6 Pitfalls Of Pumping While Working At A Restaurant

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breastpump photoPumping at work for that precious boob gold is basically the worst. Not only is it annoying to do it outside of your comfort zone (which would be in front of The History Channel wearing yoga pants for me), but most work places aren’t exactly set up to cater to this particular need. This is especially true if you work at a busy restaurant, which is exactly what I dealt with while breastfeeding my oldest child. I was 20-years-old, a student and full time waitress, and somehow managed  to pump behind the scenes at a Manhattan restaurant for almost a year. It was NOT fun. Here are some of the pitfalls.

1. Hearing “Why don’t you just use formula?” every single day

I seriously had to hear this question at least once a day from some of my less-than-supportive co-workers.

2. Pumping in a filthy bathroom

If there’s one thing Manhattan restaurants are lacking, it’s space. The place I worked at was tiny, and the back of house area was even tinier. The only place I could pump in privacy was this tiny, filthy bathroom at the back of the building. Again, not fun.

3. Losing my lunch break

For the entire year that I pumped at work I lost out on a comfortable lunch break because my 30 minute break was the only time I could pump. I mean, sure I could have scarfed down a sandwich or some chips while pumping, but who wants to eat in a filthy bathroom? Hell, I felt bad using the milk that I pumped in there, but at least I was able to keep it clean by not letting it touch anything (I pumped directly into a sanitized baggie thingy). No way I could do that with a cheeseburger or whatever.

4. Manual pumping sucks

When I say that this bathroom was tiny, I mean TINY. And the break area in this place was non-existent. Which means there was no place to store or use the fancy shmancy electric pump I had on loan from WIC. And since, again, I was a 20-year-old student with an infant, I couldn’t afford a portable one, which left me with one option – a crappy manual pump that took forever and hurt like a mofo.

5. Sexual harrassment

I ended up leaving this job over some serious sexual harassment issues on the part of a 17-year-veteran employee, but he was hardly the only guy to make sexual comments towards me. Especially when I needed to, or was trying to pump. There’s not like hearing three sous chefs chant “lemme see those titties” to get you amp-ed for pumping. NOT. And of course the managers did nothing.

6. Painful boobs

Unfortunately, due to a hectic schedule and a huge volume of customers, there were plenty of days when I got no break at all (looking back, I’m not sure how this place is still open, considering all the laws they broke). If you’ve ever been a breastfeeding mom, I’m sure you know how painful it can be not to pump or nurse for an entire 8-hour-shift. Sometimes, in the winter when I was wearing a heavy coat, I would put ice packs in my shirt on top of my bra on the subway ride home. It was that painful.

(Photo: Draw/Shutterstock)