Wednesday, dec. 2, 2009 | 40 comments
Extracting milk from your person while on the job is a complicated business. First you need a portable pump, which costs a surprising number of dollars (thankfully I got mine secondhand from a friend), then you need an ample supply of freezable storage containers, plus an insulated bag for transporting the goods.
At the office you have to reserve the “Mommy Room,” a strange Microsoft Outlookian process that involves inviting the room itself to series of recurring meetings. You may find yourself doing this incorrectly the first go-round, resulting in a “Mommy Room has refused your invitation” email that will leave you feeling oddly spurned.
Once you and the Mommy Room come to an accord and you have your designated timeslot, it’s time to get pumping. The pump itself is incredibly, conspicuously loud. Luckily the Room is conveniently located right off the main hallway, so there’s always a steady parade of people walking past, perfectly positioned to hear you in there, chugging away like a little engine that could. Also there’s a sign posted in the Room instructing mommies not to lock the door. So there you are, separated from your coworkers by just one thin, unlocked door, with your exposed nipples twisting in the wind. Feeling exposed? Like a sheepish milking cow? Yes and yes.
When you’re done, you can put your haul in the provided mini-fridge, however there’s no place to clean the detachable suction-cup apparatus. That you have to rinse off in the employee kitchen up the hall, right where everyone’s preparing their lunches. (My apologies, gentle coworker, for splashing human milk on your pulled-pork sandwich! Oh, this? This is my suction cup. For my naked breasts, which I ask you to please stop visualizing. Hey, is this decaf fresh?)
The logistics are challenging enough, but the truly hard part is the dent the twice-daily pumpings leaves in your schedule. All told, you’re pumping at least an hour a day. This means the length of your workday, a day already truncated to the barest minimum by your need to get home to be with the baby, is even shorter. Also you’re brain damaged with sleep deprivation. And your chest is leaking.
Best of luck to you!