Have Breast Pump, Will Travel

September 24, 2010

Last week, I was sent to a 3-day conference for work about 70 miles from here. It was close enough that I could drive there and back each day, but far enough that I had to bring along a trusty companion: my breast pump.

I’ve already had some challenges with discreet pumping, given that the house has been swarming with workmen since before Lorelei even arrived (you have no idea just how many windows your house actually has until you start thinking about whipping out a boob in the middle of the day). But this really brought it to a whole new level.

The books are all so blasĂ© about the logistics of pumping in public: “Find a clean, quiet place,” they say, “like an unused office.” Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not going to knock on the door of some conference center worker and say, “Excuse me, sir…might you have a vacant room – clean, private, no windows, comfy chair – I can essentially take over several times a day for the next three days? Alternately, I can set up shop right here – when do you usually head out for lunch?”

I wound up using a somewhat less heavily trafficked restroom on a different floor than my conference was on. Again, this may just be me, but I was uncomfortable with my fellow female attendees getting to know me as “The Pumper” (or, worse, volunteering their own war stories and/or tips: “Have you tried giving each breast a good hard squeeze before you start? Really ups your production – one time I got a full 9 oz. out of lefty here.”)

Making matters even worse was the fact that I’ve recently started shedding like a Labrador Retriever. Apparently your body fiercely hangs on to all of your hair during your pregnancy, temporarily suspending the normal growth/loss cycle, and then drops it like it’s hot – all at once – about 3-4 months after you deliver.

It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten dressed with a mind to camouflaging (a) pumping-related drips, (b) the porn-star nipples that are the bane of all nursing mothers, and (c) the cascade of loose hair pooling around my shoulders. I didn’t really pull it off all that well; the term “hot mess” comes to mind.

It’s good to be back in the home office this week.

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