Gah, I hate pumping. Hate. It.
I did it around-the-clock with Carys when I had to supplement her nursing with a bottle feed, and then for another year at work. I didn’t mind it too much with Carys, and I don’t mind the actual act of doing it. But at work, in an attempt to conform to new federal regulations, they now have a “Mother’s Room” where we can pump. I was SO excited for it when I first heard it was coming.
And SO let down when I actually used it the first time.
First, it’s a storage room. It’s small. It’s lined in file cabinets. There’s one small (hard plastic) chair in the middle of the room and a footstool. And I added the footstool after taking it from an empty cubicle. No table, no sink, no mini-fridge to store milk, absolutely nothing for the mother except the chair. I want to be appreciative of just the fact that we HAVE a room to use, but since it’s dual-purpose, I have to announce my intention to go in and pump to a room full of people (luckily, all women at this point) so if anyone needs anything out of the room they can go get it. Since I can hear them all talking through the walls, so I’m
paranoid positive they can hear me pumping as well (are all you pumping
mothers picturing that wha-WHA-wha-WHA whirring of the pump now?). Both the
telling-of-the-pumping-intention and the feeling they are listening is so
mortifying. I am proud of the fact that I pump, but let’s be honest here:
pumping is weird and I don’t want anyone to picture me doing it. And to add to
the discomfort, I always feel like it’s such an inconvenience to them whenever
I go down to use the room. Oh, and they won’t let me store my pump there
between sessions, so I have to lug that pump back and forth between my desk and
the room all day. And store my milk in the giant communal freezers shared by
(literally) a thousand other people (though probably only about 400 are here
any given time). Oh, and let’s not forget how I have a short clip of Emmeline
crying to help with let-down that I play – on the lowest volume setting
possible - and one of the ladies outside the office commented
on it as I was leaving, so I KNOW they can hear everything that goes on in
there (which makes me avoid using the highest suction setting since it’s the
Since I’ve gone twice only to be told that someone else was on their way down, I asked for the other person’s schedule so I could avoid them (we are the only two using it), and wondered if we could create a sign-up sheet for it. I got zero reply and still have no idea when/if the other person will be there or not. I asked if we could get a trash can in there (since when opening the milk storage bags little tabs are ripped off, and since I eat my lunch while pumping) with no response. I asked if we could get a pack of sanitizing wipes in the room (to clean up any tiny stray drops) with no response. I’d like to ask if we can at least get a poster on the wall, to make it just slightly less “I’m pumping in a storage room” and more “I’m pumping in a room that just happens to have some file cabinets in it” but if they can’t get a trash can, I’m sure that asking for a poster would be akin to asking for a Lazy-Boy Recliner. Which, please note, would also be nice.
The one thing I WILL give them credit for is calling it a "Mother's Room" instead of a "Lactation Room," which is what some places call it. Because nope. There is very little that ruins the joy and magic of nursing and breastfeeding like the word lactation. Lactate. Lactating. Nope, nope, nope.
I get that space is at a premium for most companies and that a nice, dedicated nursing room might not be possible, but I also feel like on an effort scale of 1 to 10, they in about a half point. Dude, pumping sucks. Almost no one likes doing it. If we have to be hooked up to a milking machine like a frigging cow, at least don’t make it worse with a shitty pumping room.
A nice nursing/pumping room would have:
- Dedicated space (only used by pumping moms)
- Soothing wall color with nice decor
- Table so mother can eat while pumping and/or set her pump on it
- Soft, comfortable chair
- Schedule where you can reserve the room
- Sanitizing wipes
- Several outlets so the mother can position herself and the pump in the most comfortable way
A dream pumping room would add:
- Fridge/cooler to store milk away from the masses
- Cubbies/cabinets for each pumping mother to store pump in between sessions
- Natural light (from a frosted or high-up window that couldn't be seen into)
- Magnetic board where mothers can place pictures of their children to stimulate let-down
While we’re REALLY dreaming, I’ll add:
- Space heater or independent climate control – pumping while cold SUCKS, amirite? Also see that pun? INTENDED.
- Upgrade the soft chair to a massage chair (OMG CAN YOU IMAGINE?)
- Paul Rudd
There’s like a negative percent chance that any of that would ever happen, but maybe I can get a job designing pumping rooms for giant companies with wads of money. Google. Call me. We’ll do this.