By Yessenia Anderson & Elizabeth Welsh
Yessenia: As a nursing working mother you have the pleasure of toting an item that immediately becomes both your most necessary ally but your biggest foe and by F-O-E I mean effin’ overused electric piece of crap. Yes I am talking about the’ Pump’. It is a machine, that much like you, works while on the clock and as many mommies know no matter where you are, sticking to a schedule is a must. Every two to three hours the dreaded suction hymn must be playing its tune. Due to this rigid schedule, operating as a communications professional lends for interesting pumping backdrops.
Elizabeth: I too know the pain of paying $300 for the pleasure of dragging a pump with you everywhere you go. And by pleasure, I mean it cost more than my semester of books, not including accessories – and became the central focus of my day. When will I pump? Where will I pump? Let’s not forget coordinating your own boob leakage schedule with any other nursing mom in the building. So you literally get out of bed in the morning with your future pumping needs in mind and every single decision you make becomes about the pump. What to wear, when to pee, when to eat. Depending on the present company, what will I say when I need to excuse myself? Will this event run long? If I need to leave, I will miss things. If I stay, the wet spots on my shirt will seep across my chest until no one ever wants to look me in the eye ever again.
Here are a few of our favorite stories along with a few tips on how to store your breast milk while on the go.
- On the road:
Yessenia: You’re running late and more times than not when you’re taking care of a little one, this will be the case. Once again the clock is ticking to get to work or in my case it was a client meeting – my first. I left the office early to get ahead of my CEO, senior VP and senior account manager. Pumping on the road means, unless you have a fancy hands free bra, one arm and hand is resting against both cups. Also, if you don’t want to give the trucker next to you a not-so-sexy show you must also be prepared with a cover. From Downtown Sacramento to Citrus Heights I pumped 4 ounces but now what to do with the milk? The Igloo pack within my small cooler would only stay cool for so long and who knew how long I would be? Quick thinking led me to a 7-11. Fifty cents and a small cup full of ice later I was ready and at our client offices with not even a minute to spare! After a few hours the ice melted but the ice water kept the cool block chilly enough to preserve the milk.
Elizabeth: I went back to school full time after the birth of my second child. While Sac State does offer a lovely pumping room, I just did not have the time between classes, or to swing by and pick up stored milk on my way out. I made a homemade hands free bra and pumped on my way home every day, while driving. After 3 or 4 classes a day, milk was pooling in my bra. I used to let girls in my department poke my rock hard breasts and then very seriously warn them against getting pregnant in college. I got mastitis 3 times in one semester. I have shown my nipples to more truck drivers than I want to count. Luckily, storage wasn’t an issue because I could walk in the door and pop it in the fridge for tomorrow.
Yessenia: I had to spend the day in a Bay Area Marriott hotel ballroom (photo attached) for a writing work shop. The event organizer and hotel staff were actually super nice and offered to put me up in a private room for pumping. In an effort not to put them out I opted to stand in a bathroom stall. I am all about class. Really it wasn’t so bad, I balanced my pump bag on the silver board that folds down (what is that thing really for?) and stood in place it was a nice break from sitting all day. As a tip always ask for the catering manager if you ever find yourself in this predicament. The staff stored my cooler in the kitchen refrigerator and brought it back and forth every time I needed to put milk bags in.
Elizabeth: While I am an out and a proud nurser, I prefer to pump behind closed doors- for everyone’s sake. I have pumped in most restrooms at Arden mall (fashion major, shopaholic), and I highly recommend the Nordstrom lounge on the 2nd floor. For storage, I have always followed the Kelly Mom guidelines and have never run into issues carrying it around in my purse for a few hours.
- At church:
Yessenia: It’s fine. God sees everything anyways, right? I had a memorial service to attend and after an hour of mass and another two of lunching at the church hall I was due. Not prepared with a cover I pulled my stretchy shirt over the pumps which by the way kind of helps with the ‘holding’ situation. I pumped in my car praying to god that no one would come by for one last
Elizabeth: I’ve been there too! When my grandfather passed, I was nursing my newborn AND my toddler, neither of whom had an ounce of decorum. I spent that entire week in nursing homes, family homes, funeral homes and church services, either nursing one while the other squawked at me or nursing both at the same time. Nothing like fielding judgmental comments from near strangers about your breastfeeding choices with a crying kid and an exposed boob!
Yessenia: In the end, friend or FOE, it is an undisputable fact that this bulky contraption has been a major contributor to being able to continue to a precious bond. Needless to say though it will be a bittersweet day when I unplug for the last time and simultaneously disconnect from the craziness that is pumping.
Elizabeth: I quit that mess about 18 months ago! It was probably more emotional for me than actually giving birth. I never want to do it again, and I miss it all the time. Ladies, I’m available if you want a partner to go all Office Space on your pump with you on the day you quit. Then we can ugly cry from the hormones.
Recommended items to store breast milk:
- Igloo ice pack
- Small cooler, most breast pumps come with one. My Madela pump came with an ice block and cooler. Otherwise even small lunch box would work.