Squee woosh, squee woosh, squee woosh. Awww yes, the lovely sound of my breast pump. To date I have had three kids and three pumps. Each one claiming to be better than the last. So far I have had the Medela, the Ford Fiesta of breast pumps. It’s nothing special, gets the job done, and it looks good in black. I’ve also had the Spectra S1, the Volvo XC-90 of pumps. It claims to offer a quieter ride, requires a bigger parking spot, and is on the verge of luxury.
The truth is that both of these pumps suck (pun most certainly intended) and they get the job done. But there’s truly no way to make pumping luxurious or sexy. No matter how hard these manufacturers try to church them up (some come blinged with Swarovski crystals–I’m not even kidding), pumping just is not an attractive activity.
For at least 15 minutes each day I am hooked up to my pump, much like a dairy cow – Mooooooo – praying that my little guy doesn’t become hungry while I try to pump the milk from my oh so tired, and ooohhhh sooo very sad chest that will allow me just a few minutes of freedom to take a nap or shower (HAH! Riiiiiggghhhht). But at least I’m at home (usually) to do this.
There’s a MAJOR difference when it comes to pumping in the comfort of your own home or pumping on the road or at work. I’ve heard rumors of companies that offer their pumping moms luxury suites with comfortable recliners to pump in. And some are even rumored to offer their moms snacks and beverages to enjoy while they bottle their liquid gold.
The story I’m about to tell doesn’t involve luxury, it’s not a fairytale of pumping. No, it’s quite the opposite. So, if you’re a mom, go grab yourself a juice box and your pump, while you read this. If you’re not a mom or parent, go grab whatever beverage it is that non-moms/non-parents have in their fridges, sit back and experience the horror that pumping in working-class America has to offer. I promise you won’t be bored.
**Shameless panhandling: And please leave a comment so I can know that you lovely people enjoy reading my ridiculous tales.**
[I wrote the below a couple of years ago when I was considering writing a book about motherhood, but I’ve instead decided to share it here.]
If anyone had told me six months ago that I’d be sitting on the floor of a closet in an office, with my breasts hanging out, hooked up to tubes, with the squeak of a breast pump, I wouldn’t have believed them. But, here I am pumping away. Oh my gosh, is that what I think it is? Yep. It’s a dead cockroach. I am sitting on a dirty closet floor, pumping milk for my baby inches away from a dead cockroach. I guess it’s better than a live cockroach. And to be honest this isn’t the first dead cockroach I’ve pumped next to. I’m not sure what it is about these spots I’ve been stuffed into for pumping, but they seem to attract dead cockroaches.
Maybe I should start to mark the bags of milk in the freezer with little illustrations of a cockroach on its back.
Hmmm…maybe not. I’m sure the babysitter or in-laws would worry when they pulled that bag from the freezer. But, I have to admit the thought of my mother-in-law’s reaction to a bag of milk with a cockroach drawn on it, does make me giggle a little bit.
To date I have pumped in the locker room of a golf course, in an empty office on the floor (the chair had to be used to keep the door shut, while I sat on the floor next to the outlet, praying that George from shipping didn’t enter), in the front seat of my car, in an airport bathroom, and now on the floor of a closet with Fred the dead roach, my new bff.
The golf course locker room sounds nice, until you realize that I was only a few feet from the main door into the locker room, because that’s where the chair and outlet were located. So as people came into the locker room they got a custom greeting from me and my squeaking pump.
When you decide to breastfeed your baby you know it’s going to take a bit of commitment and even some pain. I expected pain when she’d bite me, I expected pain when she’d grab me with her tiny little fingernails that cut like razor blades and gripped tighter than a Lotus Elise going around a corner. But, what I didn’t expect was the pain of sitting on an uncomfortable floor next to a DEAD COCKROACH, waiting for someone to come in looking for files, but instead finding me with pumps and tubes attached to my chest, while wearing my beautiful pumping bra.
Having a baby also brings with it its own wardrobe. Before I got pregnant, I used to wear cute underwear, and sexy underwear, and underwear that was barely there. You know the kind of underwear that you see on sexy supermodels. Granted, it never looked as good on me as it did on those Angels, but the fact is I WORE IT! I had cute lace bras. Don’t get me wrong, sexy underwear still exists in my top drawer, and it WILL be worn again. It’s just no longer the staple. Because now my days are filled with breastfeeding and pumping, and those things don’t make room for the sexiest of undies.
Take for instance right now, I am not wearing a shirt (cool your jets, men, that’s where the sexy stops), but I am wearing the most beautiful cotton and spandex strapless bra with holes in the front where the pumps fit in and suck me dry, and it’s adorned with the most beautiful center zipper (good bye cute little bows and flowers) for easy removal. The back, instead of having the eyelits and lace, is held together with the most sensual of fabrics and closures: Velcro. Hey, I warned you that there wasn’t going to be any sexy talk.
After delivering a baby there’s a good long while before anyone is willing to put on a thong. Who wants that down there after your parts have been through a war? Not me. Instead of wear the cute lacey thongs post-partum I found myself opting for the oh so attractive maternity undies. BUT the good news is, they do come in fun patterns, like lilac and white chevrons, white with peacock feather print, and the very slimming black. And BONUS the waistband folds down, so after the baby’s left its cozy one bed-womb apartment, the maternity undies can be worn for an indefinite amount of time.
So, how long is too long to wear the maternity undies post-partum? I don’t know. It’s been over six months since my daughter was born, and I still rock them. But, I try not to look in the mirror when they’re the only thing I have on. They might be a little too big in the waist (that’s progress), and they might look a little worn. Because, let’s face it, maternity clothes while expensive are practically made with the quality of a fast food napkin. After only a few uses they start to pill and lose their shape and become more like a gauzy tent meant to hide shapes, as opposed to accentuate shapes (or the loss of shapes). I guess I shouldn’t be upset with maternity clothes losing their shape because they’re only guilty of trying to stretch over a pregnant woman’s belly. By around 30 weeks or so most of us have lost our shape and gained a new one:
See what I mean? The clothes have to stretch to fit over that. Oh wait, I’m sorry, that’s not a picture of me pregnant, that’s a hippo. But to be honest, I sure felt like a hippo! Here I am at 32 weeks:
Eventually we get our shapes back…kind of. Okay, well you’re never really the same. Everything gets redistributed. You might get back to your pre-baby weight (good job!) or not (still, good job! You brought a baby into this world!). But things will never quite be the same. Take for instance I am now at my pre-baby weight. Does that mean I can wear my pre-baby jeans? Not really. Some of them squish me in places I never knew I could be squished.
For now, I will continue to wear my mom-booty inducing maternity jeans, while I sit and enjoy the squee woosh, squee woosh, squee woosh mooooooooo, of pumping.
PS. Right down there *points down* you can leave a reply/comment. You don’t have to. But comments are like popcorn for blog writers.