PHOTOS: Where Kansas City Mothers Pump Breast Milk
Going back to work after having a baby can create a daunting to-do list for new mothers.
Find a quality day care, adjust work schedules, come up with a contingency care plan when the baby’s sick — and so on.
And if the mom nurses or breast feeds, high on that list is figuring out how and where she will pump her breast milk when she’s away from her baby.
In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been asking new moms to share photos of where they pump.
Our request hit a chord, yielding a slew of photos, emails, tweets and Facebook messages from moms eager to talk about their pumping scenarios.
We also sent out an online survey through our Tell KCUR network, asking moms to go a little deeper and tell us about their maternity leave experiences.
Moms fired back a range of responses, telling us about pumping rooms in pristine, softly lit spaces with rocking chairs and sinks.
But they also told us about having to get creative by pumping in cars and dark storage closets, depending on what their employer provided.
Abby Heyen, of Lee’s Summit, tells us that when she’s at work, she pumps in a warm computer server room “amongst the spiders and 100s of lines of cable.”
On Twitter, Dana Horesh shared a more outdoorsy pumping experience.
We heard that for some new mothers, the road back to work and into the pumping room has been a supportive one.
“I pump in my office at my desk,” says Gillian Helm, who is the executive director of Literacy Kansas City. “I am ED of a Kansas City-based nonprofit, which means the environment is as friendly as I make it!”
Moms shared plenty of photos of cozy pumping rooms at their offices:
For others, it’s been a bit rockier.
On Facebook, Aimee Boer tells us she works in a large hospital in Kansas City, where there are a few so-called “lactation stations.”
“Working in a female dominated field, demand often exceeds availability of such facilities,” Boer writes. “Therefore, I often pump in offices, closets and unoccupied patient rooms.”
Katie Uhlenhake, of Shawnee, Kansas, says it’s stressful to have to step away from your work multiple times a day, knowing it piling up.
“I pump in a storage room, so it is very awkward when someone knocks, even when there is a sign on the door clearly stating, ‘room in use,’” she writes us via the Tell KCUR form.
Lesleigh Cetinguc in Overland Park, Kansas, says the environment at the school she works in has been very supportive. Her principal provided her office with a mini fridge for milk storage and coworkers are willing to watch her students while she pumps.
“My struggles come from not always being able to pull away from my students and pump when needed because my students have specific and challenging needs,” Cetinguc says. “It can be quite painful to have to wait. I work with student(s) with severe emotional disturbance(s) and behavioral struggles and when a student is in crisis, it isn't best practice for me to just up and take my 20 minutes.”
Click on the slideshow at the top of this story for more photos of where Kansas City moms are pumping, an activity that’s been keeping me occupied for nearly a year since the arrival of my daughter.
Many of these mothers shared their stories as part of a Tell KCUR survey. Tell your story here. Or become a source for our Tell KCUR network and help inform our reporting. Tell KCUR is part of an initiative to engage the community and shine a light on your experiences and opinions.