The Pumping Room

There is no more salient reminder that I am a mom at work than the pumping room.

I spend at least 20 minutes of my work days in one, meditating on the dulcet tones of my Pump In Style’s relentless motor. It’s a stark shift to the day. One moment, I’m sitting at my desk like any other 9-5er. Headphones cutting out ambient cubicle chatter. Fingers clicking away at the keyboard and mouse.

And then this: sitting on a discarded office chair, shirt hiked up to my neck, holding what amount to two suction cups up to my boobs so my nipples can be rhythmically sucked of milk. I do not feel remotely “In Style.”

I’ve taken to calling my sister while I pump, since she’s usually in her office eating lunch at the same time. I told her that she should check out her company’s pumping room, since if she ever decides to have kids, she’ll probably spend a lot of time in there.

“Oh, I’ve heard it’s pretty luxurious,” she said. She works at an investment firm. She hasn’t seen it, but has heard rumors of extremely plush chairs, footrests and amazing views.

I suddenly had a vision of thousands of pumping rooms, some extravagant, some threadbare. Re-purposed corner offices, closets, bathrooms.

So I offer this: a portrait of my pumping room.

Yes. That is an upturned-recycling-bin pump shelf.

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A post shared by Stephanie Mackley (@stephaniemackley) on

So where are you pumping, back-to-work moms? I’m intrigued, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Thanks to the glorious world of social media, you can show us.

Rumor has it, if you take a picture of your pumping room and then share it on Instagram or, god forbid, Tweet it, then you can declare its identity as a pumping room portrait with ye olde hashtag #pumpingroomportrait. I can’t believe I’m recommending hashtagging. But I am. It’s for a good cause.

Whatever your particular social media leaning, go for it. And if you don’t want to share your portrait from any of your personal accounts, send me a message with your photo on my Honest Mom Facebook page and I’ll share it anonymously.

Let’s lift the veil on the nooks and crannies where we pumpers are spending our valuable time. I’ll share our photos in an upcoming post, so we can start forming the social commentary that will surely come from having a compendium of pumping room portraits.


This blog post originally appeared at Get Born. And if you haven’t checked it out, you should.

8 thoughts on “The Pumping Room

  1. Funny, I read this post as I just finished a phone call to my sister, with my Medela strapped to my chest going “oomph-uumph-oomph-uumph” for the first of 2 pumping session today.  I can’t complain too much as I get to pump in my office, while I work, return emails, get caught up on facebook and look at beautiful pictures of my children as I continously tell myself this is all for them…:)

    I also wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how much your words have helped me. With a 3 1/2 yr old and a 6 month old, finaly acknowledging what I’ve been experiencing is OK and WILL get better was so real, and to be able to take charge of something that had a hold over me was empowering. Thank you for sharing your experience, and letting other moms know it is OK.

    -Carrie Gadek   “Be the change you want to see in the world” -Mahatma Gandhi


    1. What synchronicity, Carrie! There’s just something about Medelas and sisters…
      I am so glad the blog has helped you!! It’s huge therapy for me. This is just such a surprising and unbelievably challenging experience so I write for the same reason, so that I can acknowledge that “what I’ve been experiencing is OK” Amen, sister!

  2. I’m just glad to hear that at least some companies have made any effort at all…
    Is there a fridge in there? Where do you keep the milk for the day?

    Here’s my suggestion….while momma is being pumped dry, have a gay boy massage her feet. Nothing promotes good feeling like a prolonged foot massage….
    I say gay boy so everyone will know that the guy is really concerned about how the mom is feeling but mostly so everyone will know there will be no sexual tension…or office romances.
    ….but maybe she will have a gay brother or best friend so I guess there is always a chance.

  3. Back in the days when I pumped at work it was in the bathroom, sitting on the toilette, staring at the wall. It was the only bathroom for 20 people, so I’d get a lock of knocking, door jiggling, folks asking if there’s anybody in there. It didn’t help the milk flow…

    Your pumping room looks luxurious in comparison.

  4. Hilarious! I went back to work the week we have our biannual trade fair in Paris (I live in the south of France). Our booth had a cupboard to keep our coats in, and this became my ‘pump closet’. I could literally hear the clients breathing on the other side of the door! Wish I had taken a photo. Nightmare week, brought my mother-in-law with us to our hotel to take my son for walks in the day so as I didn’t have to be separated from him. Getting back to work is so hard. Love your blog!

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