Working Moms

Pumping at Work - What do you say?

I've gotten pretty good at excusing myself to go pump at work - knowing who will be mortally embarrassed if I say "I have to go pump" and who needs a gentle "I need to go do my thing" while picking up my bag.  Most folks recognize the bag by now.

But what do you say when someone knocks on the door of the room you are pumping in?  I pump in whatever conference room happens to be available.  If the sign-out sheets on the doors are up to date, I mark off an hour (I only pump on my lunch break) with my name, and I lock the door, but that doesn't stop people from knocking occasionally.  I feel like I have to say *something* so whomever it is doesn't assume the door got locked with no one in there and let themselves in with a key.  Since I don't know who is knocking, I don't really know what would be TMI, and I don't want to say "Who is it?" because I really don't want to have a conversation at that point!  I've tried "I'll be out in a minute" but that's usually not true, and makes me feel rushed.  I just shouted "Occupied" the other day, but it didn't seem to really make sense.

So I'm curious what other ladies have done.  The real solution is probably to get a "Do Not Disturb" sign, but some people might still knock.

Re: Pumping at Work - What do you say?

  • How about "I'll be done in X minutes"? Give them an accurate time, that way they know both that the room is occupied, and when it will be available.
  • If I had to excuse myself, I'd usually say "I'm going to go take my break."  Most people knew what that meant.  On the door of the room, I had a sign with a cow that said Privacy please.  Done in 20 minutes.

  • I love the sign with the cow idea!  I remember my one co-worker who had to deal with this (before the room was made into an offical mother's room - she would just go in, lock the doors, lower the shade and had a big do not disturb sign and then she stock a post it note on that saying - room will be free at x time.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • I actually get really annoyed about this.  Yesterday, I closed by door and locked it (as I do every day when I pump) and someone knocked on the door.  I didn't say anything, so they jiggled the handle, realized it was locked and knocked again.

    It really irritates me b/c if I was on an important phone call, I wouldn't respond.  So why does someone think they can open my door if I don't answer?  And they don't need to know what I'm doing!!!

    Sorry vent over....I liked the PPs idea about saying occupied and/or giving a time when you will be done.

  • image jlw2505:
    she stock a post it note on that saying - room will be free at x time.

    The post it is essentially what I've come up with after having the same dilemma. Just locking the door didn't work (people would try to come in anyway...sort of an eye opener that people are perusing my office if they think I'm not there!) and saying, "Who is it?" did exactly what you said: invited an awkward conversation and I'd have to either a) carry out weird convo through the door, or, more often, b) find out it was my boss (!) and interrupt pumping which awkward and just drags everything out timewise. The post-it note has been the best: I just write 'back in 15 min., stick on the door and lock it. 99% of the people in my office have figured it out and the other 1% aren't surprised when the door is locked.  

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  • I always said, "I have to break now but will be back in 20 minutes." 

    I used a Do Not Disturb sign, but I had a dedicated room for me.  I think in your situation a sign on the door saying Do Not Disturb would be good.  The time you'll be finished would be nice, but I don't think it's completely necessary.

  • I had my own room and most folks (minus the one person who is supposed to be the gatekeeper) understood that if I was in there to leave me alone. This lovely woman would come back to my room and knock on the door rather than 1)page me so I would know someone was here or 2)tell them I'm unavailable for 15 freaken minutes.

    I always took my cell phone in there so if I needed to make a call I could and if something critical was going on someone could call me.

    We always just said I was in 'my room' or 'the mom's room'. The sad thing is my student workers were more mature about it than the gatekeeper lady.

  • i pump in whatever exam room happens to be free. it's not often but from time to time i get interuppted or hear a key in the door.  i just yell out- "i'm pumping!" and they go away.  lol. 
  • I think a sign that says "do not disturb for ____ minutes" should be good enough and if people are knocking then I would honestly ignore them.  The only thing that should be important enough to disturb you for is a fire, and that's what fire alarms are for.
  • Before I had a baby I worked at an office where a woman had a sign on her office - PUMPING- DO NOT ENTER.  It didn't bother me (I didn't think it was weird) and I thought it was a good idea - certainly if you say that no one will want to bother you ;)  
  • I have a do not disturb sign on my office door.  However, people still seem to knock.
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  • I had to put a DND on my door.
  • I worked with a woman who would lock the office and put a sign with a picture of a cow on it in the window LOL...
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