Breastfeeding your baby can come with some really awkward moments — like feeding in ridiculous places and hearing outrageous comments from strangers. And in all likelihood, it also means pulling out the dreaded (but sometimes necessary) breast pump. A breast pump is the closest thing to ever feeling like a cow being milked on the farm. And that weeeee-wooooo noise will reverberate through your brain for many years to come.
But there’s always comfort in knowing other moms have endured the indignities of the breast pump too. And thankfully, these parents are willing to share the not-so-private and inconvenient places they’ve had to pull out the pump.
“I got pulled over while pumping on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. I got pulled over because in order to pump, I had to put my seatbelt under my arm, so he gave me a ticket for illegal use of a seatbelt!! I did some serious fast “disconnecting” as I pulled over so he wouldn’t know I was pumping. I wasn’t sure if it was legal!”
— Jill B.
“I had to pump on a road trip to Pittsburgh with my in-laws in the car. That was fun.”
— Angie G.
“I’ve pumped in the car going through the drive-thru at Starbucks with the kids in the back! Of course, I had a cover on. Starbucks had no idea. The things we do for coffee.”
— Jessica D.
“I pumped in the backseat of my mom’s car in a parking garage because we were out shopping and while trying on strapless bras, my boobs decided it was go-time. Milk was literally pouring out of me.”
— Michelle B.
“In my car on the way to pick up my kids and a coach bus rolled up at a red light so all the tourists could gawk.”
— Allison T.
“I pumped while driving everywhere for several months. It was the best use of multitasking as I could use the drive-time to do something productive besides just get to places. The hands-free bra and car adapter were fantastic.”
— Cheryl A.
“I pumped on a plane under a blanket on a night flight, and hopefully the passenger next to me didn’t notice that signature ‘coughing dog’ sound but I’m sure she did.”
— Kristin S.
“I pumped in the airplane bathroom before takeoff. Gross.”
— Isabel K.
“I pumped in an airplane bathroom on a transatlantic flight for a work trip to Belgium. I felt gross and exposed, but it was a long flight and there were lots of bathrooms, so [people weren’t waiting for me to come out]. But I felt self-conscious about the weird pumping sound.”
— Liz M.
“I pumped in my boss’ office on the 14th floor of our building. It had giant windows and a beautiful view of downtown, which I enjoyed so much until the window washers appeared. Since I was completely alone, I had my shirt completely unbuttoned and open. I think we were both startled.”
— Vikki R.
“An open office cube with a (female) co-worker yelling, ‘Mooooo.'”
— Nancy K.
“When I came back to work from having baby No. 2, the lock on my office door was broken and HR didn’t want to replace it. Something about a fire hazard and a pumping room being a floor away. So I had to get clever. When I pumped, I put a sign on the door that said, ‘Do not disturb. You’ll be sorry you did.’ I had a lock the next day. Apparently, the fear of seeing me topless and pumping outweighed any fire safety.”
— Sarah M.
“I pumped in an elementary school library office with a large window behind the checkout counter. I hid behind a book cart with hopes no child would open the door and come back there”.
— Megan O.
“I’m not a mama, but a woman my wife worked with had an office on the 7th floor with no lock on the door. She used to turn her chair and face the windows behind her desk. From the street, the glass building was reflective, so she thought it was mirrored glass. A month and a half later, when the hotel next door called and said guests were complaining, she figured out it wasn’t!”
— Matt P.
“A stall in the LSU football stadium. With a hand pump because I couldn’t bring in something as big as my electric pump. It took a good 20 minutes. It was awful.”
— Audrey H.
“I was having a girls’ weekend at a fancy spa only four weeks after giving birth. I hiked up my lovely evening dress and basically expressed directly into the toilet bowl — so glam.”
— Nicole M.
“I pumped in a stall at Obama’s acceptance speech in Denver! I was really hoping the Secret Service would question me on the way in, but they didn’t.”
— Diana M.
Anywhere & everywhere
“I pumped and dumped in a janitor’s closet at a wedding.”
— Laura F.
“You name it, I’ve pump there… Ubers, taxis, pretty much every airport in America, buses, boats, limos, Epcot, concert bathrooms, work offices, while driving, weddings. I really don’t think there is a place I have not pumped!”
— Lisa S.
“I pumped and dumped all over Las Vegas. My 40th birthday, four months after giving birth.”
— Jennifer F.
“During a conference, I pumped at the Jacob Javits Center in front of the giant bank of windows.”
— Catherine H.
“I go on an annual camping trip with a girlfriend of mine. One year, we went to Bryce Canyon, and while hiking, I took pumping breaks behind cacti and hoodoos (the rock formations for which the canyon is known)… The hikers’ reactions were priceless. “Wee-woo, wee-woo,” went the pump as I tried hiding in what was more or less plain sight.”
— Monika B.