Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Breastfeeding and Jury Duty

a few months old

Literally the day I came home from the hospital with my daughter I had a summons in the mail for jury duty.  Insert freak out.  I immediately called and got it delayed as long as I could because I knew I wasn't ready to leave my days old baby.

Fast forward a year and it was my time to serve.  I was pretty nervous about being able to pump- would they tell me tough luck, would they make me pump in the bathroom, would I be allowed breaks at all?
a year later

Some states will allow you to get out of jury duty if you are a breastfeeding mother (check out if your state is one of them here).  New York is not one of those states, so I showed up at the courthouse with my pump in hand, ready to serve my civic duty.

After waiting in line, going through a metal detector and watching a video my name was called to be a potential juror.  I was escorted to the building next door where a judge informed us that we were being interviewed for a 3 month long trial.  THREE MONTHS??  My heart started pounding.  Technically there was nothing preventing me from serving, and I raised my right hand and promised I would be honest during the selection process.

I was brought back into the judge's chambers where about ten different lawyers surrounded me.  The judge said he'd heard every excuse in the book at this point (he'd already met with over 200 jurors) and wanted to know what mine was.  I told him I had none and I was fit to serve.  I just asked that I could have two breaks a day to pump.

He told me that wouldn't be an issue at all, by law I was allowed to pump.  And get this- he even told me by law I was allowed to bring my daughter and breastfeed her in the court room.  How cool is that??

It turns out I wasn't chosen for that case for other reasons, and was sent back across the street to sit in the jury waiting room again.  By this point it was time for my first pump of the day, so I went to the front of the room and asked where I could pump.  I was taken into an office where they let me pump, no issues at all.

Lunch time came, I went outside and got some food and fresh air and resumed my waiting in the juror's area.  I pumped again in the afternoon with no issues.

Honestly, the only bad part was I had forgotten an ice pack and didn't want to dump that precious milk.  So I got creative and bought sodas throughout the day from the vending machine and stuck it in the cooler bag with my milk.  Did an impressive job of keeping my milk chilled!
back home after jury duty with a milk drunk baby

Overall it was easy peasy, and I had worked myself up to think I'd have all kinds of issues.  I actually quite enjoyed my time sitting in the juror's waiting lounge.  I had no one at work expecting me to get back to their emails and I didn't have a little one pulling at my computer plug or trying to snatch my phone.  I feel good that I performed my civic duty even though I wasn't chosen for a case.

See ya next time, jury duty!

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