Short on ideas of what to blog about this week, I came across this post from the NY Times about the dreaded mom chore of pumping milk. Reading this made me chuckle but it also sends a good message so I am sharing for all ladies who have been daring enough to continue breastfeeding after returning to work as you deserve to be recognized and applauded!
After reading the above post, I began to think back to my own breastfeeding days. Upon returning to work after my first daughter was born, I was embarrassed by the whole idea of pumping at work. I had to ask for blinds to be installed on my office window so I could close the door and pump when I needed to. Because they didn’t want me to be the only one with blinds, the other attorneys had blinds installed in their offices too. It was a little strange that other people’s offices were being changed as a result of me deciding to breastfeed my child and it made for some interesting conversations around the water cooler. Someone would say to my co-worker, “Hey, what’s with the new blinds, Jim?” Jim would reply, “oh, Patty is breastfeeding her baby.” This would usually result in a baffled expression, but no further inquiries.
I sometimes had to pull over when I was on the road traveling to hearings and pump in the back of a CVS parking lot or a parking garage outside of a courthouse. Pumping in the car can be quite the challenge to say the least. I always washed all the odd-looking booby accessories in the office kitchen sink and nobody seemed to mind. I carried little plastic bottles of breastmilk from my office to the refrigerator without issue. No strange looks, no uncomfortable comments. Looking back, I am grateful for this. Milking yourself is weird enough so it was nice not having to deal with anything else. I am sure that some of my co-workers could hear my double Medela working hard behind my closed door every three hours but nobody said anything. I was an old-pro when I returned to work after my second daughter was born and not the least bit embarrassed. The humiliation fades away with experience I guess.
So for anyone considering this, pumping at work is not fun and it’s not always easy but it is completely doable and will only make you stronger!