Mindy Kaling’s breast pumping pics show the realities of #workingmom life

The actress and her pump are living “that all day press junket new mom life”.

Mindy Kaling’s breast pumping pics show the realities of #workingmom life

It’s a picture of something working moms see many times a day: A breast pump. There’s nothing particularly special about this pump or the anonymous room around it. The magic in this social media moment comes from the woman behind the camera—Mindy Kaling.

While promoting her new movie, A Wrinkle In Time, the 38-year-old new mom shared an image of her pump in an Instagram Story, adding two bits of text to the visual. In dubbing the device “the loneliest breast pump” and noting that it is what "that all day press junket new mom life” looks like, Kaling is telling the often untold story of so many working moms.

Our breast pumps might not actually be lonely (even the smart ones aren’t that smart), but using them certainly can feel that way. Whether you’re pumping in a hotel room like Kaling, a designated lactation room, a locked office or your car, pumping while working can make women feel isolated.

Jessica Shortall, the author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work, described why in an essay for The Bump.

“In part, it's literally isolating; you are crouched in a little closet somewhere. But on a much deeper level, it's isolating and lonely because so many working, pumping mothers spend all day carrying around a terrifyingly packed brain full of anxieties, plans, back-up plans, back-ups to the back-ups, supply stresses, working mother guilt, and oh-no-I-forgot-the-pump-bottles-at-home freak-outs.”

Considering Kaling’s press junket came on the heels of her first public apperance since daughter Katherine’s birth back in December, she probably did have a lot on her mind when she posted the pic of the “lonely” breast pump.

Luckily, there are a lot of ways working moms like Kaling can make pumping less stressful and less isolating.


Kaling’s breast pump may be lonely because her work day was so busy she didn’t have much time to spend with it. It can be painful for a mom to skip pumping sessions (not to mention bad for milk production) so experts suggest taking charge of your schedule if you can by setting your pump times in your calendar in advance. That way, it won’t be so easy for others to schedule you away from your pump.


Practicing meditation during pumping sessions can help transform pumping sessions from “lonely” to “alone time”. It’s good for your mental health, and studies indicate it can also increase milk production.

Look and Listen

If meditation isn’t something you’ve got a lot of experience in, a guided relaxation recording can really help. Research has shown that the combination of listening to audio relaxation guides with soothing background music while watching videos of one’s own child is beneficial for milk production (in addition to being a good way to destress).

Work Through It

For some people, relaxing during the pump session is the perfect solution, but others fight the feeling of isolation by staying connected, literally, by keeping up on emails or dialing into a conference call.

Talk About It

For some women, pumping at work is something done in near secrecy for fear they’ll be shamed or penalized by colleagues who perceive pump time as “extra breaks”. That kind of environment can make a pumping mom feel stressed and alone.

Fortunately, laws like the one recently passed in New Jersey mean pumping parents in many places have the right to time and designated places to pump at work.

The changing laws are changing conversations about working motherhood, and so can we. In a recent interview with Motherly the author of The Fifth Trimester, Lauren Smith Brody, suggested working moms talk openly about the realities of parenthood, including pumping.

“It’s really important and very bolstering to know that even being open about your parenthood in the workplace will make the culture better for you, and your next baby and everyone around you,” she told Motherly. “It is something we can work together on an individual level to really make a change.”

Mindy Kaling is promoting her new movie, but she’s also promoting the reality of working motherhood, and showing all the pumping mamas that they’re not alone.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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