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The Ideal Place to Pump @ Work

Pumppump Working Mother Media is running a contest where we get to interactively design our ideal pumping room.  Cool idea if it weren't so commercial and didn't involve interior design.   But it did get me thinking...what does the ideal pumping room look like?  What's essential, nice, luxurious?  I have happily passed my pump along to the next mama, but from what I recall, some essential features are:

  • Locking door for privacy.
  • Comfortable seat.
  • Refrigerator to store the milk.
  • Sink to wash the 5 million parts.
  • Knowledge that it would be available when needed.

What else, mamas?  Let's create a list that employers could use to create the best possible space for pumping.  Like we did for family-freindly restaurants and best places to work from 'home.'  Anyone have the ideal pumping space at work?  Tell us about it, and, better yet, post a picture of it!

PS - For some info on breastfeeding at work policies in Oregon (and ways to improve it), head over to Activistas.


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In my ideal pumping room I'd add an adjustable-height table for my reading materials. I was fortunate in that pumping came easy to me, but it was an incredibly boring chore. Reading helped pass the time, whether I was reading work-related stuff or a fluffy magazine. After much trial and error I finally realized that I needed to have the reading materials in front of me, about chest high, to avoid neck pain from reading at an awkward angle.

I was a graduate student at PSU when I pumped and they had one place on the entire campus designated for pumping -- a big chair that was part of a woman's lounge/bathroom. Often, there would be a student who used the chair to catch a nap so I was always guiltily waking someone up...I would have appreciated more places and a sign up saying that the space was specifically designated for nursing moms.

Beyond that, I would have just appreciated a big table where I could put my food so I didn't spill or having to readust my pump to get to it. (I always ended up multi-tasking -- eating my lunch and pumping).

I think if I worked at a large business, I'd cross locking door off the list. Not that I really want people to barge in, but what about other pumping moms? What you need is a room with a privacy screen so no one can see in just from opening the door. A room with multiple outlets and comfortable chairs!

I was going to make those exact points. Also, more natural/less flourescent lighting made me more comfy. Not being able to hear other people's conversations is a huge plus. Having a phone available is a plus. I work at a hospital and had to trek quite a distance to the ONE place for all employees to share. I needed a room located closer to me so I could actually relax and spend my entire break pumping rather than running across campus. Nothing like running across campus to wake the napper up and kick them out of the pumping chair, to sit under flourescent lights and listen to other people use the restroom and have horrible conversations and stressful things. No thanks! Give me the table, nice lamp, phone and privacy, PLEASE!

I would say having a computer terminal, so I can check my email while I pump, would be ideal. With my last baby, I was fortunate enough to have my own office, so I just closed the door, strapped on the pump, and emailed away! I would disagree about having a phone though. My pump was loud enough that I felt uncomfortable talking on the phone while it was running. Other things that would be essential: sink, fridge and freezer, water cooler (I always get thirsty when pumping).

I always dreamed of a place where I could leave my pump between sessions (plugged in and hoses attached) and it would be exactly where and how I'd left it.

What a great question! I pumped in an icky kitchen area - and despite my signs, folks still barged in (no lock at all) or were waiting very impatiently to heat up their lunch or get a cup of coffee.
I would have loved a private space with an outlet, a comfy chair, a table and access to a fridge.

I too have pumped in the room at PSU - it's in the student union building. I always found someone sleeping or studying there and none of them were very happy when I politely asked them to give up the space. A sign would have been great! And, given where the mirror above the sink was, anyone walking into the bathroom could see you there. Or they would poke their head around the corner to see what the noise of the pump was. UGH!

I'm pretty lucky to work in a place that has two pumping rooms. They both have locks, but are accessible via a keypad with a code. They have privacy screens so that when the door opens, no one can see. They provide a pump(I always brought my own), lamps, a refrigerator, magazines, a table to sit at, and cleaning supplies for afterwards. They both used to be located in a room off of the restrooms(but very quiet), so we had access to the sinks in there. One was just moved, so it doesn't have a sink anymore, so it isn't as convenient, but still a big plus. We have a schedule posted, and you can request privacy in 30 min chunks, if you would rather pump alone, but most moms are okay with other moms coming in. We're pretty lucky here in that they are very supportive of breastfeeding - and I work in a mostly male environment.

I pumped in my office/cubicle, a very tiny one and everyone- everyone could hear the pump make noises. Myy coworkers were in the middle of conversations/phone calls/meetings, their own breaks and I know that hearing the pump was distracting for them. Sometimes someone would accidentaly walk over my area and there I was with half shirt open, the attachments, the noise, my lunch in one hand, talking on the phone or emailing...and trying to cover my breast with a big scarf. I don't remember giving it much thought, I just did it. Three times a day for 30 minutes. After the pumping was done I had to walk with my milk/pump to the kitchen, and wash all the parts in front of everyone who was getting coffee/heating up lunch/taking breaks.
I was working in a small non profit and everyone seemed cool with it..I did get stupid jokes and comments from time to time. But I had no other option.
I say:
Private space with a comfy chair, a phone, a table, fridge, a nice table lamp to create a more soft environment...ahh...a place with a window would be nice too.

I had the best and worst work experience with pumping. With my first child, the designated "pumping room" was a small file room at the top of a set of busy stairs. It was an odd room that no one ever went into, so it was like announcing to the world that you were going to go pump now. While the door locked, you were provided a folding chair and a power strip. You had to balance the pump itself on a box of old files. The worst was when the corporate attorney would pound on the door and ask if you were done because he needed a file.

When the company built our own building, they created a pumping room as a room off the woman's bathroom. It was outfitted with nice chairs, a couple tables, lamp lighting, and a mini-fridge for milk storage. The only thing that wasn't ideal was the lack of privacy screens. Two woman could pump at once if they were okay with it - which most were not. That would be my major inclusion to the perfect place.

I second the reccomendations for good chair, table, fridge sinks. It would be nice if you weren't visible from the door, but don't have a problem with more than one mom using it. It is boring!

As for where I pumped, they all had their problems. At the hospital where I worked we shared space with new mom patients, which was both awkward and annoying because It was not always available. This was a particular problem because we had to work our pumping around our patients needs and our coworkers availability to cover breaks. So it was very agravating to find breathing space to pump and find the room unavailable. Eventually I pumped in my managers office.

At OHSU in the nursing school there was a quiet dedicated room that only nursing moms had access to. It had everything on our list except the sink and the fridge.

The wierdest one was when I worked as a home health nurse and pumped in my car. I used the cigarette lighter to power the pump and a portable cooler. I used a nursing cover that was never helpful when actually nursing for privacy (a "hooter hider" no joke). Good points my own space, always available, radio, etc. The bad part was no sink and feeling rather exposed. Eventually I started setting up all the stuff with a hands free vest thing and then driving to the next destination while pumping, and disconnecting hoses when bottles got full. I did have visions of getting stopped by police for some infraction and asked to step out of the car, but all in all it worked ok.

My ideal pumping room:

Locking door. On the door some sort of occupied/not occupied sign.

Chair to help me sit upright... not a slouchy lazy-boy type chair.

Table for set up/take down and reading material.

Easy access to an outlet.

Sink with soft tissue for cleaning up.

Refrigerator for milk storage.

Subdued lighting.

So, I have okay pumping facilities at the office, comfy chairs, sinks, fridge and have only been walked in on twice so far (even with the breast feeding mom sign on the door). Magazines and mom oriented books definitely help and rooms being designated for pumping/feeding only is great because I never feel like I am kicking anyone out.

My issue, like one of the previous posters, is that I do home visits as a community health nurse and am constantly looking for places on SE 122nd to pump. It is a drag sitting in a parking lot pumping in your car and I can't seem to do hands free without spilling milk so can't imagine driving while pumping. My dream is public pumping stations, maybe at a library, so when any mom is out for the day without the babe they can have a safe and private place to pump. I would love any advice from other pumping on the go mamas out there!

I have to say, I had the ideal pumping room. Locking door, place to store my pump and reading materials and a phone with a hands-free option. I used to be able to get at least 3 good pumping sessions in a day.

yes yes yes to all of the above, and i too pumped in the car, though never while driving. go allison go!! tinted windows were my only salvation. i love the idea of designated public pump places (oooooh, i can see the logo now) for mamas on the go.

Hm, I've been thinking about this one lately! Not an issue for me, because I telecommute to another state, and never had to pump much anyway. But I've used the rooms at the office a few times when I was there and my babies were younger. Another mom and I have discussed it, and agree with all of the above.

My office has one room in each building. They used to be called "Mother's Rooms", and sometimes they were locked and you had to have a key. Other rooms weren't locked, but there was a sign outside that could be switched to "occupied". They have chairs and magazines, that's about it. Some have refrigerators and sinks, which is great.

The bad news is, as the company is remodeling all the buildings, they're switching the "Mother's Rooms" to "Wellness Rooms" to make them more inclusive. That's fine, I guess, but seems like it will make availability more of an issue. Even now, one mom colleague of mine often has to kick people out of the mother's room because they're using it to make private phone calls.

When we were discussing our ideal pumping rooms, I thought it would be cool - but likely not economically feasible - for the company to purchase hospital-grade pumps so that moms could just buy the pump parts and not have to lug around a whole pump. And a refrigerator in the room for storage - maybe labelling supplies, even! - would be convenient.

as far as public pumping stations go....I also was occasionally "on the go" when I had to pump--try pumping in the convention center, watching them move things through the huge plate glass window while someone rehearses a speech behind you!!! or in the same room as children getting immunizations then asking mom "what is she doing?" Perhaps the least comfortable pumping situations was actually in the library on SE 122nd! (but I was most grateful for the accomodation) I never had an issue with privacy. I almost felt that I was doing society a service by being a visible, working, pumping, breastfeeding mama.

I'm wracking my brain to think of a good place out that way but none come to mind. Has anyone tried in a Starbucks? Too bad Mult. Co. Libraries don't have private study carrels....

I am eternally thankful for the Mother's Room in my office building. The room has two comfortable chairs with those little table attachments, a whiteboard, a sink, a mini-fridge, a phone, a table with drawers and a closet for storage, privacy screens to separate the two comfy chairs, a laptop, labeling supplies, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes (not sure why you need those!) and most importantly a full length mirror on the door so you can check that you are in good shape before you head out! Oh, and I forgot the hospital grade Medela Symphony pump (although I always brought my own pump)!! The room can be locked but most moms don't so they can share the room. You sign out the key from a security gaurd before using the room.

Unfortunately, this sort of luxury does seem to be company wide. I recently had to go to another one of our company's buildings and found the Mother's Room there to be woefully lacking! But yeah, I couldn't ask for more!!

i've always preferred pumping in my car...so quiet, i can listen to music or talk radio and feel like there's relative privacy.

the only thing i'd add to the list is a radio or television...something that can help the boredom without requiring the use of hands like a laptop (never could figure out how to pump without both hands!)

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