It’s been a good year or so since I’ve used a breast pump, but the memories are etched into my soul. There’s something about strapping yourself to a machine (or, holding one up to yourself) and allowing it to manipulate sensitive parts of your body that just kinda stays with you. As routine as pumping became, it never quite felt "normal" to me. Perhaps other moms have enjoyed different experiences, but many of the things that’ll happen the first time you pump are confusing, startling, and just plain weird. Furthermore, and for better or worse, many of those things continue throughout your breastfeeding journey. Isn't motherhood amazing and just, you know, the best?
There’s something to be said for one’s first introduction to a breast pump. I spent a couple desperate days using a hand pump as I waited for my electric one to arrive (thanks, insurance!), but I still didn’t feel prepared for the many cords and plugs and flanges that the electric pump brought into my life. I mean, anything with a flange is kind of intimidating, but when those flanges attach to a very sensitive part of my body? Yikes. And, ouch. I’m pretty removed from that process but even thinking about it now gives me all the feels.
So, in the name of solidarity to all you pumping mamas out there (and because a hilarious walk down memory lane is always a good time) here’s what’s practically bound to happen to anyone else experiencing a breast pump for the first time. Stay strong, breastfeeding moms. Stay strong.
You (Or Someone Who Loves You Very Much) Will Have A Hell of A Time Putting It Together
We had some pretty intense breastfeeding struggles in the beginning, so my spouse took it upon himself to put the pump together and take one nursing-related thing off my to-do list. Parenting brought us many new and exciting experiences, but putting setting up a machine literally designed to milk the other person was in a category all on its own.
The Contraption Will Intimidate You
It might be because the horns are so prominent, but there’s pretty much no mistaking where they go or what they’re about to do. Gulp.
You’ll Be Mesmerized By The Rhythmic Squeezing
Just think! If it weren’t for breast pumps, we wouldn’t know the extent to which our breasts can be pushed and pulled, and the shapes they can be squeezed into. What a miracle.
You Will Vow To Always Keep Your Phone Close
Oh, so that's why I got an iTunes gift card at my baby shower. Now that I've experienced pumping with and without a phone handy, it all makes sense.
The Noise Will Hypnotize You (But Be Strangely Disconcerting)
That motor sounds like it’s talking, you guys. I know that makes me sound crazy if you’ve never heard one, but I promise you, it totally talks to you. I’m still trying to decode some of the things my pump said to me.
You’ll Wonder If This Is What Scientists Meant When They Started Dreaming Up Cyborgs
Because if it wasn’t, it kinda should have been. I’m severely under-educated in the field of cyborgs, but I think there’s plenty of material here.
You’ll Identify With Cows In Ways You Never Thought Possible
Could we please have a moment of silence for all the cows who’ve sacrificed their nipples for the milk I put in my daily coffee? You all are the real MVPs, in my humble opinion.
You’ll Be Grateful For The Measurements On The Side Of Those Bottles
Not only will you be thankful, but you’ll stare at them like they hold the answer to life’s greatest questions.
You'll Spill Milk
Maybe this is where the old saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk" came from. Or maybe it should have been. Either way, it's bound to happen. My advice is to keep a wash cloth within reach.
You’ll Wonder If You’re Doing It Right...
If there’s milk in the bottles, you’re probably off to a pretty good start. But should there be more? Should this be going faster? Time will tell, my friends.
...And If It’s Supposed To Feel That Way
I understand it can feel different from mom to mom, so I’m hesitant to assume that my experience is similar to everyone else’s. It was rarely painful for me (if it was, there was usually some other breastfeeding-related issue happening), but it wasn’t exactly a massage, either. Turns out that, yes, yes it was supposed to feel that way.
Your Neck Will Hurt From Staring Down At Your Chest
Or, you’ll get a mysterious crick from the angle you tilt your head to watch those bottles filling. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but pregnancy and birth were only the beginnings of physical ailments related to motherhood.