Liam and I just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. Actually, it kind of snuck up on us. On the big day, I was at my nephew’s baseball game. I happened to glance down at my iPhone calendar and notice the date. Then, I promptly sent my working husband the following text message:
Happy anniversary! It’s been a busy, but GREAT five years. Looking forward to all of the anniversaries to come when we might actually get to celebrate together, just the two of us.
Ha! Anyway, my totally awesome parents offered to babysit the three kids so we could go out to dinner. We enjoyed a great meal, but I got antsy as time went on. I knew the baby would need to eat, and I had not left any milk or bottle behind because I hadn’t yet pumped since being in the hospital, the second night after Rowan was born.
Liam suggested I start making a freezer stash of milk so he and I could enjoy being out together for stretches like that dinner date, and so he could offer for me to get away once in awhile too. I agreed this was probably a good idea.
Now, I’ve been breastfeeding for almost four out of the five years Liam and I have been married. I’ve also been working for those years, two of which were spent as a pumping mom, when Nora and Frances needed to take bottles. So, I’d say I’m pretty adept at making and expressing milk. The only problem is, using the electric pump is a real drag. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to use it to feed and nourish my kids. I’m grateful, really (What do they call this kind of thing? A first world parenting problem?).
However, as I’ll likely be hugely dependent on the electric pump once I go back to work in August, I’d like to enjoy this time going au natural as much as possible. Maybe you can understand why the thought of having to: 1) find and sterilize all the pump parts, 2) hook up the tubing, 3) don the hands-free bra, 4) set up the pump cones inside the bra, 5) get everything going for ten minutes or longer, and 6) disassemble everything afterwards, all while during my relaxing (ha!) maternity leave—where I get to enjoy actually nursing my baby—might be a bit overwhelming. And like I said, a real drag.
So, I decided instead to try out a manual pump, something that’s touted as just as effective at removing milk, only minus all of the high maintenance. Why have I not considered this sooner? I just don’t know.
Anyway, I ordered one on Amazon, and, like magic, it showed up on the porch two days later. I’ve only pumped two bottles’ worth of milk so far, but it’s been amazing. Uh-mazing! I can operate it one-handed while I nurse the baby. It pumps super fast—much faster than my electric, and it’s not all noisy and clunky and…well, clunky. I just can’t believe it’s come to me so late in my breastfeeding journey.
I also can’t believe I once took a day trip to Philly with Liam and used the battery option on the electric model to pump both behind a bush in the park at Rittenhouse Square, as well as in a stall in the ladies’ room at the Mütter Museum—the latter place during which a woman in the stall next to me asked aloud what was going on in there. There being my noisy stall. Apparently, she thoought I was busy filming other restroom occupants, and had no qualms expressing this awkwardly through the wall.
When I explained—again, awkwardly through the wall—that I was simply pumping milk for my child, and not being a Peeping Tom, she congratulated me and told me to keep up the good work.
Come to think of it, I also had to lug that clunky pump on a 4th grade field trip to both the Baltimore Aquarium and its visitor’s Center, not to mention the number of times I’ve used it in the car, maybe even while driving, though the user’s manual clearly states that is a hazard and not to be done. Ever.
Well, never again! Thanks to my handy-dandy new manual pump, I will now be expressing milk in public spaces and in the comfort of my own home, much more quietly and discreetly, and with fewer attachments and hassle than ever before! I may even try pumping while walking to get the mail at the end of the driveway, or while grocery shopping, if I think I can get away with it.
Then, I can save the clunkster for back-to-work in August when I get to look forward to the scary possibility of being walked in on and interrupted mid-pumping session by both my principal and building janitor—yes, this has happened (three times!) despite my classroom door being locked, much to everyone’s mortification.
Oh, the joys of pumping. There are really so many. Not.