Oh, the Places You’ll Pump!

As I mentioned in my last post, Friday night I had the honor of using my shady, backup, manual Medela breast pump in a stall of the women’s room at Penn Station in New York. It was quite the thrill. On the train home, I knew I’d need to pump during transit to keep from leaking everywhere. There is nothing in the world more disgusting than an Amtrak bathroom; I refuse to pee in one if I can help it, let alone produce food for my newborn. So I was going to need to try to pump from my seat without offending the universe or giving anyone an unsolicited eyeful. Fortunately, I was towards the front of the boarding line on this sold-out train, so I got settled at a window seat and put the shady pump on my lap as a subtle warning.

As the seats began filling up, the one next to me remained blessedly empty, but I knew it wouldn’t last. There was a 60-ish year old couple who got on the train together but split up to find seats. The woman sat down while the man moved back to put their bags up.

“John!,” she yelled, pointing in my direction, “Why don’t you take that seat right there?” He didn’t respond, continuing to look for a spot for their luggage.
“John, there’s a seat. John. John. John. John! John! Come up to this seat … John! JOHN! … John? John. Here’s a seat. John … John.


John …

John! John! John! JOHN. JOHN!”
“There’s a seat up here, John!”
“I KNOW that; I’m TRYING to put away the godamn luggage!”
“Well when you’re done, John, there’s a seat up here.”

I did not want to sit next to John.

John walks up the aisle and takes a seat… Not next to me! Hooray! But I’m not in the clear yet. Who knows what weirdo I’m going to get paired with as I try to discretely pump under my scarf with this loud, squeaky contraption that looks like a cross between a Fischer-Price train set and a Super Soaker 360.

“Is anyone sitting here?”

“No go ahead… But be advised that I’m a nursing mom & I’ll likely have to pump on the train. I’ll try to be as discrete as possible.”

“Oh, that’s great! I’m a women’s study major at Sarah Lawrence, specializing in midwifery studies. I’m glad to hear you’ve decided to breastfeed your child.” And then she got on the phone with the person she was meeting in DC and talked about their plans to make vegan zucchini brownies. For reals.

When two godless pinkos come together under the banner of boob-friendliness, it is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

In three weeks, I’m going to be in California for a wedding. Charlie’s traveling with me, but he’ll be hanging out with Grandma for most of the trip. Oh, the places I’ll pump! In a hotel room! At a vineyard! On the dance floor! At the bar! In a car! On a horse! With a Norse! It’s sure to be thrilling; not at all tedious or awkward. I’m really looking forward to it, because everyone will be super cool with it and more interested in their zucchini brownies anyway.



  1. Going back to work soon and not looking forward to the closer relationship with my pump…. especially because it will be in a dusty old storage room. While I’m there looking at the dust bunnies I’ll try to be thankful that I’m not in a Penn Station restroom!

      1. Glad to hear it isn’t too bad for you. I think this time will be easier. I went back at 6 weeks with my first son and that was miserable – trying to work and pump and nurse after he was used to a bottle all while he wasn’t sleeping through the night yet. This time, my kiddo will be over 3 months so everyone (including the sisters) are more in the groove!

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