21 Things Only Moms Who Pump at Work Know

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pumping at work

You probably never thought you’d be sitting ta-tas out just a wall away from your boss, but here you are, diligently subjecting yourself to the tiny torture-device better known as a breast pump in the name of feeding your child that sweet, sought-after breast milk. The things we do for our kids, amirite?

Whether your company has provided you with a luxe lactation room or you’ve been relegated to an abandoned office or supply closet, there are few things all women who have had to pump at work definitely know (the first, of course, being that, it both literally and figuratively sucks).

  1. How strange it is to spend so much time with your boobs out at work.
  2. Those three daily 20-minute “appointments” on your Google calendar are NOT to be trifled with.
  3. How to expertly avoid eye contact as you wash your pump parts in the office kitchen.
  4. The awkwardness of telling Steve from accounting, that no, this isn’t one of those “fancy coffee funnel things…”
  5. …and then watching Steve from accounting retreat to his cubicle as fast as he can when you utter the words “breast pump” or “expressed milk.”
  6. Unless they button down the front, those cute business-casual dresses and tops you used to wear are in retirement for the foreseeable future.
  7. The rhythmic whirring of your pump may as well be a foghorn when you’re pumping on a conference call.
  8. The Tetris-like puzzle that is trying to find space for your cooler in the crowded office fridge.
  9. That nothing will ruin your day quite like forgetting one of your gazillion pump parts at home.
  10. …except for spilling milk all over your pants…
  11. …especially if they’re dry-clean-only.
  12. The faint scent of milk haunts you wherever you go.
  13. When you reach into your overstuffed desk drawer for a Post-It note or pen, you’re just as likely to come out with a breast shield or storage bag in hand.
  14. The abject fear that fills your heart when can’t remember whether or not you locked the door, and you hear one of your colleagues approaching.
  15. That the office thermostat must be set firmly at “Antarctic” for how cold it feels while you’re pumping.
  16. How to perfectly position your purse, pump bag, and laptop on your shoulders so you don’t fall over from the sheer weight of everything you have to schlep to and from the office.
  17. That four ounces feels like a gallon while you’re waiting for your bottle to fill up.
  18. That four ounces feels like a single teaspoon as you watch your kid suck down his bottle at home.
  19. You can get out of just about any boring water-cooler convo by claiming you have to pump.
  20. There’s a special place in hell for people who use the pumping room to make personal phone calls or—worse!—to nap.
  21. You deserve a raise for getting so much work done, despite being attached to a machine that squeezes your boobs at regular intervals.

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Photo: Getty