The locations available to me to pump are all pretty inconvenient to say the least. I’m going to share some of my struggles and offer solutions. I think we need to shed light on this issue.
I need to tell you about the time I pumped in an Anthropologie dressing room. Or when i tried to pump at an Equinox gym, the Nomo Hotel, or the Whole Foods handicap bathroom but the outlets were broken, the sink wasn’t working, or there wasn’t actually a handicap room to use. I should also tell you about the old compactor room I pumped in at a building I manage. It was disgusting. But it actually had a sink, working outlet, desk, and lock on the door.
I work as a building manager at a a small real estate company started by my grandfather and his partner. It is now a fairly successful building management business with 19 employees and my father and his partner running the show. I spend the morning half of my days running around the city going to various appointments at residential buildings. I don't have a private office or a space in any of those properties. I spend every morning manipulating my schedule to squeeze in a pumping session between appointments with contractors who are never on time. I am in old boiler rooms and roofs most of my days. When I finally get 15 minutes to pump, I come to realize, I have no place to go. There isn’t one public building with a place to pump. I run over to buybuy baby on 27th and 7th: the last remaining big box baby store in Manhattan where they have a lactation room. I am scrambling to make it all happen by 12pm so i can make enough milk to pump a second time in the afternoon, and to time it just right to feed my daughter before I put her to bed.
Today I returned to our office in midtown around 1pm and it seems like I can only get an hour of work in before I have to pump again. I begin my daily negotiation to see who has time to stop what that are doing to let me use their private office. I use my fathers office today. I have to lower the shades, move a large shredder to get the door to close, and wait for my brother-in-law to leave. There is a large Lexmar printer in the corner with a layer of dust on it that makes it look like its from 1984. The office manager and my father are in the room with me. Somehow I agreed to this arrangement and have rationalized it as better than my other options.