Pumping Breast Milk and the Very Public Dairies

Police officer writing a ticket for woman sitting in the car

I had a Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Oblivion milkshake for lunch. I love lactating.

Biting aside, nursing my little boy is a great joy to me. Pumping breast milk is not. But I work all day, and my kid has to eat. So at least three times per day, I cover myself with a nursing apron, strap on my lovely nursing bra, and hook up those oh-so-comfortable phalanges and other accessories to my pump.

I’m fortunate to be able to do this at my cubicle. Luckily our office suite is inhabited by women, all who work in pediatrics. No one cares that for the better part of the work day, wooshing noises lull the office into a peaceful meditative state. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but really, no one complains.

When a man occasionally wanders into the office, it makes me only mildly uncomfortable. It’s funny when they start talking to me before realizing the wooshing noise is not my printer.

I know plenty of other women who don’t have it as easy, so I really can’t complain. But sometimes I feel a little awkward. I like to multitask while I pump. This can lead to a feeling of exhilaration, like when I was pumping and submitting my research proposal to our internal review board at the same time (I can feed my kid AND do science. I am woman; hear me roar). Sometimes though, multitasking isn’t the best idea. For example, when you talk on the phone and pump, people can hear you. I have been asked more than once by my female colleagues if I am pumping as we chat. Why yes, indeed I am. Sorry about that. Of course, no male colleague has ever dared. Maybe they think the sound is a washing machine in my office.

One of the most convenient places to pump is in the car on the way to work. I drive very carefully as I pump, not only because I have precious cargo in the car, but I also I don’t want to get pulled over for driving while lactating. There is nothing illegal about this that I know of, and many of my friends do it. It just would be…interesting. I almost thought that I would get a taste of this the other day. I had just picked up my baby from daycare. I parked out front and latched on my mammalian enhancements. I was fumbling a little, and I am not convinced that my apron was keeping me completely modest. Right then, a cop rode up beside me on a bicycle. I froze. What if he saw something? I could envision the headlines, “Pediatrician Arrested for Indecent Exposure Due to Flashing Police Officer Outside of University Daycare”. Thankfully he rode by, never looking at my direction.

A girl has to do what a girl has to do.

3 thoughts on “Pumping Breast Milk and the Very Public Dairies

  1. Ha! I always was thinking about what I would say if I was ever pulled over while pumping. I had hoped it would embarrass a (male) cop enough to let me go for whatever I did, which was most likely speeding. I was lucky when I pumped in the office because I shared an office with a good girlfriend. When it was pump time, I shut the door, covered up and hooked up. My department was 90% female, and they knew they could come it. But the lone guy always got so embarrassed if he wandered in! I also pumped while talking on the phone; some people knew what i was doing, others had no idea!

  2. Verena, love your lighthearted view of pumping in this post. Seriously, what is the big deal? People act like breastfeeding/pumping should be this top-secret, behind-closed-doors thing. It should be considered the same as handing your kid a bottle. No big deal. Just keepin’ ’em alive. Isn’t that your job as a mom, after all? 🙂 Welcome to WMAG!

  3. Thanks ladies! Susan, glad to join you all! Alanna, a friend of mine actually did get pulled over for speeding while she was pumping. The cop was so embarrassed that he moved away from the car window and let her go with a warning. Ha!

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