Civic Duty: Lactating and Jury Duty

I’ve been summoned to jury duty! I have to tell you, readers, I’m excited about it. As soon as I got the summons, I imagined an entire day sitting in a chair reading a book. Nobody will poop on me. Nobody will even talk to me. And I’ll get to eat lunch all by myself for an HOUR AND A HALF!

And then, immediately, I thought of my milk. What will I do about my milk if I have to go in?

When I took to the internet for research, most of the information I found dealt with breastfeeding mothers looking for exemption from jury duty. If this summons had come a few months ago, I’d be looking to get out of it, too. But my kiddo will be 10 months old by the time of my jury duty and I’m tickled pink at the thought of a “day off” from being a primary caregiver. The one article I found from Kellymom was dated 2004, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, so I know there must be a solution that allows me to fulfill my civic duty!

Here’s what I know so far about jury duty in Pittsburgh, PA. There is a “children’s room” on site staffed by qualified childcare providers, so I wouldn’t have to pay for my baby’s care. My older son can either go to preschool for the whole day or come to the courthouse to also go in the childcare. I’m not worried about my big guy, though.

When I examined the website for jury duty in my county, I saw there was an email address for additional questions. I wrote to ask a two-pronged question: would I be able to go down to the childcare room to nurse my son directly? If not, what lactation accommodations are available for nursing mothers serving jury duty?

I had a reply within a few hours! I learned that there are not designated lactation rooms for jurors, but they provide “relatively secluded” rooms “that have worked sufficiently in the past.”

I’m choosing to be optimistic about this, despite brief horrific visions of partitions near toilets. Another factor that allows me to feel optimistic is the requirement that I collect my children if I leave the premises for lunch–this means I’ll get to nurse my son directly at noon. I might not even need to pump if I can feed him right before I go upstairs to serve, feed him at lunch, and then nurse him as soon as the jurors are excused.

For now, I’m looking forward to a day where my biggest problem is choosing which book to read in peace. Or maybe getting to sit in on a scandalous trial! That would be fascinating, too.

Were you summoned for jury duty while nursing? Was this something you looked forward to or tried to postpone? Share your experience with us in the comments!

4 comments to Civic Duty: Lactating and Jury Duty

  • Melissa

    I am the administrator for the office in my county that is in charge of jury duty (we are in PA too). We have had 3 breastfeeding mothers (out of an office of 8 women) that nursed and extended nurse at that (actually, we’re all still currently nursing)! We are VERY accomodating to BFing moms. We will excuse upon request, but if you want to serve, we will do everything we can to make it work. While we do not have a designated lactation room, we do have small conference rooms with tables, chairs and plugs that can be used. Or one of the office women (me included) vacates their office for the mom to use. I truly hope you enjoy your experience and report back to us!!

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