Welcome to Room 643, the Moo-Moo room.
It was my first day on the new job. In fact, it was also my first day back from maternity leave. Baby Boy and I had finally gotten the hang of nursing, only in just enough time for me to return to work; he now needed to learn how to bottle feed, and I needed to learn how to pump. Many of my co-workers at this new job already knew that I had a newborn at home, but the subject of breastfeeding and pumping wasn’t exactly a topic covered in my new hire orientation. So, when I mentioned around lunchtime that I would like to go and pump (read: had missed what would have been approximately three morning nursing sessions, was lactating through my bra and desperately needed to empty my boobs), our HR director immediately went on a hunt for a private place for me to pump.
Having a pumping room wasn’t new to my employers, but it had been a while since someone needed the space. It took some time to coordinate and, by the time my room was set up, an embarrassing number of my brand-new coworkers had gotten involved—everyone from our Maintenance Manager and members of the housekeeping staff, to our Chief of Campus Safety to give me access to the room, to an instructor who had used the room previously—but they all helped this newbie acquire a very nice, very private, comfortable space on the sixth floor of our building that prior pumping mommas had playfully dubbed “the Moo-Moo room.”
Working at a college—better yet, a college that used to be a hotel—has its advantages when it comes to needing a private place for a working mother to pump. My Moo-Moo room is an unused student dorm room, what used to be a guest room in the hotel. My Moo-Moo room has a comfortable arm chair, a side table to rest my pump bag, a full-length mirror to make sure I’m in one piece before I return to work, a private bathroom, and even a refrigerator to store my supply for the day. Our Chief of Campus Safety even set up a TV for me, and I think I remember someone asking me if I wanted artwork put up on the walls for a cozier space. What a way to use surplus hotel furnishings to make a momma feel totally welcomed!
The Moo-Moo room is just one of so many reasons why I love my new job. I had been dreading the idea of going back to my old job, largely because there was absolutely no private space for me to pump. In fact, I had feared I would need to go out to my car and throw on my nursing cover while I pumped to feel some meager sense of privacy. Instead, I now have a comfortable, dedicated space where I can relax for twenty minutes, not be interrupted, and not feel like I needed to escape to my car and expose my boobs to the neighborhood twice a day. The nice digs aside, I really appreciated my coworkers on that first day of work who quite simply “got it” when it came to making the Moo-Moo room not just comfortable, but for going above and beyond to make it special.
I won’t breastfeed my son forever, and my stay in the Moo-Moo room may be relatively short, but the kindness and resourcefulness of my coworkers will long be remembered.