Now that I'm on my third kid, there are things I've mastered. I'm a ninja at stuffing tiny, angry legs into baby tights, for example and don't even try me on my bouncing sway. Sometimes I bounce-sway when I'm not even holding a baby. People probably think I have to pee or that I've got some sort of sensory illness and that I bounce-sway to self soothe. I was in a store the other day rocking an empty shopping cart back and forth when I realized my husband had the baby. One thing I don't have down pat? The breast pump.
First, has there ever been anything less glamorous than a breast pump? I'm convinced it's the only reason baby showers haven't made the jump to co-ed. We've started including men in every other celebration in life where women are used to suffering while segregated (wedding showers, birthing rooms, I'm sure period parties will follow suit). It's the breast pumps keeping men out of baby showers. It's the type of gift people get skeeved at and yet, if you ever want any freedom in your life as a breastfeeding mom, you're going to need to hook yourself up to the ole milkin' machine. But seriously, I don't want to receive this gift in front of your husband:
On to the myriad of problems the pump presents. A) You're supposed to match your nipple size to the various shields on the market. My friend Lindsey suggested I look up a visual guide online to compare my nipples to that of other ladies. Besides being porny, looking up nipple sizes seems more confusing than debate-settling. How am I supposed to know if my nipples are large or small by comparison to the rest of humanity?? What if my nipples just appear small because my breasts are so especially large? (What if my hair is too shiny and I have too much money?? Tee hee!). But really, are there breast-to-nip conversion charts? This is where a lesbian phase would come in handy.
The other problem is the time. Look, I drop my kids off at the gym so I can take a shower. I sway-bounce a nursing baby while I fold laundry with my teeth. I stir dinner with my feet while my ear balls are busy packing lunches! I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO FEED THE BABY TWICE.
For people like me who have trouble making milk come out by using the machine, experts recommend getting one's mind into a state of zen. The pumping mom is supposed to gaze into a picture of the baby (I supposed since the real baby is screaming for her meal, they recommend a little suspended disbelief with the Anne Geddes version you're showing to your Facebook friends).
Then you're supposed to drink water and eat oatmeal while massaging your breasts and feeding them into the pump like a flesh sandwich. I'm sorry, I'm not that Hindu goddess Durga over here with eight arms and super powers. I just can't make milk come out into a can. It ain't my game.
I wonder if I'd be more successful if someone bribed me? Maybe the picture I should gaze at when I pump is me at the Chicago Now party last year. "See there, self? Get the hang of this pump and you can dance on a table top".
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