Breast Pumping in public: A success story!
We’ve all read the posts about how terrible of an experience people have had with nursing and pumping in public spaces—women were asked to leave, milk spewed everywhere, the only location available was a dirty bathroom, etcetera, etcetera. If you are looking for a horror story about breast pumping in public, you won’t find it here because last night I had a wonderful night out, pumping had to be part of the evening, and everything worked out lovely! Here’s how it all went down:
My husband, my daughter, and I were all invited to a wedding which we were thrilled about! I especially LOVE winter weddings because it gives me something to look forward to as the gray snowy days drag on and on. It was very sweet that my dear friend, the bride, had invited my daughter by name. I also thought it was very sweet that my mother agreed to watch her during the wedding because it was an evening wedding and the most my husband and I had been out since her birth was for my birthday dinner date (feel free to read about that night HERE).
I was well prepared with a ton of milk for my sweet pea and my mother agreed to come to my house to watch our monkey so that she could be put to bed in her own bed and sleep undisturbed (we’ve been having an interesting time with the 4 month sleep regression lately).
My husband volunteered to be the designated driver so we picked up another couple on the way and headed off to our big night out. The ceremony and reception were at really nice golf course. It was beautiful an nobody seemed to notice or care that I had a big cloth tote bag in my arms. When cocktail hour started, I scarfed down some chicken on a stick and my girlfriend and I proceeded to look for a place to pump.
Unfortunately, the bathroom did not have a chair in it (I’m generally not a fan of pumping in bathrooms but since I hadn’t made arrangements ahead of time, and since the wedding venue was swanky to the max, I was personally comfortable using it as an option if there was a chair or bench in the sink area (I still wasn’t comfortable going into a stall and being so close to a toilet).
We found a staff member and she was amazing! Her first thought was to let us sit in a little office but then she quickly pointed out how the walls were all glass and it wasn’t private enough. She then took us downstairs to the women’s locker room for the golf course and showed us that there were comfy couches and benches we could sit on and a clean bathroom if we needed to wash up. She also showed us another nook we could use after hours because the access to the locker room was limited to 10pm. I pumped while catching up with my friend, the boys stayed upstairs and enjoyed the appetizers, and we all met back up for dinner.
My husband dashed out to the car to drop off my milk and we continued the night without a hitch! We knew we didn’t want to stay out too late so I didn’t need to pump again while we were at the wedding. When we arrived back home, my sweet pea was fast asleep so I gave her a sweet kiss on her sweet forehead, and like any mom who pumps, quietly dashed out to the living room to pump out my evening milk to replace the bottles she used while I was away.
Here are some tips to make your breast pumping in public experience a better one:
- Know your location: I knew I was going to a fancy golf course and that there was a very high chance that I would be able to find a secluded place to use my breast pump. If I were going someplace that had no decent spaces to pump, I would have called ahead and if the weather had been warmer I would have even considered pumping in my car.
- Pack accordingly: I packed up my pump, some extra batteries, a clean towel, two bottles (because I’m optimistic!), and my nursing cover. I figured that I could wear the cover if I needed to pump in a more public space and I ended up wearing it in the locker room anyway so that I could just get right into the pumping without worrying about discretion. One thing that I forgot to pack was my Contigo cup of water! I was a bit parched when I finished!
- Dress accordingly when breast pumping in public: I was VERY lucky that the one winter wedding-ish dress I had in my closet was stretchy enough to fit post-baby (with spanks of course!) and that it was a V-neck. This made pumping easy and I didn’t have to buy a new dress. You could also wear something with buttons, a skirt and top combo, or anything else that will give you easy access to your milk makers.
- Decide on a breast pump that will work for you: Some people prefer manual, some prefer electric. I brought a single-electric with a battery pack (and extra batteries). If you need some help deciding, check out my reviews on breast pumps HERE.
- .Be reasonable and enjoy yourself: In a perfect world things would be perfect but that doesn’t mean that in the real world things ate terrible! With something as special as a wedding, I didn’t want to miss any of the good stuff (like the ceremony!) so if this meant that I would be pumping an hour or so later than when I usually fed my baby, I was okay with that. I also knew that I might have to do some exploring around the venue because I didn’t call ahead and I was okay with that too. Staying calm, believing in the abilities of the staff, and having a backup plan all allowed me to have a wonderful night! And the bonus to this of course is that the more relaxed you are, the more milk you can pump!
I hope some of you have had some fantastic breast pumping in public experiences! If you have, please let us know in the comments! Also, if you’ve ever provided someone with a positive experience (like the woman at the golf course did for me!) let us know so we can celebrate your awesomeness!