All week long ELLE.com is looking at the issues surrounding pumping.
Some lucky—but far too few—new, working mothers have employers that go the extra mile when it comes to lactation rooms. These pumping palaces give a whole new meaning to the term “fantasy suite.” But the majority of women (and a few transgender men!) who pump at work do so in far less glamorous conditions. I asked my own Facebook community and working parents on a number of online support groups to share photos of their less-than-perfect lactation rooms. Many of these lactation spaces meet the letter of the law (which varies from state to state)—a private room with a locking door is pretty much all that’s required—but they’re cramped, often dirty, and not very conducive to letdown of milk. Some of these pictures represent actual violations of the law: non-private, non-locking spaces, sometimes in bathrooms. It’s a testament to the will and ingenuity of working parents—and to battery packs, nursing covers, shower curtains, and other hacks—that we make these spaces work.
Here are just a few examples of the rooms working mothers have to pump in—from the spare and unglamorous to downright illegal. We invite you to tweet us your own @ELLEmagazine using the hashtag #fromwhereipump.
Jessica Shortall is an advocate for working parents and the author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work. Follow her @jessicashortall.