I’m sure that there are lots of embarrassing and awkward moments that motherhood will bring, but so far pumping in public has taken the cake. As other mothers who have nursed can empathize, the first few times you nurse in public are quite uncomfortable.
My experience has been no exception. Yes of course there are nursing covers to aid with modesty and I always use one, but really who are we kidding? Trying to get some squiggly baby to nurse while smothering them with a sheet is hardly ideal. Plus, there is the self-consciousness that comes with the whole ordeal. I mean really the only thing keeping the entire world getting a free peek at your breasts is a thin, flimsy parcel of fabric. Oh and the nursing covers they sell…it can’t be any bit conspicuous. Nope. It has to be some bold pattern covered in bright pink flowers (at least mine is).
While some mothers may have gotten this complicated ritual down with their babes…J and I are still working on it. The few times I have nursed her in public resembles a wrestling match more than some serene picturesque moment between mother and child.
And if you think that is uncomfortable just imagine replacing a baby with a breast pump. Due to some recent complications, I had to undergo breast surgery which has forced me to take some time off from nursing. During the recovery time, I have chosen to continue with pumping.
Oh my gosh. What an ordeal that has been.
The obnoxious noise of the pump alone is ungodly. Not to mention you have tubes streaming out from under the nursing cover as if you are some sort of bizarre creature from the unknown. On top of that, you have to hold the bottles in place while cupping your breasts as if they will fall off otherwise. People gawk and stare which I suppose is only natural when you see some woman holding herself with only a sheet covering chest.
I’ve pumped virtually everywhere. Work. In-laws house. Vacant parking lot. Sometimes the not so vacant parking lot. I’ve even pumped in the passenger seat while Pat was driving. And yes I do agree with you…there should be some sort of award for that kind of talent.You don’t know awkwardness until you’ve pumped in a busy Panera parking lot while glaring at every old man, kid on a bike and family that feels it necessary to strut right by your passenger window. Did I mention the woman who parked right next to us and had to dig through her purse for five minutes struggling to find her keys? Yes…I’m serious.
Just stop and imagine trying to do this while having a conversation with your in-laws, brother or better yet your nephew who oh so innocently asks you…and I quote “is that what makes milk come out of your boobs?” Oh out of the mouths of babes. And if that wasn’t enough he followed up with pointing to the electric pumping bag and inquiring, “is that where all the boob milk goes?”
When I finally do finish pumping it’s like a new-found freedom…well freedom for the next three hours. Despite the annoyances that nursing and pumping has brought, I am ultimately grateful that I can provide for my baby in such a way. Plus I’ll be sure to make it all up to her by doing something utterly embarrassing her at prom someday.