park, gave birth to daughters Mackenzie, 8, and Sophia, 4, while working in Las Vegas at a 'high-pressure sales job.' Determined to breast-feed Mackenzie after she returned to work, she locked herself in her workplace's single toilet stall to express milk. Faced with constant interruption, she purchased a converter so she could use her electric pump in her car, its air conditioning system on full blast against the searing temperatures outside..."
Her co-workers said she was a drag on their sales numbers and urged her to stop breastfeeding.
She stuck with it for eight months with Mackenzie, and four months with Sofia. 'No one was going to stop me because I knew how good it was,' she said. 'I was a single mother, and I was going to give her the best fighting chance, health-wise.' "