Pumping on the job: the breastfeeding mums getting things done

Photo/Instagram
Photo/Instagram 

Returning to work as a breastfeeding mum can certainly be a challenge. From leaking boobs, finding a private place to pump, lugging around all the equipment and storing the liquid gold, it's quite the juggling act.

We're becoming more used to seeing celebrity mums and their pumping photos at modelling shoots (Rachel McAdams) or backstage (Pink), but they're not the only ones #pumpingonthejob - and sometimes in weird and wonderful places.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rebeca IBCLC (@thelactationplace) on

Now Lauren Post, a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, has shared a photo of herself pumping milk in a tutu and pointe shoes. Post gave birth to her daughter less than six months ago and has since returned to the stage.

"Do pointe shoes and a tutu make pumping more elegant?! " she wrote. "Realities of the #workingmom life. I'm still trying to figure out how to juggle work and motherhood, but my heart is full."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lauren Post (@laurencpost) on

Last week, photojournalist Tara Todras-Whitehill shared this beautiful photo of herself in action, while pumping milk on location.

"When I had my son, the question of "balance" of career and motherhood started almost immediately," she wrote. "Personally, I think when we introduce "balance" into our vernacular we are setting ourselves up for failure. I know I've fallen victim to it - we just can't live up our own (and societies) impossible standards and cliches.⠀⠀⠀⠀

"There is so much I've had to consider and reconsider along the way. And I've had to be ok with letting go of things that I could do before becoming a mother. I've had to make adjustments that I didn't know existed (hence the pumping while shooting and everything that comes along with that!) But what I strive for is being fully immersed in the moment - whether I'm breastfeeding my son, or I'm getting that perfect shot."⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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A post shared by Tara Todras-Whitehill (@taratwphoto) on

And then there's researcher Adele K Reinking who pumped while on an expedition in Alaska in 2019.

"My first fear was that I'd freeze my ass off, but then it dawned on me that the risk might be far greater for my nipples. Did I really just sign up for a winter field expedition in Arctic Alaska as a new and lactating mother?" she writes in an article for Scientific American.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by 🤱🤱🏿🤱🏾🤱🏽🤱🏼🤱🏻🤱 (@right2pump) on

But doing so was a team effort. While her husband stayed at home to care for their baby, Ms Reinking notes:  "My supervisor fought tooth and nail to use research project funds to purchase the only adequate breast pump on the market. Colorado State University ultimately approved the purchase, and the National Science Foundation provided the funds to buy the pump and thus ensure my safety during our research.

"My colleagues showed exceptional patience in the field, pausing as I pumped as many as seven times a day, often being chilled to the bone as they waited for me."