This is an article in our Pregnancy Week by Week series, a resource to help you manage your job and life, through and after your pregnancy.
Week 58: Don’t Leave Home Without Your Breast Pump
Primal groans, eye-rolling, physical reactions.
That’s what we got when we asked women about what it was like to pump at work.
Not everyone has a bad experience, of course. But enough women did that we started to think that there may actually be a conspiracy against women who want to breastfeed after they return to work.
Vicky, who works at a tech company, told us this story that made us want to grab our own breasts in phantom pain:
"After my first child was born, I flew to NYC for a day trip to interview for another job. I was a little nervous cause I was nursing but figured I will be in and out quick and really didn’t need to drag my breast pump to an interview.
Well, needless to say, it was February and my flight to LGA was diverted to land at Newark. I took a taxi to Midtown, had my interview for a few hours, realized it was still snowing and [my breasts] were getting full.
After several minutes of waiting, I jumped into a cab and said LaGuardia. The taxi driver said - I am not going out there - get out.
So I got out, hailed another taxi and finally got to the airport. Flights were being cancelled left and right but mine was delayed but still going. We boarded and pulled back from the gate and sat on the runway for an hour. I thought my breasts were going to explode!
I called the flight attendant and told her that I really needed to go to the lavatory because I am a nursing mother who has been away from her baby for 12 hours. She let me get up and called me into the back of the plane where she handed me a cup of wine and told me to drink it while I am trying to relieve the pressure in the sink. I was able to expel enough milk to be more comfortable before the pilot made the announcement that we will [be] taking off, so I went back to my seat.
By the time I got home, I was away from my daughter for 15 hours and my milk production was never the same."
Ouch. On multiple fronts.
The thing is, until you’ve been a nursing mother, it’s hard to even explain the physical pain Vicky is somehow holding back from even describing. And the psychological pain of losing hard-earned milk supply.
Lactation can be one of the most physically and psychologically difficult things you’ve ever done, but you will need equipment if you’re a working mom.
So get comfortable with your breast pump, ladies. Buy two versions if you can afford it (your health insurance will probably cover at least one). One smaller one for “travel” or the office, and another one at home if you need it.
You never know when you might be stuck on the highway in a traffic jam on your way home and will need to pump. Things happen. So the moral of this story is never — ever — leave home (or get on a plane) without one.
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