Humor Parenting

Guide to Pumping Breast Milk at Work

By DW McKinney

Congratulations! You have the exciting job of being a mother and a productive member of the workforce. As you embark on new adventures full of near exhaustion, don’t forget to maintain the proper nutritional habits for your little one.

Enter the breast pump! Initially invented to punish outspoken women, the breast pump has evolved into the perfect aide to nursing mothers. This mechanical wonder will transform the way you meet your baby’s dietary demands while pursuing your career.

So you’ve bought a milking machine and are ready to work. Now what?

#1: Embrace your space.

Your employer has graciously provided a room for you to pump undisturbed, but does the room feel less than comfortable? Maybe it’s the size of a hallway closet. Maybe you feel slightly exposed sitting in the corner of the auditorium. Just be thankful you’re not next to the soothing sounds of the copy room. A pillow or shawl may add that extra touch of home that you need. Consider bringing scented oils, mood lighting, smelly baby clothes, your oldest kid’s disturbing crayon art, video of your adorable screeching baby, and anything else that will help relax those boob ducts. Soon you’ll transform your pumping space into a home away from home, perfect for those late nights when you can’t get away from the office and wish you were home.

#2: Change your wardrobe.

Forego any kind of fashion statement. You will undoubtedly experience leakage or accidentally dribble milk on yourself post-pumping session. Maintaining a very specific wardrobe will help minimize potential embarrassing moments in the workplace and keep you on track for a promotion! Pack up all silk and satin clothing. Opt for fabrics made from plastic, vinyl, or laminated cotton. These materials will make it easier for you to clean up breast milk that somehow escapes from those one-size-fits-all breast cones.

Immediately donate, burn, or mourn any clothing that is colorful or bright. Embrace pieces that mask stains, wrinkles, and that I-may-have-slept-in-this look. Clothing that is obsidian, jet-black, onyx, or midnight in color is best. However, dizzying patterns can also serve to disguise milk back splash.

Extra tip: Keep a poncho in your office for instances when you’re feeling rebellious and want to wear any ill-fitting pre-pregnancy clothing. Winter coats are ideal because they work three-fold. They hide stains, cover up the now obscene largeness of your breasts, and keep you warm when office temperatures dip below 78 degrees.

#3: Maintain a proper diet.

Don’t forget your own caloric intake! Once you turn off your milking machine, you’ll suddenly feel a deep, unnatural rumbling in your stomach. It will sound like a thousand beasts crying out. The sharp pangs will feel like you’re birthing another child. Fear not! This only means you’re hungry. That Lean Cuisine isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need a filing cabinet the size of a Prepper-endorsed bomb shelter to house your post-pump session food cravings. You may want to consider a second career in extreme couponing to sustain your dietary needs.

#4: Take a break.

You will panic every time someone walks past your closed door. Overwhelming anxiety will wash over you as your work piles up to towering heights during your 15-minute break. You will emerge from the privacy of your dimly lit cavern only to feel like Rip Van Winkle. You may want to ask your doctor for a prescription for something extra special to help with the stress, but again, there’s the baby to think of. Do yourself a favor and consider spending some time at a psychiatric establishment or at home. That’s what vacation time is for!

#5: If all else fails, quit your job.

We get it. You’re trying to be a “good” mother. But you have to stop being selfish and start thinking about the needs of others. Your office mates can hear the frequent whirring, hissing, and industrial clamor of your breast pump. They’re too polite to say anything, but they’ve probably lodged their complaints with Human Resources. Save everyone the trouble of investigations, hearings, and probationary measures by quitting your job and starting a shop on Etsy.

If not for the sanity of your colleagues, quit for your own health. Maybe you’re tired of explaining why every lunch looks like Thanksgiving dinner. Or maybe you’ve missed too many important meetings because you’ve literally pumped your soul from your body and passed out at your desk. Again, quitting and working from home will do wonders. You can wear whatever you want and if you pass out, there will be a nursing pillow or pile of laundry to soften the fall.


About the Author

Desaree McKinney is a mother, legislation proofreader, and writer living in the State of Texas. Occasionally she passes for a normal human being when she’s not wrangling her one and only infant gremlin. She blogs about her penchant for wearing chocolate and attracting weird strangers at Critically Unhinged. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.