If you ever think your marriage is going splendidly and your life is really very brilliant, you should take your newborn and your toddler to Babies R Us on a rainy Saturday morning with half of Seattle on a major sleep deficit. Make sure you do it right around lunch and nap-time so you all have a meltdown. And then, inform your spouse that it’s time to pump your (albeit very ineffective) milk producing teats and try to do so in public.
It only sounds like a made for TV movie coming out Summer 2008, but it’s my life.
I recently decided to make use of the battery pack for the pump so I wouldn’t be so tied to the “MUST BE HOME IN THREE HOURS” chain that we’ve been tethered to for three weeks. What I didn’t think through, was where I would actually be able to sit down and stick my sore, cracked nipples in to the flanges. In the NICU, there’s a mom pumping for her preemie every few pods. At home, I have a nice set-up upstairs that’s actually relaxing and enjoyable. (If I forget about the painful tug-tug-tug of suction and the pathetic amount of milk it produces, it’s almost like a mini-vacation. That is, if your mini-vacation didn’t include any alcohol and you thought someone pulling your teats to China and back simply for a drop or three of boob-juice was actually fun. But I digress…) On the road, however, there really isn’t an appropriate place to watch with joy as you leak milk in to a bottle. If you thought people got crap for nursing in public, you really should try milking yourself in public. You may as well saunter up to a farmer and start mooing. The pumps boast professionalism, but there’s nothing professional about being milked like the animals that crap in a pasture. A cow doesn’t need a stylish handbag.
We drove around looking for a parking spot that I could sit, discretely, with a blanket over the flanges for ten minutes that wasn’t right next to someone sitting in their car. Of course, the day we try to do this, there are several cars filled with one dude eating lunch. Naturally, all the open parking spots where next to someone with a perfect view of our front seat.
I thought I’d just go to the very back of the X-terra and sit there but that would entail moving the stroller, bags, toys and emergency kit. I couldn’t sit in the back seat because of the children. My only option, then, was to back in to a parking spot and pray nobody looked for a few minutes while I got set up. God wasn’t so much listening to that one.
Mr. Flinger helped get the pump set up while I put a blanket in the window. We tried to hurry and hook up the flanges and place the blanket over them before anyone walked by. Do you know how hard it is to actually center your nipples in those things? Especially when you’re not watching what you’re doing and are watching the man watching you in his rear-view mirror? Or how impossible it is to actually relax and “think pleasant thoughts about your baby, life-giving-thoughts about the food you are producing and the joy of motherhood” when you’re watching three business men walk up to your car in suits and one glances in? I’m pretty sure he’ll need therapy. He may never enjoy a good titty bar again.
My goal was to pump until I reach Baby O’s due date. I’ve been keeping a log of how much milk I actually produce and today I may reach three ounces.. Total… For the entire day of 8 pumping sessions. But three ounces is just enough to justify doing it for another week or so. Three ounces sounds like a lot when you’re talking Vodka. Three ounces, though, won’t get me through the public pumping sessions especially when I have to pay for the psychiatry bills I’ll accrue. I’m sure this image is disturbing on several levels. Thank god there’s not a mirror.
After I had my T.T., I breastfed while I could and one day, funnily enough we were at Toys R Us, I had to feed him. I put a blanket in the window of my mum’s car and started to breastfeed him. There was a kid in the car next to my mum’s trying to get a good view through the window with the blanket. How pervish could that kid be? hehehe Just kidding, I know that he was possibly curious and not at all pervish.
By Fluffy Girl on 2007 06 09
HA! Thanks for the flash backs! I used to pump on my way to work and on the way home every day (G drove not me). He HATED it. I could care less - they are boobs! And it’s not like everything was out in the open either. (A sports bra or old bra that doesn’t fit with holes cut just enough to stick the back end of the shield through works wonders!)
By Nicole on 2007 06 10
I’m curious (and probably missed it on a previous post)... what kind of pump are you using?
You might try renting a hospital-grade pump. I know a lot of women who had better results with them than they did with a Medela or Avent. I used one for the 3-4 weeks Brody was in the NICU and by 3 days postpartum I could produce 6-8 ounces in a sitting. Sure, it felt like my soul was being sucked out through my nipples every 3 hours, but DAMN! I got home and borrowed a Medela PIS and never got more than 3 oz, and eventually dried up. (Which was fine, since I had to stop giving him breastmilk since I was on crazy pills.) Your health insurance might even cover it.
By Kate on 2007 06 10
Then again, I can *still* lactate on occasion, so there’s a better than average chance that I’m just a freak.
(When I went to visit my 2-week old nephew this spring, when he cried, I actually experienced LET DOWN. Mind you, Brody never even NURSED, and the kid is 2 1/2 frickin’ years old. I’m still traumatized. And leaking colostrum.)
By Kate on 2007 06 10
You should try a bathroom stall next time. There’s a bit more privacy that way..and the only people in the area are women anyway.
But I totally laughed while reading. My comment was only going to say “hahahahaha”.
By Abby on 2007 06 10
A lot of times, kid friendly places will let you use their dressing rooms. Also, you might try using the car adaptor instead of the battery pack- I’ve heard that it gives much stronger action. Finally, I found that I got better results with a slightly lower setting so, you might want to fool around with that a little. Way to go on 3 ounces! That’s actually really great! With such a little tummy, a little goes a long way. And, it only takes a little bit of mommy milk to give all the benefits so, even if you are needing to do lots of suplimenting, you’re still doing fabulously!
I’ve heard it’s just a wives tale but I’ve also heard women swear by drinking a beer (stout may be the best) while breastfeeding which might also work with pumping. And it really couldn’t hurt anything to try.
I have been amazed at how well the window tinting in our minivan works- especially with the built-in roller sunshades. I have sat in the 2nd bench (the 3rd is taken up by 2 dog crates but if we didn’t have those, you could totally fit all manner of things in the cargo space and still have a 3rd row) nursing Charlie and people walk right next to us and don’t see a thing. It’s actually a mildly amusing way to pass the time. The Odyssey is calling you…
You are doing a great job! Way to go! I can’t believe you have stuck with it this long!
By Becky on 2007 06 10
Good job for sticking with it for so long!
My pumping story -
I pumped every day in a small conference room at my school. I had a discrete ‘do not disturb’ sign and only a few teachers knew what I was doing in there…Then during a staff meeting, someone brought up places in the building that were good for testing students and the male principal commented, “not if Amy’s using her breastpump in there!” I had a mind-reading moment of 25+ staff picturing me milking myself during my prep time….
By Amy< on 2007 06 10
You really should write a book, it would be so entertaining to read. You had me in stitches! I think it is great that you are sticking it out. Hang in there!
By Holly on 2007 06 10
Can I say how much I admire you for sticking with it so long? Sad to say but I probably would have given up by now in your situation.
By sleeping mommy on 2007 06 10
I pumped for 30-40min going 60-70mph on I-90 one time (dh was driving, not me). No blanket, nothing. A lot of people did double and triple takes. I was seriously engorged and didn’t care who saw me. It was amusing. I like to think I educated people in Spokane that day…
3 ounces is a lot for a day, especially with a newborn (and even more so with the whole NICU thing thrown in). So yay for the flinger boobs!
Would bad things happen if you went from pumping every 3 hours to 4-5 hours? So your supply can get a little extra time to recharge and you’re not so stressed out about it? It definitely made a difference for me, going from trying to pump (in tears) every 2-3 hours to waiting until 4 hours. I ended up getting so much more milk (like 2 ounces vs. 1/2 ounce in one sitting) and the stress of *having* to pump so often was lifted.
By Lanna on 2007 06 10
Go Mom!!! As a former pumper, I nod & relate… No nursing/pumping room at BRU? Shame on t hem!!
By Marie on 2007 06 10
I agree with Kate up there. If you are going to maintain your supply, you need to have a hospital-grade pump. I used a Medela Symphony and it worked well (though nothing is effective -or as painful at first! - as a hungry little mouth). The Pump In Style isn’t intended to maintain a non-nursing mom’s supply. It’s mainly for working moms who nurse except when they’re away from their babies.
I’m so proud of you for keeping up with it. I know it must be brutal. I really hope you get to maintain nursing, even a little bit; it really is an awesome experience.
By laura on 2007 06 10
Actually, the pump-in-style is pulling much more than the hospital one we rented. I switched to the pump-in-style and back to the hospital one a few times to see if it was the pump or my milk. Turns out, for some reason, I get more using the pump-in-style. I know! It’s weird.
And Kristina (Of http://kristinabrooke.org/ ) sent me the most wonderful email EVER about pumping and having a baby in the NICU after a breast reduction and I’ve been following her advice to the Tee. (Including two servings of oatmeal a day. Why? I dunno. It helps. You got me!) And three ounces? Honestly? Better by about three times what I ever thought I’d get.
By Mrs. Flinger on 2007 06 10
Yeah! Totally been there! I got really good at pumping in the car. One time I was totally running late between appointments and I actually had to pump while driving. Now now…before you judge, I only did it ONCE because I was desperate and because I knew I would absolutely explode before my next three back to back appointments ended. I did pretty good at shifting and detaching without dripping everywhere at the stoplights by the time I got across town.
With Daughter, I was thrilled to have a locking office in which to pump. I wasn’t expecting how LOUD the “whisper soft” WRRRR CHUG WRRRRR CHUG would be on this renowned Medela Pump In Style contraption.
And by the way, what the heck does “Pump in Style” mean, anyway? Can you really convince me that there is ANYTHING stylish about this whole deal?
By MGM on 2007 06 10
I could have written this very post! I have pumped in all kinds of parking lots! My pump is a hospital grade Medela (the Lactina), and I think it could make milk come out of my hubby’s nipples if we were to try! I cringe thinking about the woosh - woosh noise all over again. However, it was such a relief to use the pump when my nipples were SO sore from nursing…granted, I am super sensitive and both hurt like the dickins until I weaned after 3 months (nothing I was doing wrong, I’m just waaay too sensitive).
I totally feel your pain with the pump drama, and I am proud of you for sticking with it!
By Charla on 2007 06 10
Oh my, honey! God bless you for trying.
By sarahgrace on 2007 06 10
I say you’re doing great!
Also: BRU (near SouthCenter) has a “Mommy’s Room” - if you’re in the area and need to pump, maybe it would work for you?
By Karen on 2007 06 10
Brave woman. I have been there. Al the setup for 3 #@!)* ounces. Sigh. Good for you for sticking with it!
I think a plan that includes oatmeal is way better than the herb or pill or whatever that makes your skin smell like garlic. Ever try that? ME EITHER. I heard the description and ran to the formula aisle.
By el-e-e on 2007 06 11
I think it’s the whole grain in the oatmeal or something. At least that what I think I read somewhere. I’m a pumping mom myself right now and have a bowl of oatmeal every morning (that I’m at work) for breakfast! I, too, have noticed a difference in the amount of milk I make when I eat it vs. when I don’t. Congratulations on sticking with the pumping. It really isn’t fun, is it?
By Kristina on 2007 06 11
One of my most embarrassing moments happened when I was pumping on my livingroom couch, in the the comfort and privacy of my own home, mind you, and looked up, only to realize that the postman was looking in at me through the front window. WTF?? I still think about that. In fact, I thought about it just last night. And it happened almost 8 years ago! There’s no privacy to be had, I tell ya!
By Melissa R Garrett on 2007 06 11