So, this girl walks into a small room. On her arm she has a nondescript bag. In a few minutes you hear a gentle whirring… What is going on?!
The first time I used a breast pump in a public restroom, I was fairly traumatized. I was in the airport traveling without my seven-month-old. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, but I felt so isolated, like I was the only person who ever had to do such a thing.
I washed my hands; put on my pumping bra; installed the suction thingies; partially zipped my leather jacket (for privacy); strapped on the bag carrying my motor and pump parts; and faced the wall before turning on my machine. Tears were shed. It felt like the longest 17 minutes. Ever.
Since then, I’ve found myself filling baby bottles in many random rooms and I no longer consider the airport bathroom quite as exotic as I once did.
Here are a few of my most memorable pumping locations:
- My own couch. I recently had to be at home with 3 house maintenance workers requiring me to keep all doors open to test the HVAC system.
Pro-tip: Keep a light blanket or nursing cover with your gear all the time — you never know when you might require privacy, even at home!
- Public bathroom. I’ve gone in the stalls, in front of the sinks, and pretty much everywhere but the toilet itself.
Pro-tip: Don’t touch anything!
- Car (as a passenger). Using a manual or battery-operated pump. They sell a car charger so this must be a common thing! You may be surprised to know that some women actually DRIVE and pump at the same time! That’s one way to multi-task on a long commute.
Pro-tip: You may want to cover up with a light blanket, towel or nursing cover so you don’t cause an accident with nearby cars.
- Supply closet at work. I was fortunate to have a quiet place at work. I was less fortunate to share it with the IT department supplies like network cables and extra keyboards.
Pro-tip: Put a note on the door letting folks know when you’re in there so they don’t accidentally barge in.
I’ve heard from many other moms that they’ve got me beat in terms of unusual places. Whitney and I started a page on our Rookie Moms blog to collect other people’s expressing experiences, called the Pumping Project: pumping milk while… pumping gas, riding in first class, or holding a power meeting! I bow down to you.
By reading other people’s stories, I realize that I’m part of a great big hilarious community of moms and mammals performing our superpower for our babies.
Pro pumper? Please share your pumping stories, funny or otherwise, so that we can all feel less alone. New to pumping? Read Andi’s tips on picking the right pump.