Every working mom who continued to breastfeed after returning to the office is more than familiar with THE PUMP. We carried it to work every single day (in what was advertised as a “chic tote” but was really anything but), used it at least twice during the work day (“Gotta go! I have a meeting!”) and then prayed our bags of milk (aka liquid gold) wouldn’t burst or spill on the way home.
I remember that hideous nippleless bra that I couldn’t live without, but would want to run screaming if anyone ever caught a glimpse of me in it. At the beginning, I locked myself in my bedroom when I pumped at home because I didn’t want my husband to have the visual. But then flash forward six months later, and I was like, “I’m just going to pump right here at the kitchen counter no matter who is in the house and everyone can just DEAL.”
Still, I never got comfortable with it in the office. At the time, I was freelancing and often away on shoots, so I had to find more places to pump inconspicuously than I can count. Some more successful than not.
Here are 8 of my WORST pumping moments:
1) The time I left the pumping room with my dress tucked into the back of my pantyhose and didn’t realize my wardrobe malfunction until I had arrived back at my desk, which was two flights up and a city block away.
2) The time I had to pump in a glass office so I positioned a large piece of foam core on top of a chair to block anyone’s view and then watched in horror as it slipped further and further down the wall. I was plugged in and couldn’t move very much, so to remain out of sight, I ended up slipping further and further down too. By the end of my pumping session, I was pretty much sitting underneath the desk.
3) The time I didn’t fully close one of my bags of milk and didn’t discover this until I had gotten home from work and tried to transfer the bags to the fridge. There are few things worse than dipping your hands into a soggy bag of your own breast milk, and then realizing all that precious pumping time was WASTED. The clean up was no fun either.
4) The time I had to pump on a shoot while we were filming at someone’s house. The production assistant told me to pump in one of the bedrooms, which happened to be the bedroom of a little girl. It didn’t lock but I figured I was far enough away from where they were shooting that nobody would try to come in. I sat behind the bed, so you could only see my head if someone walked in, just to be safe. What I didn’t realize was that the occupants of the house were home. That is, until the mother opened the door and questioned what I was doing in her daughter’s room. I can’t even imagine how creepy I looked with only my head jutting up from behind her daughter’s bed. I explained and I guess she recognized the pumping noise, but it was more than a little awkward.
5) The time I had to find a place to pump at an office where there was literally nowhere to do it except the stairwell. I had a co-worker stand guard at the door but that didn’t protect me from people coming from above or below. Let’s just say, I did my business as quick as possible.
6) The time I pumped in a room that had a window which looked into another office, which appeared to be a wig maker. It was far enough away that he didn’t seem to notice me, so day after day, I used to watch him fit his clients for wigs while I pumped. Then one day, our eyes met and I made sure to pump in a different corner of the room, with my back to him after that!
7) The time I was pumping at home for Harlow while Mazzy was taking a nap. She woke up and started crying, but I was still plugged into the wall, mid-way into my pumping session. I remember yelling at her that I’d be there soon, while also being afraid that her screams would wake up Harlow. Splitting your time between two little kids is tough work and being literally attached to a wall by your nipples does not make it any easier.
And my #1 Worst Pumping Moment…
8) The time I was pumping in a gender-free bathroom and a man walked in on me. I was plugged into the wall with my pump resting on the sink, which happened to be right next to the door. The door opened directly out into reception. I can’t believe I forgot to lock it. When the guy walked in, he just stood there confused as to what he was witnessing, like he’d ever seen a woman pump in his life. I mean, I hadn’t either until I did it myself, so this is totally understandable. I tried to will him out with my eyes but when that didn’t work, I went to the slam the door shut in his face. This was thwarted for two reasons: 1) My sudden movement made my pump come crashing to the floor and 2) the door was one of those big metal pressurized doors that prevents it from slamming. I am not exaggerating when I say the whole thing literally happened in slow motion. It was mortifying. You can bet I stayed in there a good while until I thought it was safe to come out.
Despite all of these experiences, I am still grateful to my pump. And I did come to appreciate the time at work that I was able to spend focusing on my baby at home. It made me feel connected to her and like I was doing my best to be a good mom. It could also be a welcome break and a pretty damn good excuse to leave a room.
But, like most working moms who pumped, I always wished there was a better option than the bulky, noisy breast pump with the numerous parts that I carried back and forth. That’s why, when I found out about Willow, a new pump which fits into your bra (yes, your everyday bra that you already own!) with no external tubes, cords or dangling bottles to get in your way, I was intrigued. And by “intrigued,” I mean— I really wish they had invented this thing when I had babies!
Willow is quiet (read: you can use it during a conference call), simple and easy to clean (it has only two parts which are both dishwasher safe), and is completely mobile and hands-free. That means, not only can you check email while pumping, you can walk across the room to tend to your screaming toddler.
I wish I could test out the new Willow pump myself but since I can’t, I want to give one of you the opportunity to test it out for me. Leave a comment below sharing your worst pumping story or why you would love a Willow pump and I’ll randomly select one winner on March 15th!
Congratulations to Georgia! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!
Just promise me you’ll report back after you try it!