pump it up!

I don’t know why Breast Milk isn’t publicly traded.

We have Gold, Orange Juice, Cattle, why not human milk?!  It’s waaay more valuable than Gold.

And yes, I did just capitalize Breast Milk.  It’s that freaking important.  I’ve long envied those who could either produce such a plentiful amount that it seemed as though they were meant to be Brad & Angie’s nursemaids (btw what is UP with having so many kids and going back to your figure in 6 days?  The adopted ones aside, that’s still like 3 or 4 kids, right?!), or those that just couldn’t make enough / didn’t want to nurse, and went straight to formula.  What freedom!  Oh, to be able to pull out your booby on demand, or to pull out that tiny bottle of Similac, anywhere, anytime.

But what about the plight of the mommy who wants to nurse, but also needs the convenience of a bottle?  Why, breast pumps, of course!

And so our saga begins.  Yes, I bought the ultra-expensive top-of-the-range hands-free Medela.  It may even have Bluetooth somewhere.  But wow is pumping a pain in the ass.  It’s stressful, uncomfortable, and highly traumatic for the guys to witness.  Andy would wince every time he’d inadvertently stumble in to me pumping away.  How do you think I felt?!  If you’re thinking “but you’re used to it” I will literally burst through this screen and rip you to shreds.

It’s enough that I’m sagging from everywhere post-delivery, but now there’s a contraption that will make me feel even more like a cow?

Yay, science?

My mother told me about the manual pumps of yesteryear.  I picture something similar to a spinning wheel, where bedraggled mommy has to floor the pedal in order to pump (through a wooden cone?)  I don’t know.  It sounds awfully splintery.  Or is it a rubber cone you attach to your breast and squeeze the bulb at the other end (like the old car horns in cartoons)?  I know manual pumps are still available, I don’t care.  I have enough nightmares about my robotic double-pump, thanks.  And I have never used that “hands-free” strap.  That pump is heavy and I’m not convinced of the strap’s anti-gravity properties.

Growing up on nightmare stories of saggy boobs, I’m always terrified of breasts that will sag later.  So I developed a highly-scientific method to pumping.  I would attach that sucker (how horrible is it that it’s an actual sucker?), holding it up by the bottle, and at the same time pull up my shoulder, so that I was uncomfortable but at least defying gravity.

And I would also squeeze.

I don’t know what the squeezing did.  I like to think it helped move the milk along.  Or that it just held me in one place so that the weight of the pump didn’t bring me down, man.

I never knew or bothered to research how best to pump.  I didn’t know it should be on a schedule.  I would only pump when I knew I had to miss a feed, or before bed, in the hopes that someone else would feed the baby at 2.00am (Please?  Someone?  Anyone?)

I’d pump in front of the TV, while we watched The Borgias at night, with my mom raising the volume and my dad studiously ignoring me, sitting as far away as possible even though I had my nursing cover on.  There’s no mistaking that noise though.  When my brother came to visit the baby, he slept on the sofa (and The Borgias marathon didn’t pause for his sleep either).  One night he woke from his jet-lagged slumber only to demand what the HELL that sound was?!

Sorry.  It’s me.  If I don’t have a baby attached to me, I have a mini-Transformer attached to me.  It’s awesome.

I’ve pumped in the back of a packed car of friends, on the way to a weekend getaway.  I was wearing a rather voluminous blouse.  The kind you start buying while pregnant and never stop wearing.  Pumping in front of my friend and her husband felt kind of awkward, but you know, it had to be done.  My first weekend away from the baby ever, and I still had to wake up twice a night to relieve my uncomfortable boobs with that pump.

Unfortunately I tried to store all my pumped milk from that trip in small Medela ziplocs, which I then put inside a Veuve Clicquot champagne bottle cooler.  The price of desperation and poor planning.  The milk was TOTALLY ruined by the time I got back.  Yes, I may have tried to pass it off to the baby anyway, hoping his evolving palate wasn’t that discerning.

It was.

I think I shed a tear as I watched all that watery, weird off-white breast milk pour down the drain.  Was it even worth going away?!

There comes a point in pumping, when your boobs are parched.  You can hear the whir, whir of the pump but instead of watching streams whiz down into the bottle, you only see droplets.


Then we get to the ungraceful part (Oh, you thought we were there already?  No.)  That moment when you know you’re as dry as can be, but you don’t stop.  The aim of the game is to eke out enough milk to hit that 6oz. mark.  The unbelievable part is when you finally concede that nothing else is coming out, so you detach and perilously shake your boobs over the rim of the funnel, savoring the plink of every last, hard-won drop, as it hits the tiny little reservoir of milk below.  Six...Ounces...Or...Bust.

Phew, I’m exhausted.  We haven’t even gotten to the Nursing portion of our program.  Next week.  I’m off to lovingly gaze at the gallon of whole milk in my refrigerator now that my nursing days are done, and perhaps tighten my bra straps a bit.