Using a breast pump at the airport

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When you’ve gotta pump, you’ve gotta pump.

If you’re at home, it’s no big deal. But what if you’re a traveling mom on the road?

My best friend, a new traveling mom, just returned from maternity leave and went on her first overnight business trip. She booked her days full with client appointments, so she could hurry home to be with her 4-month-old son. But she forgot to budget any breast pumping time.

She rushed from client to client, and kept postponing the task. Soon, she was leaking badly. But thanks to her nursing pads, she managed to see all of her clients without any embarrassment.

When she finally had a minute, she was in the Albuquerque, N.M. airport, waiting for her flight home. So she took her breast pump into the bathroom and, to her horror, found that the only working outlet was right next to the door. That would have to do; she was in pain now. Her flight was leaving in 30 minutes, and she couldn’t put it off any longer.

Trying to be discreet, she put the suction cups underneath her shirt and faced the wall, trying to avoid eye contact with the stream of women walking in. Of course, that didn’t work. Every woman who walked into that airport bathroom stopped and stared suspiciously, wondering what she was doing and what that monotonous eh-eh-eh sound was coming from her black bag.

Younger girls seemed repulsed. A few traveling moms offered sympathy, empathy and a smile. Everyone seemed a tad uncomfortable at the sight of her, but soon, this traveling mom couldn’t ignore how funny this scene was. She faced forward and started greeting people as they came and left the bathroom.

Maybe by coincidence, or perhaps because someone notified the authorities, a female TSA employee came into the bathroom. As soon as she saw this traveling mom, she whipped around and left, returning quickly with another female TSA employee. They both stared at her suspiciously. She exposed the breast-milk bottles hanging beneath her, and waved to them. They all shared a good laugh, and left her to finish her pumping.

Traveling moms, have you ever had to use a breast pump in a less than convenient place while on the road?

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