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Thread: Pumping etiquette question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Default Pumping etiquette question

    I'm a professor and frequently write at neighborhood coffeeshops for four or more hours at a time. I usually have a laptop and lots of books with me. The coffeeshops nearest me only have single bathrooms, so when I go in to pump I'm basically monopolizing the entire bathroom for however long it takes. I try to pump quickly and get out. I'm not worried about people judging me or anything. I'm proud of what I do to feed my daughter. But I do feel slightly guilty about taking up the only women's bathroom for 10-15 minutes at a time.

    Thoughts? Some nursing moms suggested I could pump in the car, but that would mean packing all my stuff or at least my computer and so on to leave the coffeeshop and sit in the car in the winter. I use the Medela Harmony while out and about and can usually empty both breasts in 10 minutes or so (though I miss a second letdown this way).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    1,710

    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    Hmm, that's a tough one. I think 15 minutes is really pushing it. If you can really get in and out in 10 minutes maybe it's reasonable. If your only option were working in the coffee shop, then you just do what you have to do. But I assume as a professor (I am one also) that you have a private office you COULD be working in. Not trying to make you feel bad, but since you asked, I do think you're pushing it a bit. Sorry.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2007
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    1,710

    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    One thing you could try if you're comfortable is to tell the staff what you're doing and just make sure you can pack up and get out in a hurry if someone wants to use the bathroom for its intended purpose. A simple knock would work to signal you.

    You risk them saying "no" in that case, though.

    You could also try doing more, shorter pumping sessions, as a way to make sure people can take a turn in there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    You could get one of those nursing coverups and pump under it.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    Thanks for the replies. I do have an office, but it's twenty minutes away and a long walk from parking lot to building and colleagues pop in and distract me from writing. Just getting there would basically eat up about an hour of the time we are paying for childcare, which seems like a huge waste. The coffeeshops are less than five minutes away.

    I think I'll keep doing short stints in the bathroom and then when the weather gets nicer retreat to my car. It's good to hear other perspectives. I had a friend who told me to just go for it and people could wait (her theory was that people spent lots of time in there doing their makeup and so on, so pumping shouldn't be a huge deal), but I would think those people are rude too. *shrug* I guess there's no good option.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    24

    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    I actually thought about that and have considered it for days when it's fairly quiet. I've never seen someone PIP before, but I could probably be discreet. I'm not sure I'd want to deal with it if someone noticed and complained. Though what they'd have to complain about, I don't really know....

    I've also had some luck timing it so that I use the bathroom when there aren't a lot of other women around (avoiding lunch hour, for instance).

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*still.here View Post
    You could get one of those nursing coverups and pump under it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    It sounds like you're doing the best you can. Just the fact that you're thinking about trying to be considerate is a bonus. And if no one is complaining or giving you a hard time... Go with it.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Central VA
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    177

    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    I pump in public under a poncho. It covers more than a nursing cover. I haven't done it at a coffee shop, but I've done it at the zoo. I use a battery pack for my double electric and hang the backpack on the stroller handles.
    Mum to DS (04/07)
    EPing for former 28 weeker (03/12)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    200

    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    I'm in academics, too, and understand wanting to maximize your time. As you've said, no one has complained--you'd think by now the waitstaff would know who you are since you spend so much time at the shop, and they may even have noticed your bathroom time. That said, being a former waitress myself, I would have never told a customer they had to spend less time in the bathroom, and if you ask the manager he/she would either agree b/c they were cool with it or out of uncomfortableness of the topic. I think if you are pumping at a time when there are fewer customers in the shop, then 15 min isn't that bad and you should just continue doing what you're doing. Good job providing bm for your baby!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    18

    Default Re: Pumping etiquette question

    I think it's worth a try to see if there might be another area that you could pump in at the coffee shop. Maybe they have a staff room you could use for 15 minutes esp. where you are a frequent customer.If that doesn't work I don't think anyone would tell you that you couldn't use the bathroom for that long. I am not sure what state you live in, but a lot of states have laws protecting bfing mothers in the work place and in public, including expressing your bm. So legally, depending on your state, I don't think, at the very least, they could refuse to let you use the bathroom to pump in. And I think if someone really needed to, they could use the men's bathroom esp. considering it's a single,private bathroom. Hope this info helps.

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