Being able to manage pumping outside of the house is crucial to being an exclusive pumper! At least in the beginning, exclusive pumpers need to pump every three or so hours, and between getting hooked up, pumping, putting everything away, and (often) bottle feeding your baby, that only leaves you with two hours at a time to get out and do what you need to do. Once you can pump on the go, you have a lot more flexibility in your life.
7. At a Snoop Dogg Concert
I was only three months post-partum, so I had to pump every couple of hours. My friend had bought the tickets to Snoop Dogg for us as a New Mom/birthday gift, and it included meeting him, too. I just couldn’t say no due to pumping, so I dragged all my stuff with me. I had my lactation consultant write me a note just in case I was questioned about all I was bringing in, but surprisingly, I was barely searched.
I was planning on going back to my car to pump but I said screw it. She spent so much on the tickets that I decided to just pump right there and enjoy the show. I just used a hand pump in my seat (we had floor seats!) and no one noticed.
6. While Eating In a Restaurant
I was in New York City with my mom and aunt, and we were out longer than I had anticipated. I needed to pump, so I decided that the middle of Juniors Restaurant in Times Square was where I was going to do it.
I ordered extra water, put my cover on and pumped for twenty minutes while eating lunch. As far as I could tell, no one noticed, and no one said anything. It was my proudest pumping moment ever!
5. During a Work Meeting
Two weeks before my maternity leave was up, I had to meet with my boss and co-workers about coming back and our plan of action. I brought my baby with me as well, since they all wanted to see her. We all sat down at a table for the meeting, my co worker held my baby, I opened my notebook, and said that I needed to pump while we went over things.
I got an unanimous “OK” from my co-workers (all female), and I sat there and pumped for a half hour while going over a recap of what I missed the previous three months and what our plans were moving forward. It wasn’t a big deal to me at first, but as I thought about it, it was very empowering to be pumping while someone held my baby, and we all sat there just going over stuff and getting things done like this is what you have to do to make it work. This is how every woman should feel when they become a mom and have everyone support her. You don’t need to be a superwoman, you just need support.
4. In a Funeral Home
A few weeks ago, I pumped in an office at a funeral home during my grandfather’s wake. There were urns with ashes waiting to be picked up in the room, as well as memorial cards! I posted a picture of the image in the room of the Pope giving me a thumbs up.
It all culminated in a priest walking in on me and my sister having to shield me while I shouted “who the f**k would just stand there while I pump??” … only to learn later it was a priest from my uncle’s seminary.
3. In the Ohio Statehouse
I pumped in the Statehouse during a committee hearing. I’m an organizer for an abortion rights advocacy group, and there’s no lactation space in the statehouse so I did what I had to!
I have a Spectra so the lawmakers probably didn’t even notice – they tend to avoid eye contact with us!
2. While Working Out
I have pumped while working out at the gym! I’ve used the treadmill, elliptical, and lifted weights while pumping with a Medela Pump in Style with batteries.
1. In a Porta-Potty
I pumped in a port-a-john at a beer festival with the manual Medela Harmony! I carried a tote bag with me all day, with the pump and bottles; luckily, the Harmony is not too big. I sat down to pump and tried not to touch anything, way more comfortable than standing! I don’t remember the smell being bad – the port-a-johns were brand new for the event and hadn’t been festering for awhile.
I dumped the milk – I have a lot of beer that day, and I didn’t have a way to keep it cool. It was a fun party trick though to whip out a breast pump with your drinking buddies (most of whom, of course, were guys)!
Other awesome examples of pumping outside of the house included:
- While talking to your older kid’s teacher in a parent/teacher conference
- In the middle or aisle seat of a plane
- In St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican
- In a high school gym during a wrestling tournament
- In the woods next to a river while there for work
- While getting a haircut
- In a bar during Harry Potter trivia night
- On a chairlift while skiing
One thing I want to note is that the vast majority of women who responded said that either no one noticed what they were doing, or no one cared. Hopefully that makes you feel more brave about pumping in public! And please feel free to add your bravest pumping moment in the comments!