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Monday, November 8, 2010

Have Breastpump, Will Travel

When Sweetpea was born, I was a gold elite member with Northwest Airlines. I somewhat naively thought that when I returned to work after maternity leave I would be able to ease back into travel mode, and con some of my less maternal coworkers into taking some trips for me. I might as well have slipped that gold elite identification tag right on my pump, because we were going to be spending a lot of time together.

Overall, pumping has gone pretty well for me. I've always been able to collect enough milk to keep up with demand and then some, donating the extra to a milk bank the first time and a private donor this time around. The difficult part turned out to be finding a place to pump and making the time for it during my many trips. Before baby, I could tell you which airports had the best restaurants and window shopping. After baby I could tell you which ones had private bathrooms with a lock and a plug!

Here are a few of the more (or less) exciting places I've had the chance to pump:

various parking lots
many a restaurant bathroom
airport bathrooms
in the passenger seat of a car on the highway
in the medical department of a manufacturing plant in Mexico
in the office of one of the managers at a Mexican supplier's facility (they had to hang posters up over the windows so I could have some privacy...hi everyone, don't mind me...)
Walt Disney World

And what I think is the strangest place of all: while drivingl (stuck in traffic) in the line to cross the border back into Mexico between Matamoros and Brownsville - thank goodness for my battery backup! (and yes, this was at the urging of my friend/coworker Tom, who really wanted to go straight to eat dinner when we finally got back into Texas, thanks again, Tom!)

After pumping in so many public-ish places, I've gotten pretty good at being discreet - or at least staying covered. (there is something about that pump noise that invites people to stare, trying to figure out what you're doing) I find with a nursing tank and a long shirt I can get situated to where I feel comfortable. In areas where there isn't a table, I've hung my pump bag over my shoulder. Disinfecting wipes and the microwave steam bags are great for when you're not in a place where washing is easy, like when I was in Mexico.

As challenging and stressful as it was at times to plan my travel around making time to pump, it was comforting to me, reminding me of my little one and helping me to feel close to her even when I was very far away!

Where are the strangest places you've pumped? Come join the conversation at the Motherlove Facebook page!

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