Stock Photo Parodies Show the Funny Reality of Pumping At Work

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Associate Editor
January 30, 2017
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Image: Jessica Shortall and Laura Legg Photography

You know her, you love her, and you love her advice for dealing with the challenges of being a working and pumping mom. And now, Jessica Shortall, author of  Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work, is going to make you laugh.

Sick of idyllic stock photos of moms happily working with babies in their laps and discreetly pumping on the job, our resident blogger took on a new project: mocking those photos. She describes her work, shot by photographer Laura Legg, as a “parody series of stock photos to show what it’s really like to bring your baby’s food source to work with you: awkward, embarrassing, hilarious, and sometimes borderline inhumane.”

In spite of the fact you may not have actually lactated through a dress at a major sales meeting, these photos, while exaggerated, just might hit close to the chest. Maybe you have fumbled with your pump, dropping it in front of workers. Or maybe someone did reach for your milk in the communal fridge, mistaking it for creamer.

While Shortall’s photos imply it’s okay to laugh these things off, there’s a deeper message: It’s not okay that we have to laugh these things off. As she explains again and again, breastfeeding needs to be normalized, and part of that involves accommodating moms who need to pump at work.

But until all employers recognize this need, we’ll have to deal with those dudes from accounting who will never understand:

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