Pumping is the stupidest thing ever. I hate it. Hate it so much. If it wasn't for the fact that there's apparently a million benefits for the baby and it's given me the metabolism of a teenager, I'd take my Medela pump out back and throw it in the garbage.
I know breastfeeding and formula feeding each have their difficulties, but here are six reasons why pumping is the worst, and why I will be counting down the days (41 weeks if I make it to a full year) until I can kiss this stupid pump goodbye!
The first problem with pumping milk for your baby is trying to figure out how much to give them. When I first started exclusively pumping, I acted like I was a god damn mathematician trying to figure out a complex equation.
"If baby equals two weeks old and I pump out three ounces, how many ounces should I give her before a train comes and I jump on it and run away from home?"
The benefit of breastfeeding straight from the boob is that, while it's a big mystery of how much the baby is getting (which can be a bit stressful in making sure she has enough), you don't have to guess how many ounces to put in the bottle. Formula-fed babies' parents are going through the same calculations, but throwing out an extra ounce of formula, while expensive, isn't as painful as throwing out hard earned milk.
Every time my baby finishes eating and leaves extra milk in the bottle, I revert to sounding like my own mom when I wouldn't finish eating her meatloaf: "I slaved over a hot breast pump machine to make you a nice delicious meal, and you are going to finish it!" But then I immediately relent as overfeeding is just as big of a concern as underfeeding.
While some babies will have very distinct cues as to when they are full (relaxed hands, turning away, simply stop drinking), some babies, such as my kid, would drink a 24oz bottle if you put it in front of them, leading to my over-obsession of portion control. Subtract the amount of hours you sleep from the equation, and you have a day full of confusion.
How? HOW is it possible for one baby to take up the entire top rack of the dishwasher on a daily basis? With around eight feedings a day in the first month, it makes sense to have eight bottles. But with a pumper, you have even more bottles to clean, especially if you're pumping each boob at the same time. That's math I can't do!
No matter how much I try to plan it out, at some point every day, I am frantically loading the dishwasher while busting out the Medela quick steam bags just to get the next session in before my boobs explode. Which leads me to the next issue...
When my husband asked me if it hurt to use the breast pump, I felt apprehensive as to how to answer. Having gone through giving birth, the epitome of pain, it is hard to describe anything else as "painful." So while it's not as sharp a pain as having a human come out of your body, it is exceedingly uncomfortable.
What's worse is that this pain is scheduled multiple times throughout the day, so you know it's coming. By the time I reach for the pump dial at the end of the day, I am making the same sad baby face that my newborn makes every time the pacifier falls out of her mouth.
I am constantly covered in milk, all day, every day. No matter how many baby wipes, Kleenexes, and wash clothes I keep within reach, I always manage to get milk drops on me and all over the surrounding area. Although it's not a lot in quantity, it looks like someone just took a gallon of milk out of the fridge and dumped it all over the room.
Actually, that would be preferred over human milk. I don't care how magical it is for baby. As far as getting spilled on goes, raw human milk is definitely grosser than pasteurized cow's milk. Now I know why moms like taking baths so much – for those brief moments, they're not covered in milk.
Before I got wise and splurged on a hands-free pumping bra, I was paralyzed for 15 minutes, seven times a day during those early weeks of my baby's life because I had to hold two suction cups up to my boobs. I couldn't hold anything else, unless I awkwardly used the one-arm-brace to keep both suction cups in place, which never worked well and usually resulted in one falling off and milk spouting everywhere.
The day I strapped on my pumping bra, I felt like I could fly – or at least hold a book to read while I sat there. But even with two hands, you're still glued to the pump for the duration, which feels like an eternity.
A simple thought that regularly comes to mind while I produce nutritious meals for my child: "WHY CAN THEY PUT A MAN ON THE MOON, BUT NO ONE THOUGHT TO MAKE A SILENT BREAST PUMP?!"
The sound, reminiscent of a whiny dryer, is so freaking annoying. My pumping sessions would improve by at least 60 percent if I didn't have to listen to the constant whu-WHAA whu-WHAA whu-WHAA.
My biggest hope for my daughter is that, when she becomes a mom, the world has advanced enough to offer her a silent pumping machine so that she can sit happily and in silence with my granddaughter while she creates the elixir of life.
And for her to be happy and healthy and stuff. But mostly the silent pump thing.
It takes a village!
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