It’s nice to be away from my babe for a bit, but gods do I ever hate pumping. Not so much the act of pumping itself, but the timing. Finding a time and a place to do it. I have no problems with nursing in public, but pumping in public seems somehow obscene. On the other hand, pumping is just one of those mom things I do and I am always surprised to find how squeamish people can be about it.
Since my first babe was born over three and a half years ago I have pumped in all manner of places, pretty much across southern Ontario. I have pumped in restaurant parking lots or parked down a sidestreets. My husband sits in the car and reads a book while I pump in the passenger seat next to him. I’ve yet to have anyone call me on it, but I’m always worried someone is going to stop me and tell me what I am doing is illegal. As extremely embarrassing as I find pumping in the car, I still prefer it vastly to a dirty bathroom stall.. Technically going topless in Ontario is legal, so I’m probably good, but I always feel intensely awkward. I finally figured out that, as a passenger in the car, I can pump while we’re driving around. Saves time. In the dark driving down the 401, it even feels relatively private.
My worst experience with pumping in the car happened here in Windsor. This was a few months back when Baby-G was about 7 or 8 months old. I left the girls with my parents for the day so I could attend an all day board gaming tournament being held at the local gaming store. Between games I snuck outside to sit in the parking lot and pump. I was pretty covered up, using a blanket as best I could. There was an older guy hanging around in the parking lot and when he noticed I was pumping he started staring at me intently. He seemed to live in the apartment above the store. He was hanging around having a smoke. He kept finding reasons to stand right outside my car. He was tidying up, fiddling around with things, carrying out the garbage. He was emptying outdoor bins that had filled with water. Carrying them five steps away from the building and emptying them directly next to my car while staring in the window. The van that was parked next to me pulled out. This guy now gave up all pretense and simply started standing in the empty parking spot next to our car staring at me. I was really uncomfortable and sort of surprised to find how angry I was. I was about ready to stop pumping, open the car door and yell at this guy. I was thinking of yelling at him something along the lines of, “What’s the matter, don’t have the internet? Haven’t you ever seen a tit before? If you really need an eye full why don’t you go online. I hear the internet is full of porn.”, when my husband stepped out the door and the guy vamoosed. I later spoke to the store owner and discovered that creepy guy was the landlord at which point I was sort of glad I hadn’t screamed at him.
Last week I had company over and one of my male friends was tiptoeing around the ground floor trying not to wake anyone. I had been upstairs in the baby’s room, sitting in the rocker pumping, and he assumed I had been putting the babe to sleep. I assured him he didn’t have to worry about being loud as the girls were staying overnight at my Dad’s. What was I doing upstairs then, if I wasn’t putting the baby to bed? Oh, I was just pumping. At which point he turned beat red, stammered, apologized, and out right said “I did NOT want to know that.” What’s the big deal? As I said, to me pumping is just one of those mom things I do. I also spend at least 10% of my day dealing with poop and pee in some form. Changing diapers? Now that can get gross. Much more disgusting then expressing breast milk.
So, what’s your story? How do you feel about pumping? Would you, or have you, done it in the car? Any crazy stories, or tips on how to get by when away from your babe?