A couple of weeks ago, I went on a short trip and could not take my son with me. I took the breast pump with me on the plane because I knew that I'd have to pump while on the plane and would probably feel miserable if I waited until I'd reached my destination.
The pump was checked by security, and it was a bit uncomfortable when the TSA employee at the scanner said very audibly, "We have a breast pump." I shrugged it off and went on my merry way.
During my flight, I waited until beverage service was over to go relieve my breasts in the bathroom. I excused myself to the lavatory and waited in line. Apparently, the only other lavatory for coach passengers was completely out of service. I asked one of the flight attendants if I could sit in there and pump. She would not allow it and was actually quite rude about it. She waved her hands around as she said, "There is something on the floor, and I don't know what it is." Okay. So at least I asked.
I took 10 minutes in the bathroom while I pumped AND peed. I was trying to take care of things as quickly as possible. My first full-on dump was rather emotional for me, but since I had no way to properly store the milk or sanitize the parts, I had very little choice. When I opened the door from the lavatory, there was a long line of very impatient passengers who all gave me dirty looks and muttered things under their breath as I made my way back to my seat. I felt *this* tall. I went back to my seat and cried. I'd never felt so alone or so misunderstood as a breastfeeding and pumping mom.
Thankfully, my return flight home was much more relaxed, and I got to have a lavatory all to myself without a cross word or huff of impatience from anyone.
Experiences like this further add to my frustration about how very little the general public knows or cares about breastfeeding. I'm very grateful that my little guy picked up right where we left off, and we've maintained a wonderful breastfeeding relationship since.