If you’ve ever had to pump, you know that it’s not always the easiest thing to squeeze into your day at work. While federal law requires employers to offer a place for women to express milk, there are occasions when your day doesn’t go as planned. Here’s our ode to fierce women who have pumped in unusual places or made a point of sharing their pumping with the public.
1. D.C. Council member Brianne K. Nadeau
Faced with a six hour public hearing on homelessness, Nadeau, who has a 3-month-old needed to pump. Instead of returning to her office as she normally does, she decided to pump at the dais. In addition to announcing this at the hearing, she took to Twitter.
As a new mom, I don’t want to recess my committee each time I need to pump so I will be pumping for a short while as our hearing on Rapid Rehousing continues. I believe its the first time it has been done from the DC Council dais. pic.twitter.com/whRF1oTNhu
— Brianne K. Nadeau (@BrianneKNadeau) December 14, 2017
As The Washington Post pointed out, Nadeau is also the first D.C. Council member to give birth while in office, already responding to emails days within her daughter’s birth. Nadeau was able to pump hands-free as she used a “Freemie” cup, so all she “had to do was connect the tubes and turn on the power. It was not even that loud.”
And of course, celebrities pump too. Pink revealed her pumping routine on Instagram between songs.
3. Sharrona Pearl
Book jacket photo book jacket photo book jacket photo! (maybe). pic.twitter.com/HwUXYQBEuo
Pearl, a Kveller writer and professor, was traveling for work for the first time after having a baby and had to end up pumping in an Amtrak station. She wrote how she doesn’t really enjoy pumping, and often does in private, but sometimes, there’s also just no choice. Especially when, in her case, her Amtrak train was delayed.
The delays meant that the public space was packed, with all the outlets and seats long since claimed. I would have used both, shielding the pump with the nursing cover I’d used exactly never, but that simply wasn’t an option. So I went to customer service to ask for suggestions about where to go. (Maybe they had some sort of secret lactation room?) The agent looked around, and, seeing what I saw, said that the bathrooms had outlets…and her voice trailed off doubtfully. She’d been there, I could tell. And then she perked up: “I have an idea.” She made a phone call, and got off, beaming. “You can go to the Acela waiting room.” Someone came to staff her post, and she personally escorted me upstairs (because, needless to say, I hadn’t paid the extra $100 to arrive 15 minutes earlier) to the luxuriously appointed waiting room.
“You can sit here,” she said, gesturing to the beautiful armchairs, filled with waiting business people (mostly men). “Or…” and again she grinned, and took me over to the beautiful private bathrooms. “Here!”
Why yes I could. I folded myself on the floor, but (over my admittedly half-hearted objections) she commandeered one of those beautiful armchairs for relocation in the bathroom.
I sat, relaxed, and pumped. What could have been an unpleasant and difficult experience turned out to be an unexpectedly easy and even touching one, thanks to the creativity and extra effort of an Amtrak customer service agent, who has my tremendous gratitude.
Share your pumping stories with us in the comments below.