I do not envy women who work in offices without a suitable place to pump. There’s plenty to worry about even if you have a room with a locking door, a clean refrigerator to stash your cooler, and a supportive boss who won’t hassle you about taking time away from your desk.
1) Do I Have Everything?
You can call me Mammary Poppins because to avoid pump-at-work fears, I have everything a lactating mother might need located right here in my bag! Every day, I lug the following things to work: a pump, power adapter, a cooler, ice packs, bottles, bags, bag adapters, two or three sets of breast shields, breast pads, lanolin, a pumping bra, a spare cardigan (in case of leakage), my water bottle, and a few other nonsense items (keys, wallet, etc.). Or at least I’m supposed to. But, crap! Did I leave the power adapter plugged into the wall? Is the pumping bra still in the dryer? I can live without the bra, but without the plug, my day is screwed.
2) Did I Lock The Door?
One of the weird things about pumping is that you’re forced to be in a state of semi-undress while in your place of business. It’s not even a normal state of undress. If you’re wearing a nursing tank and a pumping bra, the only part of you that is exposed to the world is your nipples. Even most strippers get to conceal their nipples at work. That’s what pasties are for.
However, if that door swings open and a co-worker walks in, that’s the part of me that’s going to be on display. If I’m lucky, it’ll be before or after I pump and not during. I’m fairly certain if anyone sees me with my breasts being pulled and manipulated like silly putty, it’ll be just as scarring for them as it will be for me.
3) Am I Leaking?
It’s bad enough that I generally wear my nursing-mom uniform of an unsupportive nursing tank and a button-down sweater to work each day. I don’t wish to accessorize two big wet spots every time I glance at a photo of my daughter. I really wanted to do right by the environment and use the washable cotton pads, but those things are the worst. I was always wearing scarves to obscure my chest and I really don’t need any extra laundry to do.
Look, I love the earth as much as the next girl, but disposable pads FTW. Those things are so absorbent, I thought about shoving some in my underwear the last time I ran out of tampons.
4) Will I Pump Enough?
When I first went back to work, I was producing so much milk that I could pump everything I needed two quick sessions each day. My husband was so impressed that he would brag about it publicly, like a dairy farmer showing off his prized cow at the county fair.
However, I really should have been pumping three times a day. My period came back sooner than expected and my supply dropped pretty drastically. It’s bounced back a little, but it takes a lot more effort to get the same four bottles filled each day. Now, each night before bed, I’m stuck trying to bully a few extra ounces out with hot shower and an extra pumping session
5) Did I Remember To Put The Girls Away?
At home, I have a tendency to forget to cover up after I nurse. When I was on maternity leave, I wouldn’t even notice that my breasts were exposed until my husband would ask if I planned to “holster those puppies sometime today.”
I’ve gotten better about it, but most of the time I don’t bother to fully latch my nursing tanks, leaving my super-cleavage poking out. So far, I’ve only done that once at work and my sweater covered it. However, I’ve had a few other wardrobe malfunctions. I went to one meeting with my cardigan on inside-out and two others with my shirt completely misbuttoned. Hopefully, that’s as bad as it will get.
What are your pumping at work experiences?
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