When you think about the task of pumping after you have your baby, it’s easiest to imagine doing it in the comfort of your home. The idea of pumping on your couch with the TV on and only your family around to see, it’s not so daunting. But the need to pump in public is, for many, a quintessential postpartum experience. You may not consider it before you have the baby, but once you’re in the pumping phase, there’s a good chance you’ll need to do it outside of your home.
The experience of pumping in public is one that you get used to with time, but it’s undeniably intimidating at first. But thanks to devices like wearable breast pumps and a good pumping bra, doing it comfortably and discreetly is easier than ever. So if you’re preparing for your first time, read on for some tips to make pumping in public the easiest experience possible.
1. Opt For A Wearable Pump
Technology has definitely come a long way when it comes to pregnancy and postpartum gear, and the wearable pump is the perfect example. If you’re feeling especially uneasy about obvious pumping or you just want to go for the most discreet option possible, get a wearable pump. These are cordless, tubeless, wireless, and you can wear the breast-shaped devices inside your bra, under your shirt, with your outfit fully intact. It’s also extremely quiet, allowing for an extra discreet pumping session. The pump is controlled by an app on your phone, giving you all the digital details you could want about your pumping volume and patterns. You may have to shell out some extra cash for this device compared to other pumps, but if you’re uneasy about pumping in public, it’ll be worth it.
2. Wear A Pumping Bra
Aside from a wearable pump, one of the most convenient ways to pump in public is to wear a pumping bra. Pumping bras ensure that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re ready to pump when the time comes. On the one hand, it’s a comfortable bra that you can wear all day long; on the other, it’s an item that’s made to make your pumping experience as easy as possible. Pumping bras are typically characterized by slits in the front that are designed to hold the pump in place, allowing for hands-free pumping. When the time comes to pump, there’s no need to change or remove clothes; you simply attach your device through the slits in your pumping bra and you’re ready to go.
3. Use A Battery-Operated Breast Pump
A must-have for public pumping is a breast pump that’s battery operated, eliminating the need for you to sit near an outlet as you pump. Since they’re powered by battery, these breast pumps are typically smaller and more portable than those that need to be plugged in. Naturally, they’ll also be a little less powerful than their wired counterparts, but it’s worth the trade for easy public pumping. With a battery-operated pump, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting at your desk, in the bathroom at the mall, or on a train commuting somewhere – you can pump anywhere, any time. Pair it with a pumping bra and you’ll experience optimal hands-free convenience.
4. Accessorize With A Nursing Cover
We’re lucky enough to live in a time where not only are there endless options for maternity clothes, but those options are also trendy and attractive, and nursing covers are no exception. A nursing cover can be a shawl, a scarf, a cardigan, a poncho, or even an apron, and many of the available options are items you might not even recognize as maternity clothes if you didn’t know their purpose. And don’t be fooled by the name; nursing covers are great for nursing, of course, but if you want to just cover up and pump discreetly in public, they do the job perfectly. Accessorize your outfit with a nursing cover, and you can attach your pump and do it anywhere you want while remaining completely covered up. It’s a great way to ease yourself into pumping in public and add to your outfit at the same time. Expect compliments.
5. Invest In A Good Breast Pump Bag
If you’re going to pump in public, you need to have the right bag to carry it all. Even the most portable kinds of pumps aren’t going to fit in your purse; you’ll want a bag that’s specifically designed to hold not only a breast pump, but also the necessary gear that comes with it, like bottles, batteries, tubes, and more. Tossing your gear in a tote bag won’t exactly cut it, and if you’re dealing with $100+ pumping equipment, you’re going to want an adequate bag to protect it as you carry it with you regularly. Plus, a pumping bag makes pumping in public more convenient by keeping the equipment organized and easy to access.
6. Pump On Your Commute
Finally, one of the best hacks for pumping in public is to get it done on your commute. It’s the perfect way to be passively productive; you’re crossing one task off your list during a time when there’s not really much else you can do. You’re already (hopefully) sitting down, and with the right gear and accessories (like those we’ve outlined in this article), you can publicly pump while on a train or bus and be incredibly discreet about it. Sure, you can make your pumping pretty convenient and hands-free with the right devices, but you can make it even more convenient by doing it at a time when there’s nothing to do but kill time. Get the right gear for you, and check this task off your list on your daily commute. It’s one of the most convenient places you can pump in public.
There’s definitely a learning curve to pumping in public, and a comfort curve too. The experience isn’t going to be the same for any two women; everybody has different comfort levels, experience levels, and schedules. But with the right gear and a few tips to get you started, you might just find that pumping in public isn’t the daunting task it appears to be before you’ve tried it.