Pumping in Public…With an Audience

The past week has been really crazy for my family. My husband was unexpectedly hospitalized (with Lyme Carditis, which means he has Lyme disease and the bacterial infection has spread to his heart). They expect him to make a full recovery after a lengthy and aggressive treatment of IV antibiotics. breast pump flange

Anyway, this meant I was spending a lot of time in the hospital with him, and I tried as much as possible to keep my kids with other adults, so they could avoid the germ-pit that is a hospital cardiology floor. So this meant I was spending a lot of time pumping at the hospital (so much for my countdown to my final pumping session).

I’m sure I could have asked for a private place to go pump if I needed privacy, but it felt important to me to be in my husband’s room and to speak with his doctors.

I tried to be with my husband each morning when the various doctors did rounds. Inevitably, as soon as I sat down to pump, another doctor walked in the room, heard the whine of the motor, made brief eye contact with me, realized what I was doing…and then never made eye contact with me again.

It would seem as though aging, male cardiologists and infectious disease specialists are still squeamish around human breasts used to create human food. I’d like to hope that it’s the oddity of the pump that set them ill at ease, rather than the idea of nursing in general.

That’s ok, though, because my job was to sit there and pay attention to what they were saying and also to provide food for my baby. More people have seen my nipples this week than in the entire rest of my life. Lucky for me I’m on my third baby and totally desensitized to such things. I’m not sure where I’d be mentally if this was my first child.

I wore a nursing tank each day and used my pumping bra, so I could drape my t-shirt over the flanges and really, not too much was visible to the docs. Except when I was done pumping and the doctors were still there chatting while I unhooked everything and dumped my milk into the storage baggies!

It sure was nice to come home to my actual baby and nurse him in the privacy of my own home, where the only people around were my other sons. They’re so used to seeing me pump and nurse that I’m not even sure it registers with them that breasts might be considered a private part.

My husband came home Friday with a PICC line, so now instead of doctors catching me pumping, the home health nurses get to see me actually nursing my baby in person!

Have you pumped with an audience? Leave us a comment to share your experience. 

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