Pumping at the coffee shop

While working away at Zocalo coffee shop I increasingly realized that I needed to take a break to pump, but I was in the middle of something. Immersed, not willing to be distracted. It’s in moments like these that I find it so damn hard to stop and pump. I just got into focus, I just started feeling productive. Right at that moment, of course, my internal breastmilk timer started to ring. Milk filling to engorgment. The ring quickly becomes a buzzer which in no time becomes an alarm. Shit! I really need to pump.

So I start looking around the room. A big wide library like space with zero nooks, curtains, or closets. In fact the space was full of people. So many people that it allowed some sense of anonymity. It reminded me of Coffitivity, an app I like to listen to when trying to focus. The clatter of coffee shop sounds give me a sense of energy and presence without actually being there or being disrupted. Everyone can be in their own zone sharing space together in the blur of the white noise. So I decided to pump right where I was. I had a small leather arm chair that afforded some side-to-side privacy and a reclined position that gave me some low profile privacy but really I was in the middle of a busy room.

Here I could slip on the nursing cover, sanitize my hands, and set up the parts and pump under the cover. As predicted the noise of the pump was barely audible to even myself. The real-life coffitivity scenario more than drown it out. The couple sitting across from me was absorbed in conversation and quiche. The people sitting adjacently were all heads down in their own moments of flow. Not even the glance of an eye passed by my pumping situation with concern or pity.

I kept working and kept eating while pumping. I had arms reach access to all of my gear. When I finished pumping I did the tear down of pump parts in my lap and then dropped my milk bag into the day vessel. Two years ago when I was pumping for my older daughter I had come to this same coffee shop for an afternoon meeting. I had the milk I had pumped that morning in tow. It had just come out of another fridge and needed to be put into a fridge during my meeting. Fridge accommodations were made but did take a few minutes to explain at the onset and upon pick-up. Being able to drop the milk bag into the vessel was way faster. No need to stand up, discuss, sheepishly hand a bag of milk, and then explain to someone else to pick up. Now I have independence and privacy in a very public place.

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One comment

  1. Brava! Love what you write, how you write and how you think. BTW, the way you think about the coffee shop is one of the backbones of a new system we’re introducing with Herman Miller. We call that state, alone together.


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    Sent on the go, perhaps too quickly.


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