Pumping in Public and in Front of People: How to Pull it Off

The thought of Pumping in public may seem like a daunting and uncomfortable task.

Not only does it require the extraction of fluid from your body, but it’s happening in somewhat of an unusual way for most people to observe.

Pumping in front of people isn’t something you probably even gave one minute of thought to before you had your baby, but here you are mama.

When nature calls…

Scroll your way through this post to get some awesome ideas and tips that should hopefully help you navigate your way through the strange “mom only” world of pumping in public.

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Pumping in Front of People 

Remember before you had your first child and you were modest, shy and maybe even a little embarrassed at the thought of exposing yourself to strangers?

Some of you may not know this feeling, especially around the age of 21.

All joking aside, we all go through phases. But now you’re a mom and probably even have a reputable career.

Even so, after you have your first child, a lot of those shy feelings leave you – you become a machine, literally.

Some of us exclusive pumpers are hooked up to one for most of the day.

Which leads me to the great discussion on how to unapologetically pump in front of people. This could be your in-laws, co-workers and even your own husband.

How to Pump When you Have Visitors and Around Family 

Pumping in front of people, especially family is probably unavoidable if you are an exclusive pumper. After all, pumping 8-12 times per day pretty much clocks you in at full-time employment.

The thought of pumping at Thanksgiving in your Grandma’s 1945 2 bedroom cottage amongst 30 relatives you only see once or twice per year is not ideal.

I’m sure Uncle Leroy would raise an eyebrow or two. Or better yet, he’d want a closer look to examine how the contraption worked.

Sigh, you get the picture.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect way to pump in front of family or around visitors without someone feeling uncomfortable.

The best you can do is try to find a private space and use a nursing cover just incase Uncle Leroy loses his way to the bathroom.

Or, as pointed out earlier, you can invest in a concealable pumping kit that literally makes pumping almost undetectable to most.

Honestly though, the last way you want to feel is like you are a prisoner in your own home when you have visitors over. I have felt like this and it’s very frustrating.

Having said all of that, yes, others may feel weird seeing you set up your bottles or hearing the sound of the pump running and milk sloshing, but they can get over it.

No apologies!

How to Discreetly Pump at Work

Pumping at work may feel incredibly awkward which can lead to anxiety that can then hurt your letdown reflex and milk supply.

Here are some tips to help you feel less weird about pumping at work and how to do so discreetly.

Best Clothes for Pumping at Work

Some clothes to consider wearing to work for the most discretion while pumping are items like nursing tops and tanks under a jacket or sweater. 

I think Kindred Bravely has some really nice clothing pieces for pumping and nursing moms that would be great staples for wearing to work as well.

Just think layers when it comes to dressing for pumping around people at work.

The more layers you have to work with, the easier of a time you will have concealing your pumping kit from anyone’s view.

And if people are really that nosey, use one of my free pumping door signs or get a premium one from my Etsy shop!

Use A Wearable Pump

Wearable breast pumps like the Willow Pump have literally been game changers for breastfeeding moms who regular pump in public or at work.

You really can’t get more discreet than a concealable pump that fits right into your bra and under your shirt. It’s quiet, lightweight and efficient.

Yes, a wearable pump like the Willow will cost you a pretty penny, but they now offer manageable monthly payments through Affirm if you qualify. 

You can also quickly fill out this form with Aeroflow to see if your insurance will cover a portion of it.

Use A Simple Nursing Cover

Maybe you just want to keep things simple and cover yourself pumping at work with a nursing cover. 

Easy peasy!

In fact, you are in luck, because I have a discount code for one that practically lets you take one home for free!

Use Your Commute

I must mention this option because it could mean two less pumping sessions at work for you, or maybe none at all!

To cut-down on your time having to pump around co-workers is by using your commute to work wisely and pumping in the car.

Places to Pump in Public

When out in public and you need to pump, but really want your privacy, where can you go other than a luxurious porta-potty? 

Yes, I know… Gross.

But sadly, I can guarantee you it has been done along with some even stranger places moms have found themselves pumping at.

Other than a restroom stall, where in public can you seek to find a space suitable for pumping? Below are some options you may find suitable.

  • Many baby department stores offer nursing rooms that are comfortable, clean and private for breastfeeding and pumping mamas.
  • Hotel lobby restrooms are usually much cleaner and less frequently occupied.
  • Hospitals or OBGYN waiting rooms.

Thankfully, public nursing pods are popping up everywhere, and it’s about time! 

There are also breastfeeding room locator apps, like Moms Pump Here and Mamava that can help you find the right facilities. 

Another public place you may end up spending a lot of time in is the airport. As of recently, most airports now offer easy access to nursing pods, mother’s rooms and breastfeeding stations.

7 Best Tips for Pumping in Public

It’s easy to find tips and resources for mothers who nurse their babies in public, but not so much for pumping moms.

The truth, is that most mothers who breastfeed will occasionally, if not exclusively use a breast pump.

Let’s change this bias breastfeeding culture and affirm pumping as just as important of a human right as nursing a baby is. 

The tips below are to help you better navigate pumping in public, some tips may be repeated from earlier, helpful for those of us with foggy mom brain.

We need a little extra reminding sometimes.

1. Use a Nursing Cover

A nursing cover is a simple and effective way to pump discreetly when doing so in front of people. You can find cute and comfy nursing covers anywhere that even double as carseat covers and more.

Here are a few I found at Amazon for you to explore.

2. Carry a Manual Breast Pump 

A manual breast pump is a must-have for portable pumping purposes. These non-electric pumps are always ready to go and can fit in almost any bag.

If you’re looking for a good manual breast pump, I like this one here.

3. Wear a Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Having the right equipment on under your clothes can make the task of pumping in public less of a hassle.

In addition to a pumping bra, like this one, consider wearing a button down top over it or a nursing tank for easier access.

4. Use A Concealable Pumping Kit

For added discretion when pumping in public, a concealable pumping kit or breast pump is the best way to go.

A preferred kit for this purpose would be Freemie Collection Cups that can be used with almost any breast pump. I recommend the BabyBuddha or Genie Plus (find discount codes here).

5. Have A Photo or Video of Baby

More than likely you won’t be going many places without your phone, that I can guarantee is saturated with adorable photos and videos of your baby.

These emotional triggers will come in handy when pumping in an uncomfortable place, making it easier to relax and have a letdown.

6. Invest in a Great Breast Pump Bag

A breast pump bag you can keep packed with essential pumping gear is crucially important in helping you achieve safe and sanitary pumping sessions outside of the home.

Keep your bag stocked with must-have pumping items, find a full list of those items and how to pack and organize your bag in this must read guide.

7. A Place to Store Your Breast Milk

Probably the most important aspect of pumping in public and on the go is what to do with your breast milk. It’s best to plan ahead in this case to ensure you can save your pumped milk from spoiling.

A Cold Gold Cooler, like this one is small and made for 4 bottles of breast milk or a small stack of breast milk filled bags. Just don’t forget to put the ice packs in or simply grab ice while you’re out.

Storing breast milk chart infographic image.

Last Thoughts

Pumping in public and in front of people is no daily challenge for most people. But for some of us moms, it’s a very real reality we can learn to adjust to quickly.

Just know, that you are not alone.

Many of us, including me, have pumped in some very awkward places.

However, after reading this, hopefully you now have some better guidance on how to conquer pumping in public or around family during Thanksgiving.

And remember, you ALWAYS have the right to pump for your child, no matter what anyone says. 

Thanks for reading and share this to shed some light!

Read Next: Best Breast Pumps for Exclusive Pumping, On the Go and Beyond!