Pumping at Work? Yeah, It Ain't Easy. Real Moms Share Their Pump-At-Work Wins and Fails.

If you've ever pumped at work, you'll probably be able to relate to these mamas keepin’ it real and sharing their pump-at-work stories. Rather than cozy-ing up with their babies, they're getting intimate and personal with their Medelas. Some have pumped in the closet or the backseat of a co-worker's car. Others have been walked in on or fear that daily. Even if you're not a pump-at-work mama, there's lots here to appreciate.

Enjoy!

To accompany these stories, I've included some of Jessica Shortall's Work. Pump. Repeat parody stock photos.

  Don't let anyone tell you not to cry over spilled milk. And if it spills on your keyboard, tell the IT department it was coffee. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via  workpumprepeat.com ]

Don't let anyone tell you not to cry over spilled milk. And if it spills on your keyboard, tell the IT department it was coffee. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via workpumprepeat.com]

Oh, the Places We Pump…

"Once, I pumped in my co-worker’s car while we were driving. Two of my co-workers were in the car at the same time. The driver was male and the other passenger was female. I sat in the back seat and pumped. It sounds awkward, but I felt pretty comfortable because I trust my co-workers." (S.M.)

"When I first went back to work, my boss who is also female asked me to pump in a closet. There wasn't a chair or anything. It was full of supplies. It wasn't completely private. I had to put up a sign that said ‘Do not enter, pumping.’ I wasn't happy about that." (R.K.)

“I was on a grant that required me to travel all over the state and I pumped in bathrooms, airplanes, airports, random people's offices, in the rental car, etc etc." (J.C.)

"I would pump in a conference room designated as a pumping room in the WIC office. If the conference room was in use, one of the WIC workers would allow me to use their personal offices." (S.M.)

  Thanks for the "lactation suite," HR. Bonuses: the door doesn't lock and you have to sit on a pile of filing boxes. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via  workpumprepeat.com ]

Thanks for the "lactation suite," HR. Bonuses: the door doesn't lock and you have to sit on a pile of filing boxes. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via workpumprepeat.com]

And It Makes Us Feel So…

"I would feel like a burden having to ask to pump in the conference room (or office) at work." (S.M.)

"The entire process took at least 40 minutes. It was really frustrating to have that 'stop and go' three times a day…And while I was pumping, I needed to constantly massage and squeeze parts of my boobs to squeeze out the milk. It was a super stressful experience which was probably turning into a vicious cycle reducing my pumping output. Nothing made me pump like a cow which is what I was expecting! I finally realized and accepted that my nipples just didn't respond well to pumps…pumping just SUCKED for me regardless of where I did it. I was exhausted from going back to work full-time and having two kids and being sleep deprived." (J.C.)

"I still worry that people will walk into the room when I am pumping. Not all the staff know I pump. Some do. I know, when I carry my bag and keys to go into the room, people look at me. My boss forgets sometimes and asks where I’m going. It can make me feel like I am doing something wrong even though I am just pumping instead of taking breaks." (R.K.)

  Your co-workers are kind of jerks. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via  workpumprepeat.com ]

Your co-workers are kind of jerks. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via workpumprepeat.com]

Colleagues React

"People have all kinds of responses to me telling them I’m going to pump. One co-worker was like ‘oh’ and took a step back. ‘Relax and enjoy yourself.’ I’ve had another co-worker wishing she could’ve pumped as long as I’ve been pumping." (R.K.)

"Co-workers were always very accommodating and did not make me feel like a burden." (S.M.)

"Having my own office and schedule helps with this a lot but when I was traveling or away from the office, most people were very accommodating. BUT I work with mostly women so that made it more comfortable. I never had to ask a man to help me find a place to pump, I think that would feel awkward. With my first, I was more hesitant when I made the request but with my second, I was much more comfortable and confident. I realized that it was my right to pump and didn't feel as guilty about missing a part of the meeting or whatever." (J.C.)

  You know what's a fun place to make food for your baby? The room where everyone at work does their...uhhh...business. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via  workpumprepeat.com ]

You know what's a fun place to make food for your baby? The room where everyone at work does their...uhhh...business. [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via workpumprepeat.com]

Pumping Fails and Awkward Stories

"I was pumping behind my computer in my classroom. I had locked the door, of course. However, someone gave a substitute teach the key and he popped in to ‘kill time’ for an hour. He was an elderly man and couldn't hear the electronic pumping sounds, or decipher the freaked out look on my face. As he approached and made small talk, I had to stop, avoid spilling any liquid gold, reattach my clothing, pack up, and leave to the room next door to finish. But basically, that was the end of my session right there." (M.P.)

"The worst thing, is the fear of having someone walking in on you. I have that fear every day. It can also be hard to remind people that I need breaks twice a day to pump. It can be embarrassing to have your boobs so full and coming out of your bra." (R.K.)

"My colleague was trying to catch me for a quick meeting but I had to pump. She said well if you don't mind, I don't mind if you pump in front of me! She’s a nurse and a pretty good friend so I thought what the heck, why not. We were talking like normal. As I started to pump she all of a sudden said, ‘Oh I didn't realize there's a green tint to human milk!’ I was like 'uh, I think that's just the color of the bottle or something, my milk is not green!!!’"  (J.C.)

"The most embarrassing experience pumping was at a three-day training at a police station with lots of surveillance cameras. The trainer had to ask for a place for me to pump. People were not pleased. The first day, they let me pump in their teleconference room. The second half of the next day, the instructor had to kick 40 people out of the room (a court room) to allow me to pump. The next day, I had to pump in the court room again. They had to 'plan breaks' and kick people out so I could pump twice. It was awkward. I did it knowing I was probably being watched by the surveillance cameras. I just didn't have other options. It wasn't that well received." (R.K.)

  "I love being away from my brand-new baby! Sure, I can work late again!" [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via  workpumprepeat.com ]

"I love being away from my brand-new baby! Sure, I can work late again!" [Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography via workpumprepeat.com]

Pumping Wins

"I was about to pump in the bathroom while I was doing research at this one office, but I met a woman who overheard that I was going to pump in the bathroom and offered me her personal office space to pump. I never met this woman before, but she was very generous and kind to me…she even had very encouraging words for me to continue pumping and shared her own experiences. I made some home baked cookies and delivered them to her the next day to thank her." (S.M.)

"I’ve had to ask strangers (at the airport or at conferences) for a place to pump and I’ve had people be awesome and go out of their way to find me a nice private space. BUT I've also had people tell me to go to the bathroom, which I never challenged. This happened with my first child and it was usually from an older woman. Now that I feel more confident (as a mom of two) and if anyone wants to tell me that now, I would ask them, ‘Would you prepare or eat your lunch in the bathroom?’ I've also had to travel for several days a few times while I was pumping so I had to figure out how to freeze and store my milk at the hotel and then transport it back on the plane without them thawing. That was a challenge but I loved how my fellow moms helped me out and gave me tips." (J.C.)

"The best thing about pumping is that I have to take a ‘break’ when I normally wouldn't. Even though a third of my co-workers often break to smoke, I never feel like I have the time to take breaks." (R.K.)

"I feel fortunate to have a relatively flexible schedule, and I don't feel pressured into not having enough time to pump. I also feel fortunate having a nice space (air conditioned and clean) to pump." (S.M.)