​9 Things I've Learned Since I Started Pumping At Work

by Tara Lawall
Originally Published: 
Pavel Ilyukhin

Before I had a baby, I knew very little about boobs. I didn’t know that milk shoots out of many holes, not just one. Pumping used to freak me out, and whenever anyone mentioned pumping at work, I blocked it out. I didn’t understand it. I knew there was a machine and a sound that working moms who pump joke about on conference calls, but that was the extent of my knowledge.

But now I’m a mom, and since I went back to work a month ago, I am living the pumping life. In my daily pumping — three times a day, to be exact — here’s what I’ve discovered:

1. You will spill milk on your leg.

Whether it’s the milk that seeps out of the top of the pumping bags when you are not sitting completely upright or the milk that flies all over when you try to gingerly pull the pump funnel looking thing out of your pumping bra, milk is going to get on your leg. Wear outfits that allow for inconspicuous milk leg.

2. Taking your top off at work is pretty exciting.

So that alone should give you a sense of how not-so-exciting my life has been up to this point. But the first time you take your top off at work, your mind may do a little, “You’re so wild. Woo!” Then after the 5th day and the 15th time you take your top off at work, you are just hoping not to get makeup on your shirt.

3. Hospital grade pumps are the tits.

Ask your employer to get one. Regular pumps will run you about $400 (free through Obamacare #ChangeWeShouldKeep), but hospital grade pumps cost around $2,000. So what does the extra $1,600 get you? Imagine a luxury spa for your boobs. The first time I plugged in to the hospital grade pump, my mind kept saying, “like butta.” I was inspired to send messages to the two other moms currently pumping just to say, “like butta,” over and over again. (One of the women I had met only once. I like to really hit that first impression out of the park.)

4. Sharing a mini fridge with two other women will make you feel like you are in college again.

Except instead of writing your name on your boxed wine and string cheese packs, you are writing your name on the ounces of breast milk you just pumped. Same? Same.

5. When you eat a sad salad while pumping, you feel like a sad cow.

If you thought eating a salad at your desk was sad, imagine being plugged into your computer and a milking device while grazing on that sad salad. Moo. Kale fed, baby.

6. You can get out of anything by saying “I have to go pump.”

I have not (yet) abused this power. But if you mention pumping, whoever is standing in your way will duck and cover. Seriously, I have experienced fire alarms at my company that have received less of a reaction.

7. If you are lucky enough to have a designated pumping room at work, stop feeling like you are lucky.

Having a pump room at work should be standard. I cannot believe women have to pump in the bathroom. If you are pumping in a bathroom, where do you plug in? Where do you sit? The toilet? Are you kidding me? I actually don’t understand how it can work. If you don’t have a pumping room, ask for a pumping room. Period.

8. “Tits-out party time”

I found this is not an acceptable response when someone asks me where I’m headed when I’m on my way to the Boob Room. I’ve also tried out “Going to express milk from my breasts.” But that makes people feel equally as uncomfortable.

9. #NormalizePumpingAtWork

It’s weird for people. It’s weird for me. But if we don’t talk about it, it stays weird. If we do talk about it, it’s still weird, but maybe sort of funny? Regardless, if we talk about it, the women who will one day be plugging in behind us will feel a little less weird. Do your part. Make it weird.

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